Breast Cancer Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

reconstruction pain

What is the normal time frame for pain reduction after bi=lateral mastectamies with expanders? I am still having considerable pain after 3 weeks. Thanks
45 Responses
242529 tn?1292452814
Dear t-belle, Length of time for experience of pain post op can vary depending on extensiveness of surgery, individual healing etc.  However what we should see is that the pain is reducing as time from surgery goes by.  It is best to talk with the surgeon about the pain you are experiencing so they can assess that all is well with the surgery as well as how your pain could be better managed.  
Avatar universal
While I didn't get to keep my expanders ( lost them to massive infection 4 weeks and  7 weeks after surgery), the pain was there.  I quit the Vicodin and went to Motrin after 2 weeks.  I wanted to get up and start moving around, but that "low grade" fever that was "normal" had me feeling  poor. Usually after surgery for me, getting up and walking around has been the best pain relief, ( 3 c sections, total hysterectomy).
Even tho I never got any more expanders, the feeling in my chest was like those metal bands around a wine barrel...for more than a year.
I play raquetball for an hour 3 times a week and still have some strange sensations now and then. My second plastic surgeon said it's scar tissue moving around and being tweaked by my activities.
I am getting the feeling back under my left armpit, but the right side is still numb. Had a large seroma under that armpit, so the pocket is still there...thanks to the "chief of plastic surgery" at that large reknowned hospital.
I thank him for sending me home with an MRSA and telling me that "low grade" fever while recovering, "was normal".  I thank him for postponing his ski trip to remove the second infected expander.
So much for supposedly having the "best" surgeon available.  It'll be 4 years this Christmas.
Avatar universal
I had a mastectomy 5 weeks ago and just last week I stopped taking vicoden. The pain is there constantly and I have problems sleeping due to the pain. I talked to someone and was told once you can do the exercises they recommend to get movement back that the pain lessens. This week is better. I called my plastic surgeon and he said not to do any exercises. They explained that it is still early in the recovery process. I know that the pain is bothersome. Trust me I know. I am not a patient person - but they told me that after 6-8 weeks that I should be able to do some exercises.
carmen - I too have a pocket under my armpit - it is tough to shave. It was my understanding that most women do - due to the lymph node surgery. I might be wrong. Also my doctor told me about the tamoxifen and told me that 1% of women get ovarian or endometrial cancer from tamoxifen and that no one has ever died from taking it. That was the information I was seeking to make my decision. I will meet with an onocologist on 12/10/07 and will discuss treatment.
Take care t-belle and carme
Avatar universal
It's amazing how little information we are sent home with.  I started doing a few exercises without knowing it's too early. I'm probably doing too much, wouldn't be the first time. The pain has definitely begun to decrease in the past few days...however I had my first fill yesterday of 100 cc in each breast.  My ps thought it wouldn't hurt too much yet, and really it's not too bad, but it definitely feels like it's stretching the muscle :) I can't believe that I actually have a mound already. The Lord has been a constant comfort to me throughout this process, as well as all of you gals...Thanks!!

Maa64, I'll be praying for all of the decisions you have to make in the next few weeks.
Do you know what happened to the other ladies after they recently closed the other post?
Avatar universal
No I was wondering the same thing about where the gals are.

Also please take it easy with the exercises. I can tell you my doctor was adamant about not doing the execises until 6 to 8 weeks. I was doing shoulder rolls and pinching my two shoulder blades together. You may want to check with your surgeon. I had a good chest muscle and they started filling up my expander right from the start of surgery. I woke up with a pretty large mound. Do you know what size your going to choose? I think I'm sticking to a full "B" size. I had a mastectomy in one breast. Will probably have to have work on the other side to even them up a little - seeing as breasts are to be side by side. LOL. After 4 kids gravity has taken a toll. Hope you are doing well.
Keep your positive attitude. I can think of not a whole lot of good out of this, but God promises turn all things to good. The positive thing for me is all the cards, flowers, friends, prayers, etc. That is so positive. My son's orthodontist sent me a card today. I was pleasantly surprised. So look for the good - because sometimes I think that we have to make a conscious effort to look for the good.
Take care
Avatar universal
I am 3 weeks post bi-lateral masectomy and feel your pain also.  I still have to take pain meds one to two times a day.  I am exercising with the ACS recommended exercises.  My PS recommended I do them when I felt like it.  I now have been injected with 530 cc between the two breast and it still hurts.  My PS filled me up quickly becuz I start chemo next week and he wanted me finished with the expanding before it started.
Popular Resources
A quick primer on the different ways breast cancer can be treated.
Diet and digestion have more to do with cancer prevention than you may realize
From mammograms to personal hygiene, learn the truth about these deadly breast cancer rumors.
Breast cancer is not an inevitability. From what you eat and drink to how much you exercise, learn what you can do to slash your risk.
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.