Reconstruction without tissue expander


After a struggle to keep in my tissue expander - infection and seroma- im finally going to have it removed today ive just been told. I’m feeling very low, I have quite large breasts, well one left. I was hoping to have a good recon at a later date because I’ve got to have chemo and rads before I can have the reecon so a tissue expander was put in while all that happened. Chemo has already been delayed because of infection, it wil be a delay of two months before I finally get it if all goes well from now on.

I know that really my first thought should be about combatting the cancer and getting rid of it. But at the moment just feel almost as bad as i did at the first diagnosis .

Has anyone had a good result from recon using very little of your own skin?


I haven’t had my reconstruction done yet and I still have a tissue expander so I can’t give you any specific advice but there is so much they can do these days that I wouldn’t worry about it too much. They can use skin from your back or your stomach and some people have a recon at the same time as mx so they wouldn’t have any extra skin then and they still look fantastic.
I’ve just finished my treatment and the radiotherapy has really made the expander uncomfortable and there are times when I wish I didn’t have it.
Good luck anyway. I hope someone else with experiance comes along to put your mind at rest.

Hi buzzy,

Thanks for that. I’ve been told I can have it without an expander but it will be 18 months away. Seems like a long time! But at least I can have it and I’ll just have To cope with the flatness til then.

My expander was always uncomfortable too, and I’m glad that Port has gone which was particularly uncomfortable…but it’s weird to be completely flat.

Best wishes to you


I’ve just had my MX without a reconstruction. I said that I want a reconstruction after I’ve had all the chemo and rads (they said 12-18 months). The surgeon said that they did not want to put a tissue exander in now and that I will have enough skin. For the time being I’m getting used to my lopsided boob. I hope you’re recovering well

Hi Alison,

I went on a seminar on reconstruction and was blown away by what they can do with regards recon. I was terrified before - thinking I would be left with some weird Frankenstein boob with loads of stitches - however, there were ladies there who showed us their recons using various methods including strattice and DIEP - so using pig skin or other people’s skin and also tummy skin. Looked amazing though.

When you next see your surgeon or breast care nurse maybe ask them to show you some pictures so you know what to expect (even though it’s a while away) as it will hopefully put your mind at ease.

I was going to be flat chested but after much begging on my half have been allowed expanders (am having a bilateral mx).


Thanks very much for posting,

It’s a very good idea to ask for some pictures,

Why were they so reluctant to give you expanders sandy toes? I can’t say I miss mine except aesthetically, but most women have no problem with them, I think I was just unucky.

Im. Sure I’ll get used to the flatness , the concave chest is more difficult to deal with for me, but I’m sure I’ll get used to that as well. I think for me it helps if I think in terms of one step at a time rather than think I’ve got to be like this for 18 months, I’ll just think I may be able to have an expander in after the rads, in 6 months.


I think it’s because they get the best result with no immediate reconstruction as so many are ruined by the radiotherapy, but I didn’t want to go from being quite busty to being flatchested and have accepted that I am taking a risk - so may well be in your position shortly…

I had mx end March with no tissue expander. I have done chemo and just started Rads and am beginning to think about Recon which will only come in 12 months time.

I believe that I will have a tissue expander inserted a for a few months before recon, and I’m looking at getting the ball rolling after Rads - don’t want to wait 12m for skin to recover to find there is a 12m waiting list.

I’m having chest wall Rads and was told that if I had tissue expander or implant in from the off, Rads could interfere with implant / expander, meaning further surgery - I decided that I wanted a clear area for Rads treatment and deal with Recon later - I’m also considering mx to other side next year due to family history.

I’m not big in the boob dept, so it wasn’t going to be too noticeable for me on then outside, it still takes some getting used to on the inside. I’m just using a ‘softie’ and will get around to getting prosthesis after Rads are over.

Hi all,

Just waiting to be picked up to go home with newly flat breast.

Beverlie - it sounds as if we have similar scenarios. My expander was in while I had chemo then rads then full recon . I’ve decided to see if I can have another one put in after rads in preparation for recon. But I’ll just to get used to the new shape I am and hope that hubby can cope too.

Thanks for all the posts, it’s so good to know that there are others in the same position - well good for me if not for those in them!

Love to all