Ask the Doctor: Q&A

What is a safe cc (cubic centimeters) of fluid to fill breast tissue expanders every two weeks?

Hi Danna, 
Thank you for reaching out.

The answer to your question depends on multiple factors. Usually there is a certain amount of fluid that needs to be added to an expander after surgery so that the skin is stretched enough to fit around the more permanent implant. Usually the fluid is added gradually until the goal is met. This may take multiple visits to the surgeon until enough is added. The amount added at each visit depends on what size expander was used and how much skin stretching is needed. The healing process is also important. If healing is slow, then less can be added safely. Finally, fluid is usually added until the patient feels tightness, not severe pain. The tightness goes away gradually and in a few days, more can be added and the process is repeated. We can usually expect 50-250ccs added – per visit – depending on the above-mentioned factors. 

I hope this answered your question. Please let me know if you need any additional information.

Thanks again, 

Dr. James Craigie



    If you have reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy how would the Plastic surgeon KNOW if you will need TISSUE expanders?

    • The decision to utilize tissue expanders is just one of many techniques that a plastic surgeon could offer a patient for immediate breast reconstruction. You could also choose to use your own natural tissue or perhaps choose a direct to implant reconstruction using acellular dermis. The options are many but ultimately it is up to you to decide which method you would prefer to use. If you require radiation, that may limit your options as radiated tissue does increase the complication rate when using implants. If you are a candidate, most breast surgeons are able to offer skin sparing mastectomies minimizing the need for tissue expanders.