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Can tissue expanders used in breast reconstruction after mastectomy be left in permanently?

Posted by ppagels

I currently have saline tissue expanders in place that are fully expanded and could be switched out for permanent saline or silicone implants.  I have had a difficult time getting to this point because of repeated infections that required the expanders to be removed once, and then required a course of IV antibiotics another time.  I am afraid to have more surgery to replace the expanders and expose that area to infection again.  Can the tissue expanders be left in place permanently if the fill ports are removed?  Could my surgeon just do the superficial work that needs to be done (such as re-contouring the breast mounds, trimming extra skin, revising the scars) and leave the expanders in place?  I think this would greatly reduce the possibility of infection.  Anyone have any experiences to share??

Answers (3)
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I have had the same problems but have a issue expander now only in my left breast- the right one has been removed twice ( staph infections). I have been told that they can stay in permanently but I can't imagine you would want to keep them. Were you having chemo during your reconstructive phase? I was. So now I am giving my body a year to rest- I think that will eliminate a good deal of the risk.
I was not having chemo, but still got infected twice.  The first set of tissue expanders that I had in were very uncomfotable and I was kind of relieved when they had to be removed.  This current set is much more comfortable and the thought of keeping them in permanently does not bother me as much as the possibility of re-infection.  I do want the best cosmetic result, but that is not my first priority.  I am not in any particular rush, but want to have this reconstruction done as soon as possible so that I can move on.  I feel like I am trapped in a time warp and need to move forward.

Me too, believe me. Having 1 weird breast doesn't help me in teh image department. I just found out today that I have to have a hysterectomy. That will have to come first. It's hard not to despair and I am grateful I caught it early and am healthy but I'm only 45 and I desperately want my figure back. The thought of a 3rd failure though is what is making me wait.


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