Hi All, ,
I had a mx and clearance with an immediate expander and strattice mesh on 23rd March. The area is still sore but I don't know how much of this is due to the node clearance. I asked for a specific surgeon and got two! Both surgeons are happy with the result as am I.
SCACO, you have a lot to think about. Has your surgeon explained why you are not having SNB/ or clearance? I had the expander done as I will be having rads and wanted to hold a tram flap procedure as a reserve if necessary. Cosmetically I am pleased with the result and both my OH and son have seen it. OH is quite impressed with how pert it is compared with healthy breast.The plan is to expand further after rads and then swap for a more permanent implant if the recons comes through rads unscathed.
I hope this helps.
Hi, I had a mx and reconstruction Feb 2010 with a silicone/saline expander. This was never discussed with me, my surgeon just put it in instead of a straightforward implant, so I wasn't overly happy about that. I was led to believe that it was permanent, gave a better finish and the port used to inflate would eventually be removed. However, although to be fair, the expander implant for me wasn't that bad - it stayed soft and wasn't painful - it began to deflate! (quite an interesting look for a few weeks!!) So I had a silicone implant put in a month ago. Speaking to one of the nurses she said that very rarely do expanders stay in permanently. They are used to lift the skin so that a permanent silicone implant will fit in easily. This is especially so if you are small, as I am. They couldn't use muscle from anywhere because there was none to use.
The biggest issue for you I think is trust in the surgeon. You really do need to talk to him and take a list of questions. If you can - look at your surgeons previous work. I used a different surgeon second time around and I have to say that I am thrilled with his sewing skills - scarring is nearly invisible - and I am being photographed next week for his portfolio(!)
Good luck with whatever you decide!!
Purple Horse - re scars - I use stuff called Kelo-cote, a silicone gel. It is rather pricey but a small tube lasts me three months. I apply it religiously twice a day and just before bed slather on the bio oil. It has definitely made a difference.
Wondering if anyone can clarify what i'm going to have done!
On initial dx i opted for chemo 1st then mx with immediate recon as i didn't know how i'd cope psycologically. Since then it's been confirmed that i'm to have rads.
I saw my consultant last week who said that i could still have an immediate recon even with rads by using an expander filled with saline. From how she was talking this was a permanent fixture with the option of having the back muscle (LD flap?) operation if the rads changed the look of it or i wan't happy.
Now reading this thread it seems that you all had the expander only ever as a temporary option and then silicone implants rather than the muscle thing, and it sounds like the expander only ever felt and looked like a temporary measure.
Help! I wish i could just 'go with it' but find i can't completely trust the first suggestion and the more i question and research the more confused i'm getting.
I saw the consultant to mainly talk about the removal of nodes - as new research coming out is suggesting it's not necessary. Mine only came out as 'suspicious' and the only way they'll know what that means seems to be to take the lot out, they haven't done an SNB and won't.
VVV confused. Any help, advice, experiences v gratefully received.
I had double MX in November, and having implants exchanged on Thursday next week, so glad to hear it seems to go well for most people! I took the filling slowly too, 50ml didn't really give me any pain. I think I have been lucky, but was small and don't want to be big, so not many fills. The last fill I had 75ml on one side and then I realised why people complain about expanders! It still hurts a bit when I try and get up from lying on my side, or turn over in bed.The thing I've found hardest is not being able to lie on my front. Can you do that with silicone implants? What are other people using on their scars? I have rosehip oil from Neal's Yard, but doesn't seem to be making much difference...
I just had a double mx with immediate reconstruction (expanders). I am now nearly 2 wks on thankfully. I found it much harder than I thought I would. Think that was mostly due to the nurses who expected me to be up and about the next day! is that normal?
I had prepared myself for waking up with a flat chest but I had not thought about the swelling and how that affects the shape.
It is gradually looking better and I do trust my consultant. What has shocked me was the lack of compassion i experienced in hospital. Thankfully my family and friends got me through and made me comfortable.
