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Why are Tissue Expanders so uncomfortable?

By Anonymous March 18, 2009 - 4:28pm
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I had a bilateral skin sparing mastectomy on 2/5/09. I currently have in tissue expanders and had my 1st fill on 3/17/09. These expanders are so uncomfortable. It feels like I have turtle shells pressing on my lungs....I can breathe but it's like they are pushing on me when I'm trying to do something and I get winded quicker. It could be my imagine but I just wanted to know if that is a common complaint. I'm hoping the permanent implants will feel nothing like these expanders. I cannot sleep on my back and it is so uncomfortable sleeping on my side. The plastic surgeon doesn't believe in giving pain medication to help with sleep. She recommends physical therapy. I feel a huge range of motion in the daytime, it is just at night. And it creates a cycle....I don't sleep, then I feel tired, depressed and then I don't eat healthy. Help!!

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I'm sorry you are having so much difficulty...let me see if I can provide some information.

First of all, I didn't realize that you just had your first fill only TWO DAYS AGO! Wow---you definitely are OK in feeling "moderate discomfort or a sensation of pressure as the implant expands". If you would describe this pain as anything more than "moderate", please talk with your doctor again.

I can't help but notice that you said your surgeon doesn't believe in giving pain medication...which is convenient, because your surgeon is not the one in pain! You are the patient, and it is within your right to have your pain alleviated. Did your surgeon tell you how long you can expect the pain, discomfort and lack of sleep? Why are you uninterested in physical therapy, if that would provide some relief?

Here is some information from the Mayo Clinic on What to Expect with Tissue Expansion.

I realize this information was just the tip of the iceberg in what you are looking for; please write back if I can help provide any additional information or support.

Hang in there!

March 19, 2009 - 2:42pm
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