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All TopicsForum: Breast Reconstruction → Topic: Tissue Expander / Implant Exchange Recovery

Topic: Tissue Expander / Implant Exchange Recovery

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Jul 24, 2011 07:53PM

Eleanor922 wrote:

Hello!  

How is everyone?  Well as many here, I have been reading for a long time and this is my first time posting!  Have wanted to many times. This site has helped in so many ways.  Thank you.  My chemo ended May 24th.  Did 6 rounds of TCH.  I am doing Herceptin every 3 weeks until Feb 2012.  WOW.  Will start Tamoxifen next week.  No radiation.  Had Mstcmy left side and reconstruction on right.  Have had the TE in and am now having the swap this Wed the 27th.

 My question is what to expect after the surgery for anyone that has had that procedure so far.  I know it won't be as bad as the MX. (is that the right letters? 8^)  ).  I am going home that night. Surgery at 730am.  I will not have a drain.  YIPPY!  Had 3, last one for 7 weeks.  Will I be bed ridden for 2 days, can I do laundry, (I won't need to, all is done and kids can do their own) but I am just wondering what level of movement and activity to expect.  Will I be able to feed my cat and outdoor birds?  How long will I be home from work?  Will I be able to raise my arm?  Etc.  I did ask my PS, whom I love and got answers from him, but would also like to hear it from women who have gone through this next step.  Will answer anything anyone wants to know!  Thank you in advance for your time and advice!  Eleanor  Laughing

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Posts 1 - 19 (19 total)

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Jul 24, 2011 08:01PM jan508 wrote:

Eleanor:

Congrats on your upcoming exchange.  I had mine done in March and had no issues.  I work from home so I had my exchange on Friday and was back to work on Monday.  I was a bit sore but all in all it was a breeze..no drains!  That's saying something in itself. I did take it easy for a couple of weeks though.  Just to be safe.

Good luck on your exchange. I'm sure you will do just fine!

Jan

Dx 8/6/2010, ILC, 2cm, Stage II, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 24, 2011 08:24PM Eleanor922 wrote:

Hi Jan,

Thanx for posting. Wonderful information!  Good to hear.  Wow...a quick turnaround for you.  Yes, not having those drains are going to make a big difference. what a nightmare! I was able to work from home through my entire chemo period and will do so now for the next week or 2, or what ever is needed.

Thankyou!

Eleanor 

Left MX; TCH x6; No Rad; Began Tamox 8/1/2011

Dx 10/8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 3/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 24, 2011 09:49PM shortlady wrote:

The exchange is a lot easier than the MX.  I had a Bi-mX with TE's and implants.  I gave my self two weeks of doing nothing.  My DH was off work and did everything.  I just rested, watched TV and did some computer stuff.  I had radiation so I am being very careful.  At the four week point I am able to do some light house work.  I am still being careful not to lift anything heavy.  I am doing some easy stretching.  Everyone's body responses differently so  listen to what your body is telling you.  You need to give your body time to heal.  

shortlady

Dx 7/2009, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 24, 2011 09:53PM Eleanor922 wrote:

Thank you Shortlady!  Good information!  Interesting.  Good excuse to watch tv!

Left MX; TCH x6; No Rad; Began Tamox 8/1/2011

Dx 10/8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 3/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 24, 2011 09:58PM christine47 wrote:

I had my bilateral exchange 10 days ago.  What a breeze!  I stayed one night in hospital because of previous unusual anesthesia complication, but easily could have been home that day.  I was back in shower in 2 days, no drains!  I took last week off, but felt guilty doing nothing all week.  I have been raising my arms since day one and today went to the pool and swam some.  I am still being lazy at home (might as well take advantage of DH), but really feel up to just about anything.  Best of luck to you.

Dx 11/11/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 24, 2011 10:14PM Eleanor922 wrote:

Hi Christine!  Thanx for replying.  This is wonderful to hear.  So should be as easy as everyone says!  Nodrains will be nice!  Def take advantage of DH.  After my MX I had a lot of coffee and bagels in bed while catching up on soaps.  Thank you!  Will let you know how it goes.

Left MX; TCH x6; No Rad; Began Tamox 8/1/2011

Dx 10/8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 3/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 24, 2011 10:37PM SharonO wrote:

Hello Ladies. Like Eleanor - this is my first post as well. I had my bilateral exchange on July 11th and I still have tubes in and major swelling. The PS says the tubes are coming out tomorrow regardless of the amount of drainage. (still draining more than 35 on each side)
Can anyone give me some feedback on how long to expect swelling? I'm supposed to be a B cup and I feel like a D!
BTW - I'm so happy to have the expanders out! :-) Whew.
All in all - the exchange was a breeze compared to the mastectomy!

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Jul 24, 2011 10:44PM christine47 wrote:

Welcome SharonO, I really have not had swelling.  My PS sent me home in an elastic binder, quite a bit of compression.  I suspect you had alot of pocket work done, hence more swelling and drainage.  Sounds like the drains are doing their job for you. .

Dx 11/11/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 24, 2011 11:03PM Kate33 wrote:

Eleanor- Like everyone's chimed in exchange is so much easier than MX.  Surgery is shorter so less after effects from the anesthesia, too.  You'll probably be feeling pretty good so just remember not to overdo with the stretching.  (Since I had very little pain I learned this the hard way- oops!)  So it's always a good idea to use the same precautions you did after MX.  No heavy lifting and such.  Glad you'll soon be "done" and hope you enjoy your "yippee squishees" as some of us call them around here!

