Are breast reconstruction tissue expanders painful?

My doctor told me I'll get a temporary breast reconstruction expander at the time of my mastectomy. Will it be painful when the doctor injects salt water solution to fill the expander? It must be an uncomfortable feeling to have your muscles and skin stretched like that over a few months.


F, 50, California

Tags:woman age 45-54 pain mastectomy

I am sorry you have to have a mastectomy.  The expansion process you describe is not very painful.  The area is usually pretty numb after surgery, so most women barely feel the injection.  For a couple of days after each expansion the area may feel very tight.  This usually only lasts for a couple of days and the discomfort can usually be managed with over the counter medication.  Best of luck.  

Injection of tissue expanders is relatively painless in terms of the needle but the stretching can be a bit uncomfortable for an hour or more after each session depending on your skin looseness. A newer technology are the AirXpanders, which allow you to control the expansion yourself.

-- Dr. Sayed

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