76.2K members
1.2M posts
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Ruptured tissue expander: what to do now?!?


Re: Ruptured tissue expander: what to do now?!?

Hello Runningfree. 

Thanks for posting. This sounds like a difficult time and it's understandable you want some more information about your options following the rupture of your silicone implant. 

You say you explained to the surgeon you were worried about old fluid leaking out and ask can it absorb plastic after a long time inside. We're not sure what you mean by this. If you are wondering about the silicone leaking and being absorbed by the body, it might help to know silicone gel is not absorbed into the body. Also, sometimes an implant will rupture but not cause any symptoms, so the silicone continues to leak over a period of time.  

Some women will have a silicone expander left in place.  

If an implant ruptures, it can be removed and replaced on the NHS (unless the implant was put in privately in which case the NHS may only offer a removal and not a replacement).  

You mention your surgeon said you may need to consider an expander implant, but a surgeon in another area said you would need another expander. You also say you haven't spoken to your own hospital yet but have spoken to your surgeon.    

It sounds like a confusing time. I'd suggest you call our Helpline to talk all this though in more detail. We often find we can help people more by speaking to them on the phone. Your call will be confidential, and the number is free from UK landlines and all mobile networks. The number is 0808 800 6000, (Relay UK -prefix 18001). 

If you would like a nurse to call you do complete this form. Ticking the box agreeing to a call back.   

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am - 1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.  

Best wishes  


Breast Care Nurse   

Please read the Ask Our Nurses disclaimer  Full details on how we collect and use your data can be found in our Privacy Policy  

This thread will now be closed from further replies. If you have any additional questions or would like to provide feedback, please start a new thread.  


Ruptured tissue expander: what to do now?!?

Dear Nurses

I saw a surgeon approximately 3.5 years after my initial mastectomy in 2015 ( due to remote location I was referred to another Health Authority). Having previously been told reconstruction was not possible I was told I could have a silicone implant with lipofill.

I had a tissue expander put in in October 2019; by the time covid came it had been expanded with 330 mls ( I am a 36A/B).

I have remained like this ( with lots of phone follow ups and a further 50mls last September) until it ruptured 2 weeks ago. 

I was seen straight away by my own hospital ( bloods, u/s) but not seen by my surgeon for various reasons until 2 days ago.

She seemed cross I had asked to be seen: I explained how worried I was about ‘old’ fluid leaking out ( can it absorb plastic after a long time inside?) failure of process ( skin / capsule issues), general distress re regression to flat breast again…

I said I had checked the NHS site and whereas it is not classed as an emergency it advised it should be replaced either with another expander or an implant. I also said I was worried that it had been in so long.

I was told that it was an uncommon event but that it was perfectly acceptable to leave it like this until they would be able to exchange it in September/ October. I was also told it is quite usual for an expander to be left in for 3 years. When I expressed my disappointment and concern about successful reconstruction I was told there was no issue re skin or capsule shrinking.

She then told me that I might need to consider an expander implant instead. This seemed to contradict what she had just told me.

She said the silicone implant would be softer but would leave me with a smaller breast; the expander implant would give me a similar size breast but a poorer shape and would be less comfortable. Both of these options terrify me: I have never been told to definitely expect poor results before ( there was also no mention of lipofill). I have found the tightness of the expander uncomfortable these past 3 years but always assumed the implant would be less so. She is ringing me next week for my decision before giving me a date for September or October.

I had my husband with me: we both felt very upset by the whole situation.

I haven’t been able to discuss it yet with my own hospital but have had a phone conversation with a breast surgeon in another area who feels I may need to consider having a new expander in again first. This makes sense to me.

I feel I have lost confidence in my surgeon and also in my own judgment.

I posted on the surgery site in case anyone had been in a similar situation but have had no replies yet. I just hoped to have some advice before she rings on Thursday.

many thanks