Breast cancer for the under-50s

Breast cancer is far less common in the under-50s, but this can leave younger people with a diagnosis feeling isolated. This group is a place for them to come together, share experiences and support each other.

Expandable Implant

Woody47
Posted by

Has anyone had a mastectomy with an immediate expandable implant? I'll be having mine in a couple of weeks and looking for any experiences to guide me through.

I'm wondering what recovery is like and how much mobility you have after. Thanks. 

Beachwalker19
Posted by

Hi Woody47, 

i had a left side mastectomy in October with reconstruction surgery although mine isn’t the expanding one just an ordinary implant. I feel it was the right decision for me. I had lymph nodes removal too so suffer with Lymphoedema (swelling).

Recovery for me wasn’t all easy, the drains were a pain as mine were in for 2 weeks. I was sick from the antibiotics so felt rubbish, but once that was over I did start to feel better. I wasn’t in any pain from the scars which healed quite quickly. I still have some numbness and I’m seeing a physio to help regain the strength in the arm. 

I wish you well. Let me know if there is anything else you want to know x

Woody47
Posted by

Thanks . Is it normal to have antibiotics after? I wanted immediate reconstruction but my surgeon advised the temporary implant. I was adamant that I don't wake up with nothing, it's a compromise I'm happy with. 

I'll be have some nodes removed as well but I won't have any drains. I guess they'll see how the swelling goes.

What was it like at home after you were discharged? I'm trying to work out how much help I will actually need. My husband will take some time off and try to work from home but I have no idea if I need a babysitter as well as my two boys! 

Beachwalker19
Posted by

Hi Woody47,

I’m not sure if antibiotics are normal I was in hospital for 2 nights. Dr just said antibiotics were just a precaution I was given 2 lots but once I worked out which ones made my sick I stopped taking them. My kids are 15 and 13 so could do things for themselves. I felt tired and the range of motion in my left arm wasn’t good and still don’t have it 100%, my physio sautés it’s up to 75% now and I’ve only been to see her twice. Felt pretty rubbish to be honest after discharge and tired. I didn’t want another surgery I was told the skin would have to come from my leg or back which I didn’t want to wait as he said it could be 12 months or more.

I was told you can’t lift your arm above waist height for at least two weeks. I could boil the kettle and make sandwiches and things but couldn’t lift a pan of water or open bottles etc, which was very frustrating lol. I’m still numb under the arm in places and that feeling might never come back.  I have nerve damage to the arm which is more common apparently after a mastectomy and then node removal later as it’s 2 surgeries. My arm is better but not completely. Think it’s just going to take more time. I would say to have someone on standby for the children just incase.

I hope that helps, wishing you lots of luck x

Kar44
Posted by

I had a mastectomy with expander in Nov 17, for the first few weeks it was quite flat as there isn't much fluid in the expander to begin with. I also had a drain which was removed after a week or so. I still have numbness on that side and reduced sensation down that arm. I couldn't do much around the house for few weeks and showering was a nightmare until the dressings came off. I didn't have much pain though.

Woody47
Posted by

Thanks for the info Kar44. When you were discharged did the district nurse or GP call round to check on you? Did you get support at home or are you left alone to recover?

How long were your dressings on for? 

Thanks

Woody47