I am looking forward to feeling more like me and more comfortable.
Take care all xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
I think from now on I'll be going for 50mls a time - I'm hoping that because I've got 4 weeks till the next fill that'll give me a bit more time to recover. Think because it was still sore from the second fill that the third one was so painful. I guess everyone has different experiences, but because I went for this option thinking it was 'easier' and 'less traumatic' I feel a bit miffed. Still off work but want to try going back in tomorrow.
Really glad to hear you're doing well with the implant. Are you glad you had it done? I must admit that for me psychologically it helps having a bump where before there was nothing, even though it's a pain in the arse (or rather chest/armpit/back/arm!) And so good to hear it's more comfortable.
That sounds awfully sore! i can honestly say i never had pain as bad as that on inflations. I was only having 50mls at a time, although it was tediously slow (expander in for a year )i really couldn't imagine having had 100mls at a time. The total amount for me at changeover time was 550mls (not large.)
Permanent implant doing ok ladies thanks - got first check up coming up in a couple of weeks - that's from 28th January. So much more comfortable than expander, no comparison. cosmetic effect, ok, not fab just alright, a bit lumpy bumpy.
Good luck to all
How's everyone getting on?
I'm currently at 250mls, had 100mls first time then could only manage 90mls last time and yesterday had 60mls. I can honestly say I've never had pain like it. Nerve pain, muscle spasms, tightness so that it hurts even to breathe. The second 90mls resulted in the pain being so bad I was sick, and yesterday even though I had less the same again - sick, sick, sick. Am feeling very down but trying to think it'll be worth it in the end and holding onto the thought that once the tissue expander is out and the implants in it will be much better.
Took dihydrocodeine yesterday and that didn't help one jot. Wondering if I should go to my GP and get some different painkillers? Had to phone in to work sick today and am sure they're getting fed up of me :-S. Oh cancer, so much to answer for.
Ooh thanks ladies. That's made me feel less apprehensive knowing what to expect. Glad to hear you can take it at your own pace too.
I'm due back at work next week - they're short of staff and sort of feel like I'm being a bit pressured to go back as it's not as major an op as the Mx (!) so will have to see how I go after my first pumping.
xwelcomex - thanks for the tip about aqueous cream. I have been using bio oil but think I'll invest in some of that too.
Love to all
Hi K - my pump ups were on average 100mls each time I would not say I suffered pain it just felt really uncomfortable and tight this eased after about 48 hours. At final pump up I had 650mls in one breast and 600mls in the other this stayed uncomfortable for a lot longer, just had some saline removed I now have 560mls in each breast it feels so much better. If you feel too uncomfortable after pump up you can have some saline removed, Lynns 50mls at a time sounds a good idea! Hope all goes well for you! X
No doubt everyone will have a different experience of expansions - for me, it wasn't too bad - don't get me wrong, the whole expander experience wasn't great for me, i had it in for a year and it was brick hard throughout, not to mention sitting higher than a high thing BUT you asked specifically about "pump ups" on each of the expansion times it was sore / uncomfortable for 2/3 days - paracetamol took the edge off it. Also its worth remembering that different hospitals have got different ideas about how much is acceptable to go in at any one time - for me it was only ever 50mls at a time - a lot less than some ladies have. Good luck.
Been reading this thread with interest as I've just had a tissue expander inserted and wasn't really sure what to expect over the coming months! Had Mx Aug '09 so this is a delayed recon for me. Going for my first lot of saline in 2 weeks time and am a bit apprehensive about it :-s.
Ladies - how did it feel after your first 'pumping up'? Not sure if I would be able to go to work the day after it or not(am a radiographer/ultrasonographer so an active job.)
Really good to read that the implant feels so much better. Already looking forward to treating myself to some nice new underwear!