Kate33 "Yes, they're fake (@)(@) the real ones tried to kill me."

Dx 12/27/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodesSurgery 03/08/2010 Mastectomy (Both)
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Jul 24, 2011 11:21PM Eleanor922 wrote:

hi Kate...thank you.  This is great to hear.  Esp about the effects from the anesthesia.  That was one of the worst things after the MX surgery.  Waking up from my port placement was MUCH better.  I would be one to over do it so thank you...I will take it easy.  Yes, this does mark another step closer to being done.  Are we ever done?!  8^)  LOL!  Yippee Squishees?!  The implants? Sounds like fun. I have seen your posts tonite at other places.  Very helpful.  My right was a reduc/recon...went from a DD to a C...never had perky ones. Love my right one...looking forward to the new left one!  Getting silcone...what does everyone else have?

Left MX; TCH x6; No Rad; Began Tamox 8/1/2011

Dx 10/8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 3/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 24, 2011 11:27PM, edited Jul 24, 2011 11:29PM by Linda54

Exchange was easy.  I did have drains though.Frown................  Bi-lateral exchange was on Monday(day surgery), drains were pulled on Friday and I walked 3.1 miles in the Race for the Cure on Saturday.  Back to work on Monday.  Welcome....glad you finally posted!! the best to you on your upcoming exchange

I hate Cancer...

Dx 3/7/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 24, 2011 11:30PM Kate33 wrote:

Eleanor- Yippe Squishees because they are SO much softer than those turtle shell-like TE's.  I also have silicone.  I was told they feel more natural than saline but haven't really compared them side to side!  LOL!   Implants seem to be much heavier than natural breast tissue so probably smart of you to go smaller.  Hope all goes well!  There is a great thread for those going through exchange called, appropriately enough, "Exchange City".  Don't worry about reading the whole thing.  I think it's longer than "War and Peace" at this point but there is a great group of regular posters on there who are happy to help with any questions regarding exchange.  They were amazingly helpful as I was going through mine.  Good luck!

Kate33 "Yes, they're fake (@)(@) the real ones tried to kill me."

Dx 12/27/2009, DCIS, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/4 nodesSurgery 03/08/2010 Mastectomy (Both)
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Jul 25, 2011 12:04AM Eleanor922 wrote:

thanx Linda!  Wow...that is great! Very promising! Thank you x's 2!

Left MX; TCH x6; No Rad; Began Tamox 8/1/2011

Dx 10/8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 3/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 25, 2011 12:12AM Eleanor922 wrote:

Kate...I already did make the exchange city a fav of mine. Thanx!  I will spend more time there.  War & Peace...funny!  It is a big thread!  Yep...this expander is sohard.Skin and incision so tight.  Looking forward to the new.  Yes, we are going with silicone for the more natural look.  Thank you!

Left MX; TCH x6; No Rad; Began Tamox 8/1/2011

Dx 10/8/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 3/21 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Jul 25, 2011 06:42PM ibcmets wrote:

Eleanor,

Good luck with your exchange.  It will be much easier than the MX.  2 days is all I needed, but I was careful not to reach up high and carry anything over 5 lbs for  2 months.  I'll be exchanging from saline to gel in Aug.  Will post how things went.

Terri

6/2009: ibc,stage IV bone mets, ER/PR+, Her2-, 1/2011: BMX/Recon, Femara & Zometa;10/13 Aromasin/Afinitor

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Jul 25, 2011 06:57PM Fearless_One wrote:

I have read you shouldn't need more than a week off work (but I have not had my exchange yet).  

lump/chemo/rads/hyster-ooph/mastectomy/implants

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Mar 4, 2013 11:13AM lala1 wrote:

I am meeting with my PS in 2 days to get a surgery date to exchange my expander for an implant. At the same time, he will be doing a lift on the other breast and said he may put in a small implant because of the slope of my natural breast. I have been reading alot of posts that say the exchange surgery is much easier than MX as far as recovery period but can't find much as to recovery from the lift on the other breast. Will I lose ROM on that arm too? I have recovered about 85% ROM on MX side and thank god every day that I have the other "good" arm to do everything with. I didn't have to have chemo or radiation but am having quite a bit of pain from expander which seems to be hindering my ROM recovery. Please let me know what to expect from 1 exchange and 1 lift/possible small implant. Thank you!!

Mentor smooth round high profile memory gel implants 600cc (Left); Allergan 10 Moderate Profile 120cc (Right)

Dx 11/27/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/13/2012 Mastectomy (Left)Hormonal Therapy 02/01/2013 TamoxifenSurgery 03/26/2013 Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent) (Left)Surgery 11/22/2013 Reconstruction: Nipple reconstruction (Left)
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Jul 29, 2013 11:54PM jnprsn wrote:

How long after chemo ended did you have your exchage surgery?"

jnprsn

Dx 5/14/2013, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 2/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Hormonal Therapy TamoxifenRadiation Therapy ExternalSurgery 06/17/2013 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 07/29/2013 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, Taxol
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Dec 17, 2013 08:42AM timeheart wrote:

I thank everyone for being so candid. Now I don't worry so much about the exchange. But I still have 3 more chemo treatments to go. I am going to make sure they do not give me gas anesthesia-just IV sedation-they have done that the last two times and I never got sick after anesthesia. That helped me as much as anything.