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Topic: What does your Expanders look like?

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

Posted on: May 1, 2009 09:05PM

MichelleLanea wrote:

Hello Ladies,

 I had a bilateral skin sparring mastectomy on Fe. 9th, 2009. They were unable to fill the expanders during the surgery. I've been having 50 cc fills every other week...what a slow process. I'm really sensitive to the fills. My muscles always take awhile to adjust. I currently have 250cc in the right, and 200 in my left. Anyway. My right "breast" is looking pretty good, other then looking like I have a softball under my skin. I have what they call "dog ears" on either side, which my PS said won't be a problem to trim up during the big switch. My concern is that my left breast expander ended up being higher, and slightly towards my arm pit. Now when I get the fills it's not filling out the bottom part of my breast. So, now the PS will need to do more work to get everything straightened out, correct? Has anyone else experienced anything similar? What was the finished out come like?

 I'm 5'6 about 140-ish...I was a 34 DD, but rather be a large B, small C. It's really tough to get an idea how I will actually look?! My pre-cancer breasts were more like hamburger buns, these are more like...softballs! I'm not expecting to look like I did before, but I guess I just can't wrap my brain around how I will look with silicone. Anyone have a good description of the before and after?

One last concern...I'm so looking forward to being a mommy someday (soon...I'm now 37!) through adoption. This may sound silly, but I can't wait to hold a baby, but the feeling in my chest is so uncomfortable and strange. Will this go away after the exchange???

 Thanks so much, girls!


Dx 10/17/2008, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 1, 2009 10:13PM dani42 wrote:


My left expander has shifted.  I am not happy at all with how things are going.  It shifted more this week, which leads to more discomfort.  My ps said it will require some repair during the exchange, which he is in no hurry to do.  I am really not happy with the way this is going or what the ps envisions as the end results.  

I don't know about how the tissue expanders fill since the shift, since he refused to give me additional fills since this has happened. He says my skin is too thin but I feel it is more because my boob is in my armpit! 

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May 1, 2009 10:41PM - edited May 1, 2009 10:42PM by Farrah

Hi Michelle,

I hope you get your wish for a baby very soon! Don't worry, implants are waaaay more comfortable than expanders and a lot of the positioning problems can be corrected at the time of exchange. I'm working in a maternity ward at the moment and get to hold newborns a lot. My chest feels fine and very natural, just like it did when I held my own newborns many years ago - only without the engorgement and painful nipples this time! Smile 

All the best to you! Farrah

PS: Dani42, I hope you get some reassurance soon and things start to improve for you!

bilateral mastectomy May 08. Silicon implants July 08 Dx 5/8/2008, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-
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May 2, 2009 02:41AM DV8Q wrote:

Michelle we have similar stats 140 and 5'5 I got my last fill today and one is very much like a softball under the skin and the other is more like a hamburger bun, its just spread out more. I too had a little flap on the side that eventually went away with more fills. I hear someone on the forum hosts a picture site but I cant find it. Good luck with eerything.

Dx 11/17/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/24 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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May 2, 2009 05:29AM tweekerbeeker wrote:

ladies, if you send a pm to Timtam, she can give you access to the pictures-provided you have been registered and regular posters.

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May 2, 2009 06:43AM REKoz wrote:

Hi Michelle-

My expanders are totally uneven though I think it's from the incompetence of my first PS. From the very start, my home care nurse noted as such. Anyway, my new PS began fills and stopped as yours did. I am finishing up chemo on Monday and am scheduled for day op surgery on May 27th to lower the left expander. My PS told me that if he kept filling, he would not be stretching out the lower skin where the future "breast" would naturally hang. Continuing along would have my boob just about under my collar bone! Not quite what I envisioned!

It is a royal pain in the butt for sure to have to go through this, but it's like the rest of this entire journey. What can we do but move forward and do what we have to do.

Hope it helps to know that you aren't alone.