Hope everyone doing well,
love K xxx
Sorry my last post was a bit flippant I know there's no guarantees regarding my cancer free comment, it's just that I feel there are less areas I need to keep an eye on which is wonderful! Just got back from seeing my surgeon feel so relieved got all my questions answered and even got some of the saline aspirated from tissue expanders. I now have exactly the same amount of mls I will have when my silicone implants go in. I feel so much better been suffering from chest infections this winter so it's nice I don't feel as much as if I have an iron bar across my chest. Had to have some photo's taken today and pick my implants, my next appt will be with the breast care surgeon and a plastic surgeon. I feel so lucky to be given options and this forum is great I feel on a high today! Thinking of all you girls out there hope things are being sorted out for you too! Xxxxx
Thanks girls I feel soooo much more positive knowing that on the whole the change from tissue expander to implants is for the better just thought I'd be this uncomfortable for ever and it was the price I had to pay to be breast cancer free! Going to see my surgeon tomorrow to discuss implants - can't wait for the change over now! Been telling my daughter how good these Breast Cancer Care forums are - you can sort of say she's in the trade as she is a mammogapher only started the job four months before I was diagnosed, so things have been tough for her! She is doing her post grad and will be undertaking a case study following patient from diagnosis, treatment options and possibly surgery and reconstruction.
Hi Ladies - checking back in, 9 days after the change over, just wanted to say i wasn't involved in any discussions re the different types, just woke up with one! and have to say its not too bad at all, it may be slightly smaller than the right side but you certainly wouldn't know it in a bra. Re comfort levels, i'm not in any pain now, just a slight discomfort, and it feels tons better than the expander did - which was really horrible for a whole year! Good luck to everyone waiting to have it done,
Thanks xwelcomex this really helps - have an appointment with my consultant tomorrow to discuss implants - i have a long list of questions. With regards to shape i've been guided more towards round implants as I'm quite active and had quite a lot of movement of expanders! xx
Hi Girls, I recently had my Expander changed to a silicon implant on November 9th 2010, unfortunately for me the reconstruction side is so much bigger than the other breast, im not sure what the surgeon is planning to do, i go back in april after letting the skin settle. I'm still having deep chest pain and still quite sensitive hopefully that will settle with time. I'm so grateful i'm not alone with this, I hope that you all have better results with the change over. It is so much softer and comfortable having the implant in than the expander, i was beginning to think there was a ninja turtle in there waiting come out. I guess its just going to take time for me to accept psychologically what my body now looks like. I'm sure when i go back in April we will discuss what i'd like with regards to the nipple. I wish you all the very best for the future.
Really, really good to hear this, and thank you, I am due my op in April/May, but was starting to think I might just 'get rid' of the expanders and have nothing as I really don't like how they look or feel, so really good to read your post.
Best wishes, Samm x
Hi Crystal and all you other kind ladies! This is my first time on here and it's so helpful to find out about similar experiences. I was diagnosed in February 2010 and had a lumpectomy in March. I've since had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy in June 2010 as I am the fifth premenopausal lady to have breast cancer in my family. However I tested negative for the BRCA1 and 2 genes. I am having my tissue expanders replaced at the end of March. At the moment I have Natrelle tissue expanders in and been looking at the implants in their catalogue. Has anybody out there had any experience of the different gels used? There is a choice of two Soft Touch and Responsive! The hardness of my tissue expanders is something I have had difficulty in getting used to, particularly as I can feel them from the insides of the tops of my arms. I want to make an informed choice for the next stage of my reconstruction. I also have a fold and fat necrosis on my right side which is worrying me a bit, it reminds me of a sock puppet I made as a child, lol! My surgeon has arranged for lypo. Wishing you all well xxx
Thanks for your updates Crystal and Lynn - I'm now quite excited about having my op in 3 weeks time - you've certainly put my mind to rest - so thanks.
Wishing you a speedy recovery. Hope there's no infection there Crystal xx
Sounds like you are doing well - excellent news.
I am havin my dressings changed on Monday a week after the surgery. One is a little pink, so I am hoping desperately that there is no infection.
