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Abdominal Pain Post Mastectomy

My mother's surgeon is stumped at the pain she has endured for the last 3 weeks, 2 days post left radical mastectomy.  He removed her breast and 23 lymph nodes.  The cancer was a carcinoma mucinous.  The pain that she is having at the mastectomy site & down her ribcage (after researching via internet) seems to be somewhat normal?  However, the pain that continues down the left side of trunk and rotates into her abdomen (pants are tighter than normal so she knows she is swollen, Dr says that she does not have any access fluid in these areas & skin color is good) has never been encountered by her surgeon.  I'd say he is at least 60 and seems incredible competent.  When he palpated all the areas in the office today, she almost came off the exam table from extreme pain).  The fact that she has been unable to tolerate a pain reliever (Darvocet makes her nauseous, Hydrocodone makes her goofy, started Narcotic pain patch and Tordal today) that will touch the pain has been somewhat disheartening.  Mom is 66 and has always been extremely healthy & fit, but the intense pain & time that she has been down is really starting to wear on her.  She can lift her hand behind her head so her movement is good.  She still has some drainage which she had removed today at 15cc with the last extraction being 5 days ago at 20cc.  (Fluid drained Dec 22 showed to be a +3).  One more tidbit is that prior to the surgery and for as long as I can remember, you could never scratch mom's back or massage neck and shoulders that she didn't jump and say "QUIT", bringing to thought that she may have some sort of hyper-sensitivity issues that have extended interal?  Just reaching here....can anybody help or empathize, having gone through the same sort of situation?
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Do you know what her white blood count is? Maybe she has some kind of infection going on.
25201 tn?1255584436
Just a couple of thoughts ... due to nerve damage as a result of the surgery which is something that cannot be avoided. Lymphedema of the trunk which can also occur post lymph node removal. You might consider a consultation with a Physician associated with a Pain Clinic.   Regards ....
Avatar universal
I don't know what her white blood count is.  When they sent the fluid that they extracted back in December to be cultured, I'm assuming that the information of +3 has somethng to do with the infection part.  But he (Dr) doesn't seem to think there is infection in the trunk/abdomen area.  Thanks though!  When we go back next week I'll ask him.  Thanks!
492898 tn?1222247198
When you say she had a 'radical mastectomy', do you mean she had the type that is hardly done any longer? Where they cut away muscle under the chest wall?

It would be helpful to know that since that is a much more extensive operation than is usually done these days.

Then there is also something else called something like partial radical mastectomy. (not exactly sure) That's what I had. it's a mastectomy, and then they remove all the lymph nodes and also the membrane over the muscles of the chest wall.

In my case, the surgeon isolated the nerves and protected them, but often surgeons cut through these muscles and that can cause more pain and numbness and other problems, also later.

Just trying to get an idea. I hope it gets better. I mean 'goofy' isn't so bad, is it? unless she is working?
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