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Successful Reconstruction After Losing TE's to Infection?

momgoose Member Posts: 71
edited February 2023 in Breast Reconstruction

So I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction with TE's at the very beginning of January. My incisions were not healing due to some necrotic tissue on both sides and possible infection, so the TE's were removed on Feb. 1st and the incisions revised. I have since learned that reconstruction with TE's has a crazy-high infection rate (around 31%). I really wish I had known that beforehand, to temper my expectations that everything would go smoothly. I now, obviously, know otherwise.

My question is, can those who have lost TE's to infection during the reconstruction process and then gone on to have successful reconstructions share their stories? How did it go when you tried again? Did you still attempt TE's or choose another type of reconstruction? Did you have to wait 6 months to try again? How was your healing the second (or third or more) time around? Any success stories would be helpful, but I'm also interested in hearing from those who chose another path or were not ever successful. I just want to be better prepared the second time around.



  • peggums22
    peggums22 Member Posts: 2

    Hi! I had a single mastectomy w/TE in July 2021. I ended up developing a seroma during radiation. It was drained multiple times & after that didn’t work, I had a small revision surgery where it was removed. The seroma ended up forming again & this time it exposed the tissue expander. My TE had to be removed immediately, this was done in Feb 2022. Because of this, I was told I could no longer go TE route & that I would have to move forward w/ DIEP reconstruction. I do, eventually plan to have the DIEP done but for right now, I’m taking a little break from the reconstruction


  • specialk
    specialk Member Posts: 9,237

    momgoose - I had bi-lateral mastectomy with subpectoral tissue expander placement, done prior to chemo and targeted therapy. I developed bi-lateral necrosis, but had significantly more on the non-cancer side. I had a very thorough surgery, very thin skin, and very thin pectoral muscles - a perfect storm for the lack of new establishment of blood supply. I had several surgeries to try to debride and repair the skin while keeping the expander, plus one for ALND due to surprise positive nodes found after the initial mastectomy surgery. Ultimately, in the fifth surgery, the expander was removed. I did not have a known infection, but my skin just would not stay closed and I needed to move on to chemo. Six weeks after chemo was done (so, 6 months without a left side expander) I had another surgery to put the expander in and it was successful. I expanded very slowly - only 25ccs at a time - and also had successful exchange to implants. Do you have any specific questions that I can answer for you?