Good luck with your recovery
Hi Ladies - home this afternoon with one night stay - shorter than i was told to expect. Tender where the port was previously, a bit sore and very tired but all in all ok - already so much more comfortable than the expander was. Surgeon said the expander had stretched the skin well and op went well. Hard to tell cosmetically at this stage but certainly feels better. Was told to stay off woprk for a couple of weeks and similar for driving - hope this helps.
My expanders were in for 6 months, and were only replaced as one was leaking.
This was risk reduction surgery for me too (BRCA1), it was a very very hard decision, but the right one for me.
Hi Crystal, and hi to everyone else also,, Just wanted to say i am have a double mx followed by expander then implants sometime later, i am having this as risk reducing surgery sometime this year. I had a wle followed by chemo and rads at the end of 2010, then found out i was brca2 carrier, so i have seen my bc surgeon who says i should have my exsisting ovary removed in the next couple of months, then see him at the end of April to further discuss my mx and recon surgry. It helps loads to here from people who have been there all ready, so thank you for the info. Can i ask how long roughly it is before others have had there inplants put in after original expanders put in, i forgot to ask surgeon. Thank you to everyone. Sandrae x x x
Thanks so much for posting. I'm going in for my expanders to be removed and replaced by silicone implants next month so it's great to hear that it has gone so well for you.
Have you been told how long the recuperation is? - forgot to ask when I went to be measured up for implants last week.
Rosie - interested to hear that you too have a fat bit by your boob - I've got same - appeared after my mastectomy though surgeon says it's not related. He's going to lypo it - hope he slips and manages to reduce some of my enormous post-steroid/tamoxifen (well that's my excuse!) tummy at same time!
Good luck to everyone xx
Just what I wanted to hear - many thanks for posting this.
I had a double masectomy with expander implants 3 weeks ago. I know I'm probably getting ahead of myself, but I woke up this morning feeling really down and wondering when I can start to feel "normal" again. This time last year I was training for the London Marathon and did my first triathlon last summer and now I feel completely useless. I'm trying to do a walk each day and can drive short distances but all the time am aware of these 2 brick-like appendages on my front. They are really heavy and rock hard - and I remind myself that they are temporary, but do worry that I won't be my old self again. The worst is going from lying to sitting and after my saline injection last week I needed help to get out of bed in the morning for a few days and they often ache a lot, although painkillers do sort that out.
Keep us posted with how you get on. I'm hoping that the temporary expanders will soften up, but if they don't, hopefully I can have the comfort of knowing that permanent implants will be a vast improvement and by the summer I can move forward.
Glad the information is useful.
I am only on paracetamol for pain now (3 days after) and it is fine.
I do not not when I can drive yet, as have not asked. I would imagine that I could goback to work in 2/3 weeks.
Lisa - I did have radiotherapy 2 years ago, and this has not affected my treatment.
Good luck to all
Thanks so much for the post Crystal, i'm in tomorrow - so reassuring to read it went well for you.
Thank you Crystal. I am due for this op in a few weeks time so it is always reassuring to know that it isn't too awful and that you are happy with the result. My one expander is a funny shape so will be replaced but I also have to have an implant in the other side to match me up.
Can I ask how long you are going to be off work or how long before you can safely drive again?
Can I ask you if you had radiotherapy Ihave been told that I can't have what you have had because of the radio....?
thats very reassuring. I was supposed to go in for an expander implant change on 13th Jan, but had the op cancelled, so now i,m just waiting. Consultant is also going to lyposuction at the side, and use this fat to fill in a slight ripple on recon.
Did you have much pain after the op, and is there a recovery time?
Thanks for this Crystal,
I have an expander implant which I am pretty sure will need to be changed so that is useful to know.
Just had to post this in case others are about to go through this.
On Monday, I had two expanders replaced with silicone implants as well as a nipple reconstruction!.
The expanders were hard and uncomfortable.
I can already say that the silicone ones are much much more comfortable, and so much softer.
I only stayed in hospital one night, and had drains in whilst in hospital. It is so much easier than the double mx operation.
Just thought this could be useful for anyone about to go through this.