Replacing tissue expander with implant - recovery time?

Just wondering how big an operation this is, and what the recovery time is?
I had an appointment with my surgeon the day before I went on holiday 10 days ago and saw her registrar or whatever they call them now as she was on a course. He said if the surgeon agreed he’d put me on the list and I’d get a letter when I got back from hols. Our post has been held while we were away and won’t be delivered until tomorrow because of the Bank Holiday, and I’m beginning to get a bit apprehensive. He asked for the MRSA screen to be done on the day and it’s only valid for 3 weeks so it could be very soon! I’ve had to wait as I had rads which finished just over 12 months ago, it’s 16 months since the mx itself and I’m getting really bored with the port under my arm, not to mention having to explain to airport security staff why I set the scanners off! But I’m also scared as I don’t want to feel like a patient again. I’ve had enough of that. Anyone any experience of this procedure?

A friend of a friend had double mx with implants and was driving in a fortnight… Which is similar to me after tissue expanded implant op… So I kinda figured they were same…

I know this a bit general, and I have no experience. I am still having chemo and rads to follow so will be at least a year before I follow you down this path…

I’m sure it’ll all be great… And how fantastic to be getting your new boob at last. Elli xx

Hi , I had immediate reconstruction with tissue expander. When I went back into hospital for the expander to be replaced with the implant I think I was more nervous than the actual mx, but all went well and I was only in hospital 2 days and my recovery time was about 3 weeks. I started back to work very soon after. I hope your op goes okay.

Hi I had my expanders out and replaced with implants on 18th july.all went well and was driving within a week and back at work after 3 weeks.still taking things easy regards lifting but very pleased with results and very happy to have got rid of those hideously hard expanders,felt like cricket balls strapped to my chest.Good luck im sure youll be more than pleased with results.

Ooh Dib! How much softer are the implants? I call my expanders my cricketballs too. My BCN gave me some expanders to feel and they felt soft but I wasn’t sure how much difference it would make once they were placed behind the muscles.


sandytoes,the implants are 100% better and softer,I actually think my boobs are looking better now then they were before all this nightmare happened.they are firm but not rock hard anymore and they are not droopy like before diagnosis.I am really happy with them.I have yet to have nipples done but my daughter had recon nipples and they are enormous to the point that it put me off and I am having mine tattood on,apparently I can choose the colour scheme too and if I want nipples reconstructed at a later date I can still do that too.

Thank you. Can’t wait to get mine replaced (3 and a half months to go…). I’ve been tossing up between implants and DIEP and was leaning massively towards implants but my only worry was that they’d end up feeling as solid as my expanders. I try not to hug anyone anymore as they are SO hard. However, if they are much softer, then that’s great news. And will then be thinking about nipple recon too. Hmmmm…deffo don’t want massive nipples!! Would like some neat, little nipples, now that I get to choose. I’ve seen some girls’ recons who just had the tatoos - but to make it look as though they have the actual nipple as well as the areola and they looked great.

Hi all, and thanks for the advice and reassurance. However it looks like the registrar was a bit too gung-ho and I now have an appointment to see the consultant on 3 October to be “measured up” so I’m stuck with my rock hard bump for a bit longer. Nice to know from Di that the real one is going to be softer! Longing to be able to sleep on my side without either the bump or the port getting in the way. Not sure I’m going to bother with a nipple, when I was deciding whether to have the reconstruction my BC asked me why I thought I might want one and I said so I can put my bra on and forget about it, and I think that’s still my feeling. I’ll never look the same naked and I can live with that, but I’m going to look as good as I can with clothes on.

Im sure youll both be very pleased with the end results,its such a long time from the start of this journey,the end is now in sight(hopefully!!) and I know theyll never be the real thing but if my tattoos look as good as I think they will then i will be well chuffed, and sandytoes I know what you mean about hugging people with expanders in,cricket balls describes it so accurately.Should get my appointment soon for tattooing so will keep you of wishes to you,

Hi Dib,

I just saw on another thread that you had LD flap recon - was this after you had the expanders replaced with implants? Or did you mean that you had LD flap plus implants? In which case it will be much softer than just implants as it’s using your own tissue too.

I’m still umming and ahing about my recon - had decided on just a straight swap for implants based on your posts in this thread, but now worried that I’m comparing it against an LD flap which will be much softer…



Hi every one waiting for appointment to go in to have my right breast of and have an inplant in would like to know what I should expect from this worried about surgery can any one help. Sheila

Hi Shelia, I had a right mx in July 2010 with immediate reconstruction with a tissue expander in place. The operation all went well and I recovered in a couple of days to come home with drains in a lovely gold gift bag. The tissue expander was expanded at regular intervals and unlike some others on here , my breast never became rock hard or like a cricket ball as the registrar missed the port one day and my breast ended up leaking, so I was never huge. My surgeon operated very soon after to remove the expander and replace it with the prothesis , so it was all okay in the end.
Try and remain positive throughout all the procedures as this really does help. l hope you get a date very soon and can start to make plans at home as we ladies like to be organised. take care Love Tracy

Hi Sandytoes,sorry only just seen your post,i had double mx with immed recon,ld flap and expanders,which were very hard,had the expanders out and implants in,not really sure how ld flap and implants compares to just implants regards softness,perhaps someone who has had this can help?

Hi Sheila

I had my right mx and tissue expander inserted in April 2011. I was only in overnight and didn’t have any drains, but the community nurses dropped in every day or so for the first week to check the wound and see I was generally OK.
Most of the discomfort I had was not from the mx but from the muscle being stretched to hold the tissue expander and I found it difficult to haul myself up from a lying position so I propped myself up with lots of pillows in bed. Some people have the V shaped ones but I just used a couple of old ones rolled up. But it soon passed, and remember to take painkillers before it hurts, not after! I used ibuprofen as codeine makes me constipated. Being right handed I had to be careful what I did for a few weeks, especially anything involving stretching up (OH had to wash my hair over the bath - what a hero) and I didn’t drive for about 3 weeks mainly because the seat belt went over the wound area. I only had 2 fills because I’m very small, and most of the fluid seems to be in the top half of my breast so I’m a bit lopsided, but with a bra on it looks OK. I wear a padded non-wired bra to even myself up and hide the lack of nipple, but they aren’t that easy to find, I found a nice one in M&S which was promptly discontinued and now I also have a Triumph one, but it was a bit more expensive. Immediately post-op I just wore camisoles and soft vest tops as I don’t really need support for the other side, make sure they are ones you can step in to rather than pull over your head which may be a bit of a struggle to begin with, then I went on to M&S stretchy crop tops. Larger ladies have mentioned sports bras as being useful. All in all it was fine and me and my bump have been together for 18 months now, but I’m hoping to have it replaced before Christmas.
I’m sure all will go well for you too, but it’s all a bit scarey when you don’t know what to expect so do ask about anything that is worrying you, there are lots of people here to help.


Hi Foxy
I had a bilat mx 3 weeks ago and had temporising implants in. They feel really soft and I’m not unhappy with them although they have put them in front of the muscle which is weird because they can be felt through the skin!!! Very odd feeling. I can’t imagine why people have boob jobs for fun!
I can’t really offer any advice regarding expanders and stuff.
I am having a diep recon as I have a large enough belly!!! Lucky me, the only time I’ve been glad to be fat!
Hope you are feeling okay about the imminent op!

Viv xxx