BMX 11/08, Abraxane/Carbo/x4 1/09 Herceptin until 1/10, Recon w expanders-1st exchange Dec. 09. Revision from 700 Style 20 to 600 Style 45-Oct 10 Dx 10/16/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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May 2, 2009 06:03PM Mykidsmom wrote:

Michelle - As a mother of two adopted children (25 year olds), best wishes w/ your upcoming plans! As a woman that just went through her exchange, hang in there, the implants are so much more comfortable than the expanders. And they seem much more like normal breasts. My TEs were high and perky and always THERE! So far I am very pleased with the softness and comfort of the implants. And they are not under my arms like the TEs. Hopefully they will stay this way. Best wishes! - Jean

Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy w/ Tissue Expanders - 12/08 Exchange 04/09 Dx 8/25/2008, LCIS, Stage 0
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May 2, 2009 08:29PM 4greatkids wrote:

Hi  Michelle,

I had my BM with TE's 4.5 weeks ago. I feel as if the rt one is creeping farther and farther slowly under my arm.I have buldge under both arms. Today when I woke up it felt like the bottom inside corner of my right expander had curled under.I am praying that when I get my next fill on Monday it smooths out because it hurts. (more than usual) I went for a PT appointment this week and the therapist explained to me that the expanders are shaped the way that they are because they are modeled after the pectoralis muscle. So, since the pec muscle extends under the arms, so must the expanders.I guess that makes sense.My PS assures me that it doesn't matter if the expanders drift a bit.

Dani42-Where do you live in Upstate NY? I live between Albany and Saratoga. Are you near there?

Denise Dx 1/29/2009, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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May 3, 2009 06:57AM Mykidsmom wrote:

4greatkids - We live close to one another, who is your PS?

Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy w/ Tissue Expanders - 12/08 Exchange 04/09 Dx 8/25/2008, LCIS, Stage 0
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May 3, 2009 08:05PM 4greatkids wrote:

Mykidsmom-My PS is Dr. Rockmore at Albany Plastic Surgery Group. Where do you live and wjo is your PS? I live in CLifton Park.

Denise Dx 1/29/2009, DCIS, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+
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May 5, 2009 01:10PM - edited May 5, 2009 01:16PM by SimoneJ

Hi, I had a bilateral Mast on 1/30/09 with expanders-I am getting 60 cc weekly, I tried 100 cc's 1 time and was in extreme pain for 3 days-I have my last fill in tomorrow and 1 of my expanders has shifted and I can feel it under my arm alittle bit-If I would have known the pain and the time consumption of getting them filled weekly I would have had a DIEP-I am planning on getting my exchange surgery prior to radiation because I do not like the way these feel. My PS said if radiation caused my breast to tighten he could fix them when he did my nipple reconstruction. I have my 4th out of 6 chemo treatments next week and then plan of scheduling my exchange surgery.

My PS tried something different on me(without my permission), he did not leave dog ears he gathered up my skin and glued it together-I am not really pleased with how they look, but my PS told me not to worry(it's not his chest it mine). My mom friend's expanders looked way better then mine-she just had her exchange surgery done last week.

Thanks for listening


Dx 1/5/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, 6/20 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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May 5, 2009 03:48PM Mykidsmom wrote:

Simone - Hugs to you. The implants are better than the expanders. Take care. - Jean

Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy w/ Tissue Expanders - 12/08 Exchange 04/09 Dx 8/25/2008, LCIS, Stage 0
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May 5, 2009 09:17PM dani42 wrote:


I am near Utica, NY.  I know there are other women on here from Clifton Park area. 

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May 6, 2009 10:46AM Believe1 wrote:

For me it seemed that it got easier the more fills I had?  I just finished my last fill yesterday and expected to be in alot of pain considering I just had my second to last a wk ago.  I had 125cc and then yesterday I had 100cc but not feeling to much discomfort. I even slept well...weird.  Maybe my muscles are so tired of being stretched they gave up...lol  All I know is I am sooo ready for my exchange in Aug. and plan on going to Vegas in Sept. as a celebration of the end of this scary journey.

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