Tissue Expanders

Hi to all out there. I am due to go into hospital on Monday to have a tissue expander inserted following my mastectomy in 2007. What can I expect after the op and during the tissue stretching process and how long is it before the 2nd op for the silicon implants? I think my consultant said 4 months but I can’t remember!!!
Cheers and keep the positive faith!!

Hi RedVixen,

4 months sounds about right if your hospital is fairly efficient. My sister was told the same for purely preventative surgery and she’s on target for implants going in about 4 months after first op.

I’ve had expander implants for much longer but that’s because of delays caused by other treatments and other things.

Do you have a Breast Care Nurse you can ring to ask about time scale?

The tissue expansion is nothing to worry about - it’s quite a quick procedure and you get instant results!

the op itself is not a minor op but it’s not too long before you’re up and about. Also, they will give you as many pain-killers as you need whilst you are recovering.

Good luck with everything. I hope you can find your way back to this message as I’m struggling with navigating my way around the new site!

Hi RedVixen,

I think the timescales must vary greatly between hospitals/surgeons as so much else does in the world of bc.

I has expanders fitted last May as immediate recon. Originally I was told it would 3-6 months until permanent implants could be fitted. Today, at my 6 month check up (8 months really) I was told a year!!
This was depressing news as I’m finding the expanders very uncomfortable. Not being able to sleep lying properly is taking its toll.

In my case the expanders were fully inflated (400mls) when fitted so I didn’t have the regular fill ups, but mostly comments on this process are that it’s not as bad as its sounds.

I found the exercises helped. I haven’t worn a bra since the op - my originals don’t fit and it seems a waste to buy more if this is a temporary state. I have found secret support vest tops from M&S quite comfortable for day and night.

I wish you all the best with your recon.


Hi RedVixen,

I currently have an expander in (right side only) and it is okay. Some discomfort but we are used to that. True, sleeping is a little difficult. As for getting the saline solution put in. In my case, there is little to know pain. It only takes a few minutes. Originally I had it done weekly for maybe three weeks. Then I went back three weeks later for a fill and now I go back in two weeks. I orignally thought that the expander would be in for 3 to 4 months. I was told this week that it would be in for four to six months.