• LPO's Avatar

    How to deal with pain of first stage of breast reconstruction?

    Asked by LPO on Thursday, September 13, 2012

    How to deal with pain of first stage of breast reconstruction?

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • MaryMoo's Avatar

      What type of pain are you having and how long ago was your breast reconstruction? I had reconstruction AFTER radiation, which was not fun, so I can relate to having pain. After any surgery, you are probably going to have some pain, and there's nothing wrong with using prescription pain medication. If the pain is not getting better, you need to talk to your surgeon. If you don't like the answer your surgeon gives you, find another doctor to talk to. If it is more a feeling of "discomfort", I got a lot of relief from yoga, meditation and massage (not to mention a nice glass of wine once in a while!) Write back and let us know more about the pain you are having so that we can all help.

      over 8 years ago
    • Laurie's Avatar

      Do you mean the expanders? They ARE uncomfortable. I would best describe it like having 2 paper plates in this position () and the edges are giving you constant paper cuts all around. They don't move and they are kind of hard. I had upper back and shoulder spasms after saline injections for a few hours. Took a pain pill and got chair massages. Even the Homedic thumper massager helped, but is hard to do on yourself. Sometimes, a heating pad across the chest helped too. Keep telling yourself the silicone ones are better! Now, if you are having redness with the pain, see your doc, cuz that probably is an infection.

      over 8 years ago
    • ruthieq's Avatar

      It is best to take the pain meds regularly for a day or so after saline injections. Even if after 4 hrs you don't have very much pain, take them. It is easier to anticipate and medicate for pain than it is to medicate after the pain gets bad. It is also better for those pain centers to be stopped, to halt the pain cycle, and therefore prevent even more pain. Warm compresses or even the opposite, ice can help. And the glass of wine or alcohol is fine if you don't have more than 1. Alcohol and pain meds don't mix well.

      over 8 years ago
    • Brownj1's Avatar

      i had burning and shooting pain after double masectomy, axillary dissection and temporary reconstrction with tissue expanders. Prescription pain medications helped only slightly, and I did not lile the feeling of being "out of it" during the day so I took them mostly at night. Honestly, the only thing that really helped was time. However, even 5 months later, I still have discomfort. I think that if you are having pain that is not being relievedl by your current medication, you should call your doctor's office and see if they can prescribe you a different or stronger medication. And make sure that you do your prescribed exerecises, even if it hurts to do them, because exercise will reduce pain in time as well. Good luck and i hope that you feel better soon.

      over 8 years ago
    • cbutinski's Avatar

      I had a double masectomy, lymphnode removal, and expanders, I stayed in a recliner for a month because it was to painful to lie down ( a friend of mine who also went through the same situation said she could not lie down either) I took the prescribed pain pills like clockwork for a few days until I saw my plastic surgeon and he said I should be taking Tylenol by then so I only took them at bedtime, but my breast surgeon told me something different and gave me another prescription so I guess if you try Tylenol and your ok then Great but if not take a pain med as prescribed.
      I was also having chemo at the time so when I was in so much pain, not eating, and having a fever I thought it was the chemo it ended up being an infection, I was bandaged and could barely move my arms and to be honest I didn't want to look at my chest for too long so when it was red and swollen I never knew until my daughter in law told me. I was off work a total of two month (the second month only because of the infection and additional lymphnodes needed to be removed) the was one year ago July 6th and I returned on September 1st, 2011, I am doing great!

      over 8 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      I had to sleep in a recliner and spent most days sitting in it as it was easier to get up when I needed to. My surgeon started me on vicodin but after a week we switched to Ibuprophen (Motrin 600 mg) because I was experiencing arm pain. After three weeks, I was sent to a physical therapist, and although the initial visits were quite painful, the exercises eventually helped. You might have to try one or two different pain relievers until you find the one, and the correct dosage that works. By all means, communicate with your doctor. Our breast care center has a nurse who called every few weeks to check on me and made sure I felt comfortable about calling her if/when I had any problems. That kind of service is a God-send when you are going through something like this. Find out if there are such services available to you. I hope so.

      over 8 years ago
    • Laurie's Avatar

      I had hot burning pain all the time and then there'd be the occasional "lightening strike" traveling across the chest. Wow. I was told not to lay on side post-op mastectomy. I got some thin bed foam and folded it up to make a bed wedge and that with my pillow was pretty good. I think maybe less stretching of muscles/ scar tissue than laying flat. It kept me from rolling over and it was allergy season, so I could breathe better. Daytime, I stayed in my recliner (whoever invented those is a saint). Because I do well on narcotics, I was on high dose nsaids, tylenol with codeine (only narcotic that doesn't make me manic), and alprazolam. Valium family helps you relax a little, which can ease the pain. I basically was trying to keep myself just groggy enough to sleep as much as possible for the first week. The burning constant pain took couple weeks to get to the annoying constant "uncomforable" stage, but the "lightening strikes" continued for months. These are from nerves cut---phantom boob pain! (I swear it would go across my chest and out thru the nipple, which, of course, I no longer had!). I alternated a heating pad across my chest with some cold packs too.
      Stupid expanders feel like they are giving you paper cuts and will continue til they are out, likely, but this is NOTHING compared to the initial post-op pain. Permanent boobs are definitely more comfortable.

      over 8 years ago
    • DaveWaz's Avatar

      I hope all is well.

      Your question reminded me of some content we have on reconstruction experiences.




      It also reminded me to let WhatNexters know about our Beginner's Guide to Cancer, including a guide on how women chose between a lumpectomy and mastectomy.


      Best of luck to all,

      over 7 years ago

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