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Pain after Mastectomy

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Pain after Mastectomy

Posted by
Monica on June 24, 2002 at 01:53:10:

Hi. I am 34 years old & had my left breast removed 2 weeks ago due to breast cancer. I had a sentinel node biopsy that showed no spread. My mobility after the surgery is excellent, and the healing is going quite well, overall. The problem: terrible, constant pain in the skin on my upper inner arm. It feels like a wire brush has removed all the skin & that the brush is still going strong. It's unbearable whenever anything touches it (e.g. clothes). The only relief is to put pressure on the pain area. My doctor says not to worry, that it will go away...but this is worrying me, especially because it is not getting better at all (note that my swelling is negligible). Do you have any answers or suggestions????



Re: Pain after Mastectomy

Posted by Pam on June 24, 2002 at 20:42:53:

In Reply to: Pain after Mastectomy posted by Monica on June 24, 2002 at 01:53:10:


Monica:

I still have pain and its been about 5 years since my surgery & reconstruction. My situation my have been a little different from yours, but, I still have a kind of burning pain and have lost at least 50 percent of the use of my arm.

Lymph removal can cause nerve damage. I wish I would have been informed of these problems before I had surgery, but these days doctors don't give true informed consent.

Pam



Re: Pain after Mastectomy

Posted by
Monica on June 24, 2002 at 23:24:22:

In Reply to: Re: Pain after Mastectomy posted by Pam on June 24, 2002 at 20:42:53:

Hi Pam. Thanks for your comments...did you have all of your nodes removed or a sentinel node biopsy. Why did the surgeon say when you complained of the pain??? How soon did it start after surgery. My pain started once the numbness began to disappear (I still have numbness around my chest and my underarm, but the area of the arm which was once numb is very very painful).



National Lyphedema Network

Posted by Pam on June 25, 2002 at 00:24:29:

In Reply to: Re: Pain after Mastectomy posted by Monica on June 24, 2002 at 23:24:22:


Monica:

I'm not sure I can answer all your questions. I have been on prescription narcotics and since the surgery and anti-depressants for just about as long.

I'm not sure how many lymph nodes were removed. I am told that it was a small number, because I had the lymphatic mapping.

I finally got up the nerve to read my medical records, last year, while I was with my counselor. But, I didn't see anything about how many nodes were removed.

I have permanent numbness under my arm, down the upper back of my arm, over my reconstructed breast, down my abdomen all the way to the pelvic area. So, I don't feel too much any more.

If the nerves were damaged in your under arm area, you can expect to have permanent numbness. Don't expect that you will ever use your arm again, like you used to.

I don't mean to depress you, I just am trying to give you a realistic view. The surgeons and doctors were of no help to me. They just give prescription narcotics.

You might try going to National Lyphedema Network. It is on the Internet. They might has some answers about the pain.

I have to keep a pillow under my arm while I am sitting. I hope I have helped.

Pam

Follow Ups:


Re: Pain after Mastectomy (Archive in neuropathy.)

Posted by Walt Stoll on June 25, 2002 at 08:09:46:

In Reply to: Pain after Mastectomy posted by Monica on June 24, 2002 at 01:53:10:

Hi, Monica.

It sounds to me like the nerve to that area was inadvertantly caught up in a suture and you are experiencing hypesthesia. Your doc is hoping against hope that the nerve will eventually die or that it will gradually recover from it's entrapment to the point where your symptoms improve.

Generally, as Pam has pointed out, this is a forlorn hope.

However, your only option would be for the surgeon to use his knowledge of anatomy and go back in to where the nerve is likely entrapped and cut a few sutures, If he is successful you should experience immediate relief.

However you will find the surgeon VERY reluctant to go back in since that would imply some kind of failure. This is a fairly common thing to happen and the surgeon was not at fault at all. These nerves are nearly invisible in the surgical field. YOU are the one suffering and YOU need to have the most influential vote in what to do.

Let us know what happens.

Walt

Follow Ups:


Re: Pain after Mastectomy

Posted by
Monica on June 25, 2002 at 23:28:03:

In Reply to: Pain after Mastectomy posted by Monica on June 24, 2002 at 01:53:10:

Thanks so much, Pam, Walt, for the info!! I'm seeing my surgeon on July 5th for follow-up...I'll let you know what he says.

Follow Ups:


Re: Pain after Mastectomy

Posted by
Monica on June 25, 2002 at 23:28:08:

In Reply to: Pain after Mastectomy posted by Monica on June 24, 2002 at 01:53:10:

Thanks so much, Pam, Walt, for the info!! I'm seeing my surgeon on July 5th for follow-up...I'll let you know what he says.

Follow Ups:


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