Reconstruction with expander

Was just wondering how often people got ‘pumped up’ and by how much with an expanded implant in. I’m currently getting 50ml weekly but thinking it’s too much. I’m not in pain but parts of my scar haven’t healed and my boob is really shiny! Should I be moisturizing now ? I’m 5 weeks post op. My nurse never advises me and I always forget to ask loads of things x

Hi Melia,

I think it is very individual, as you say.  Likely depends on the size - the expanders come in different sizes so obviously can take different amounts.  I’m small and my maximum will be less than 300ml but some will fill to 800ml or more.  If you’re not feeling pain I would imagine the filling rate is OK.  However I am surprised you’ve not been advised about massage and moisturising.  I have massaged and moisturised twice a day since 2 weeks post-op and I am now nearly 4 months post-op.  My plastic surgeon said I should continue throughout the time that the expander is in my body.  The expander is a foreign object and the body will constantly try to create scar tissue around it, hence regular massage is essential to disrupt that process.  I guess if you’re not having radiotherapy and/or the expander is going to be permanent, that might not apply to you.

Hi argy Margy that’s Interesting to read. They’ve not once advised me to moisturize and I think it needs it as some of the scabby areas just look dry more than scabbed I rand my nurse today and was told wait to see the surgeon next week. I’ve only got a small expander in up to 250 now with one final one next week but they said they might not do it now due to how shiny the breast is looking. Im.probably worrying over nothing as I like to do but I’m convinced my scars are going to burst open! I wasn’t expected to have radio but their thinking I will need it now aftee chemo xx

Well the surgeon should have an opinion - after all it’s in their interest to keep the breast healthy.  I’ve been having very small fills every 6 weeks but that’s because my skin is thin with very little fat protection.  I’ve found it helps to write down all my questions beforehand, and take a friend/relative to write down the answers and make sure all the questions get asked!  Also we make sure the answers are clear and repeated where necessary.  Never forget you only get one chance to do this, so take all the time you need.  You are entitled to receive good care.  There may be perfectly good reasons why they have not mentioned massage or moisturising.  And if the shiny skin concerns you they should be able to explain/reassure.  I do know that any redness, swelling or signs of temperature are warning signs.  Good luck with your appointment. xxx

Sounds like all surgeons are different really then and I guess all boobs are different too!