• Pain with tissue expanders

    Asked by cancungrrrl on Thursday, May 9, 2013

    Pain with tissue expanders

    I seem to be having chronic pain from tissue expanders. I am almost 8 weeks out from initial B/L Mastectomy. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma in my right breast. I opted to do bilateral because I never wanted to hear those words again. The pathology after surgery came back and I actual had bilateral breast cancer. That was probably a live saving decision to have both removed. But I have had about 4 injections so far and the last one has gotten me to the point of not sleeping & being exhausted all day due to the pain. I see my PS tomorrow and hopefully she will have a good solution to my condition. If anyone has suggestions, I am open to all. Thanks & have a wonderful day

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • Benge's Avatar

      I'm so sorry you have to go through this too.
      I had the bi-lateral mastectomy done too and they also found more cancer after my surgery. Thank God you too had the bi-lateral done. The fills were very painful for me too. I thought at first that I will go a little bigger so I won't be between 2 sizes anymore, but I couldn't do it anymore, I felt like I couldn't breathe and it was pushing on my ribs so hard. You can ask your PS to put less fluid in or skip a week. I never had any taken out, but I did skip a week here and there. After my last fill which was about 3 months ago, I had my exchange last week and I have to tell you that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Even though I have to wear a tight granny bra for a 5-6 weeks, they feel like normal breasts again and the feeling of wearing a metal bra on the inside is gone =) Hang in there girl....it does get better!! I sent a prayer for you for strength through this!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • DorothyV's Avatar

      My expander was uncomfortable the entire time! I was so glad to have the exchange surgery. Had expander for about eight months. I used a small soft pillow held against my breast when I was sleeping. That seemed to help. I have heard from others that you ps can take some of the saline out and that made them more comfortable. Good luck with everything. We are here for you. Sending prayers and hugs:)

      over 3 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      I'm sorry you are experiencing this pain. I hated the expander phase, said it felt like I had a "birdcage in there." The worst for me was trying to get comfortable sleep. Honestly, I don't think anything worked well. My family doctor prescribed Xanax and I used a heating pad on a low setting when I wanted to sleep on my side. My plastic suggested Motrin 600s for the pain. I guess I sort of "gutted it out" for those six months. But when that birdcage came out and the silicone implants went in...relief! The surgery and recovery were a breeze and the discomfort absolutely went away. All that pain was worth it, though, to finally be "whole" again. My plastic surgeon did a great job and I didn't have any complications with reconstruction. I'm keeping my fingers crossed your doctor may have some suggestions for you. I'm hoping you can summon more of your inner strength and patience and endure this time until that next--and so much better--phase.

      over 3 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      My fills were not painful but the TE's are driving me crazy. I had mine put in on 2/15/13 and will not get the silicone implants until July 18th. I was filled to 800cc by 3 weeks after surgery and he deadened the site before he did the fill. The first time my breasts were kind of numb but by the second feeling had started coming so that little deading shot hurt. My worst complaint is when I get up in the morning and it feels like that metal birdcage has moved around. However, that said, I do feel better looking at myself now and know that this will be worth it. My doctor and his nurses said the next is a breeze and reading below that makes me feel much better.
      Good luck and ask your PS any questions you can think of.

      over 3 years ago
    • sewfun928's Avatar


      I had a lot of pain also, I called them my rocks, they were in for 11 months. Since I had to have radiation also I opted for smaller fills each time I went. I slept in a recliner as sleeping in bed was not comfortable. I will say that when I had them switched out it was wonderful. I still say they are blobs and not boobs as your chest will never be the same. I did not wear a bra for almost a year. Hang in there things will get better. Focus on the cancer being gone.

      over 3 years ago
    • Nonnie917's Avatar

      I chose a different kind of reconstruction so I can't help you with advice, but I would say talk to your doctor and stop the injections for a while until your skin becomes use to it's new size. Don't rush things and don't let them rush you. There is no sense in being in pain all the time if you don't have to be. You made a good choice in your BL mastectomy. Like you I had localized DCIS and when they did the MRI they found two clusters in the left breast that the mammo did not pick up so I made the same decision for the same reason as you. It is amazing how God works to save our lives, if you believe in God that is. I do and I hope I did not offened you? Good luck and take it slow and easy.

      over 3 years ago
    • Nomadicme's Avatar

      Get expanded less often, every other week instead f every week. Helped me a lot (make sure it works out financially, I had extra co pays because fthat shedule).

      over 3 years ago
    • ld_105's Avatar

      I too find the expanders very uncomfortable. I still have one 4 months after the left mastectomy. I find it difficult to sleep because the expander jabs me in the side or bottom of the breast. I was advised to take Tylenol for the discomfort. I am hoping for the best after the exchange.
      They do get less painful with time...hang in there.

      over 3 years ago

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