There are different types of breast reconstruction procedures for those who have experienced a mastectomy. Receiving a permanent prosthesis is one of the more popular options, but it requires a first stage of using a tissue expander, and exchanging the tissue expander for a permanent implant is the second stage of that procedure. This procedure will be followed by nipple reconstruction and a nipple tattoo. The following provides a general overview of what you can expect during this stage.
Exchange of Tissue Expander
- This is an outpatient surgery that uses general anesthesia and will last about 1.5-2 hours.
- Side effects include temporary soreness, swelling, and bruising. You may experience moderate swelling for 4 weeks and mild swelling for 2-3 months.
- Risks include infection, asymmetry, tightening and hardening of scar tissue around the implant (“capsular contracture”), rupture of implant, or decrease in sensitivity of breast skin, usually permanent.
- Tasks of daily living may be resumed immediately. You may resume non-strenuous work (no lifting greater than 10 lbs) in 3 to 5 days. Avoid strong pushing, pulling, or repetitive upper body movements for 4 weeks.
- Take ibuprofen or narcotics for pain as needed.
- You will need to visit your doctor 3-5 times in the first 3 months, and then yearly thereafter.
Contact Boulder Plastic Surgery
If you would like to learn more about exchange of tissue expander for a permanent implant, contact Boulder Plastic Surgery at 303.578.4193 to schedule a consultation.