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Longterm Pain Post Surgery - Nerve damage?
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Longterm Pain Post Surgery - Nerve damage?

Hi.  I've posted this on the Women's Health board as well and am hoping someone can help.

I'm searching on here for my aunt who I'm hoping I can find some answers for.  3 years ago she had breast reduction surgery due to significant back and neck pain.  Since that time, she has one breast that has caused her non-stop pain.  Under the breast, she is frequently bruised and, on occasion, her nipple turns white.  The only doctor who has relieved her pain at all has done so through nerve blocks.  Other than that, the pain is unbearable for her.  Several doctors have told her it's in her head, despite the obvious physical signs, and she is feeling extremely defeated and tired of living in this much pain.  I'm hoping someone might be able to shed some light.

One thing I found out last night was that only a couple of weeks post-op her grandson was visiting and threw a small matchbox car which struck her in the area that has had persistent pain.  I'm wondering if there could have been nerve damage or something that occurred as a result of this and, if so, is there any way to fix this at this point.  Obviously I'm not a doctor so I have no idea what could cause this type of thing, but this seemed like a clue to me.  I'm hoping I might be able to find some help on here and/or someone who had a similar story and (hopefully) a solution I can share with her.

Thanks!
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She may have neuromas in her breast from the surgery.  Also, women have gotten complex regional pain syndrome from breast reductions.  She should go to a good plastic surgeon at an university hospital, and ask him to check her for neuromas, he should look for tinels signs.  

I have had chronic pain in my right breast for 10 years from a breast reduction.
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Hi Birdie,

What a wonderful niece you are. Your aunt is lucky to have you. I have a special aunt too and I hear your concern. I doubt the toy car incident has anything to do with her current pain.

If you note on the bottom of this thread you will see a referral thread entitled "Pain from Breast Reduction" that was posted by socialdirector on Feb 21, 2009. At that time and again today I searched for articles regarding chronic pain following this surgery. I have not found anything related to it. You may want to send a PM to socialdirector to share information.

I was able to ind one article that discussed hyperpigmentations or permanent bruising.  Permanent hyperpigmentation (dark spots) from the bruising are a risk. There are treatments for this rare complication, including some laser and pulsed light treatments. So thought it is rare it is not unheard of and the good news is there may be treatment for it.

I am so sorry your aunt is having pain. She should shy away from physicians that dismiss her pain. I am so glad that Birdie posted her experience and has offered some very good suggestions. Your aunt should keep looking for a PCP that will beleive her pain or request a referral to a PMP. None of us should ever settle for less than a great PCP.

Good luck to you and your aunt. I am hopeful you will let us know how she is doing or encourage her to sign on.
Take Care, Tuck
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So sorry, I meant to thank Pennybox for posting her good suggestions and wrote Birdie!!

Sorry again. I'll blame it on the late hour!
Tuck
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Doctors who say pain like your aunt has is in the head are, in my opinion, not serving your aunt very well. Surgery carries risks of nerve injury and that is a fact. The prevalence of peripheral nerve injury is very low but still very real. Other types of nerve damage may occur in deeper too. You may need to be more assertive with doctors in order to discover if indeed nerve injury has occurred, or at least to find a better approach to managing the pain.

It is worth keeping in mind that the pain may have an origin that is not due to nerve damage but to other aspects of the surgery which have ultimated initiated chronic pain in the area. While it is always possible that the incident with the toy car might have something to do with it, I would treat that as more likely to be coincidence only.

All the best.

PS: Sometimes when I need info along these lines I use the NIH PubMed Central (aka "PMC") database of research articles. Free to use, and many articles are free for download. There is a menu option for searches on clinical information in particular. The help link on the PMC gives a basic run through of what the options are for and is enough to get started. Google PubMed Central to get a link to it - but note that the database called just "PubMed" contains PMC and other pay per download articles.
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