• How long can I keep the tissue expanders in?

    Asked by Betsy on Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    How long can I keep the tissue expanders in?

    I had chemo, then double mastectomy, radiation, Letrozole. I was to have flap surgery in mid Feb, but my diabetes is raging. PS said to wait a month or so and get sugar under control. It's been a big battle with the diabetes and I'm starting to think that the size of the expanders isn't that bad, why put myself thru that flap surgery at all? I feel like I have to fight some foe each time I see a doc. So why not let this one go with no fight. I guess I may change my mind, but how long can they safely stay in?

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • scootersmom's Avatar

      The expanders are meant for short term. I believe one year is the maximum. If you are unable to go through with the flap procedure, what about having the expanders swapped for implants?

      over 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      My plastic surgeon has many patients with expanders in for 8 - 9 months after the end of radiation. So, for many like me, who have chemo and radiation, the expanders stay in for 16+ months. It seems all plastic surgeons have their own time table for doing the implant swap surgery. I would ask your surgeon.

      over 4 years ago
    • busymom0413's Avatar

      Mine were in 11 months

      over 4 years ago
    • Betsy's Avatar

      Thanks for the answers. Going with implants is an option, but I know that they put an alloderm matrix
      in me at the time of my mastectomy- from what I understand it's a medium to help the newer tissue
      acclimate and thrive in this new spot, so do you think they could still consider implants for me instead
      of real tissue? I am a bit hesitant to discuss it with the PS just yet, I don't want him to know that I feel like
      throwing in the towel, even though I really do. I sometimes feel like this diabetes roadblock was thrown in at this point in time, maybe for a reason. So I'm having a lot of second thoughts. Has anybody else been
      in this position?

      over 4 years ago
    • virginiab's Avatar
      virginiab (Best Answer!)

      Okay, I don't know beans about expanders and reconstruction options, but I do know that you are allowed to change your mind about things in life. And you are allowed to get all the information you need to make the decision that's right for you now, whether you stick with the original decision, go with the one you are contemplating now, or make some other choice that hasn't even occurred to you yet.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I had my TE for over 12 months.....I don't know if there is any time limit...I met a gal a few years ago who never had her TE's taken out!!!! I guess your PS would be the one to answer the question....

      over 4 years ago

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