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1626138 tn?1300244573

Exercise after breast reconstructive surgery

I had a double prophylactic breast mastectomy about 5 years ago, and I have never had anyone be able to tell me what I should or should not do as far as exercise goes.  I belong to Curves and wonder about some of the equipment - chest exercises and such.  I also am very active skiing, cross-country skiing and just about anything else.  Does anyone know if there is a limit on what I can do?  So far, I do everything.  Always have.  But recently I have felt pain under my right armpit - feels like a stictch was pulled (if that is even possible!).  There's throbbing and burning.  Now I have quite a bit of pain, especially when I try to sleep (lay down - either side), or really - just move my arm.  It's been about 10 days...What's going on?
7 Responses
492898 tn?1222243598
I do not think there are any limitations to what you can do, especially if you did not have reconstructive surgery.

Still, you are most likely as prone, or more prone, to have injuries, or pull a muscle, etc, than everyone is who engages in vigorous exercise.

What I would do if I were you is have a consultation, and possible treatment, with a really good Physical Therapist who is especially familiar with breast related stuff.

I have found that the PT I saw and worked with for a while was much more knowledgeable then any doctor I have ever seen for problems like yours.
They really are trained not onlynwith treatment, but also diagnosing the real causes.

yes, that is what I would do and I am sure you will get help and information.

All the best, Katrin
492898 tn?1222243598
Sorry, I just saw that you mention you did have reconstruction, so, your pain could be related, and if this does not get better, you may need a CT scan, or another scan.

Yet, since it has been 5 years, I would still consult with a PT (Physical Therapist) first.

739091 tn?1300666027
You didn't mention what type of reconstruction you had 5 years ago.

If you had DIEP done there are no limitations.

If you had TRAM or LAT flaps done there are some things you will either not be able to do or will have difficulty doing such as situps and rowing as examples.

If you had expanders/implants or direct to implant you should not be having issues with exercise 5 years out. You would perhaps have issues with lifting weights or anything that causes your pectoralis major muscles to contract as that would move any implant under the muscle to rise up and look distorted.

If it would make you feel better you might want to place a call to your plastic surgeon (if you had implants) and ask them if the implant is stitched to you inside. If so, perhaps it was pulled or torn away from where it was placed. A friend of mine had that happen but her implant would then slide into her armpit when she lay down so she did have that corrected.

If that is not the issue then I would absolutely get to a doctor and get that looked at. Since you had prophylactic reconstruction you most likely have a BRCA mutation or extremely strong family history. Do not let a lot of time slide by before getting checked since cancer is still a possibility for you if you were high risk to begin with. Mastectomies do not remove ALL breast tissue as I'm sure you're aware and unfortunately, I know several women who have had PBM's and still got cancer despite the surgeries for prevention.

Please let us know what your doctor says.

Best wishes and I hope it's just a pulled muscle :)
1626138 tn?1300244573
Thanks so much for answering - I do see my plastic surgeon tomorrow.  I did have expanders/silicone implants with no problems.  I do worry that I may have a tear, which is why I am seeing the doctor, but I don't think that explains the pain?  Still feels like someone slugged me hard under my armpit!   Guess I'll know more tomorrow.

739091 tn?1300666027
And since I had DIEP I can't explain the pain either.

Please let us know what the surgeon says. Best wishes.
1626138 tn?1300244573
Thank you for everyone's response...I go for an ultrasound on Thursday, just to rule out any possibility of Cancer, but you would never believe what the doctor's ended up diagnosing this as!  Shingles!  I had a bump on the front of my breast and a couple on my back (which I never knew were there), in the typical band style, going from my spine around my back, under my arm (hense the pain) and to the front.  I'm on some good antiviral meds and things are progressing well.  Only real downside of this is, I just had a new grandson born a week ago and I can't go see him!!  Time will heal this, but I thank you all for your help.  It is greatly appreciated.
739091 tn?1300666027
Congratulations on the new Grandson! I hope the shingles clears up real soon :)
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