• Post Mastectomy Tightness in skin

    Asked by janstar47 on Wednesday, March 13, 2013

    Post Mastectomy Tightness in skin

    Mastectomy almost 6 weeks ago. Surgical area healed nicely. My skin feels SOOO tight but it's ONLY a "feeling". Like, I feel like I have a tight bra on. Does this sound like something any of you experienced? I know nerve wise it might be part of it. Does that feeling go away? I also found out reconstruction would be "soft tissue" reconstruction. That is using my belly fat and flesh from my belly too. (one breast) Said I should wait at least a year to go for it. And warned of infection, which I'm sure we face in any of our surgeries. Comments on either topic I just mentioned: post mastectomy tight skin FEELING and/or Reconstruction.
    Thank you; appreciate your input.

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Yep, exactly. I use the tight bra analogy all the time, even though I'm not wearing a bra at all. My mastectomy was almost a year ago and I still have the tightness. I haven't had any reconstruction and don't plan to. For me it just isn't worth the risks, and going through a whole nuther round of surgeries.

      over 3 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I have the same tight feeling 7 years post mastectomy.....not all the time, but once in a while and I had TE and now silicone implants....and I never, ever wear a bra!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      I had the tight feeling until 4 weeks ago when I underwent the beginning of reconstruction. My mastectomy was in June of 2012. Finished chemo on 11/8 and had the plastic surgery 3 months post chemo. My Plastic Surgeon removed a lot of scar tissue and I think that was the reason for the tightness. The expanders are not comfortable, but I understand from friends and the PS that once the silicone implant is placed and some lyposuction I will not feel like I have on an underwire bra under the skin. Hope this helped.

      over 3 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar

      I have the same thing, after a year. Also, additional radiation on that side (left) and I still feel "pings" or little "stabs" from that-- that has been about 6 months ago. I also sometimes feel an itching in the shoulder blade area on that side, but when I scratch it feels numb. I think some nerves are going to reconnect and some will never.

      over 3 years ago
    • ruthieq's Avatar

      The tight feeling is indeed nerves trying to reconnect and heal. My PT person told me to massage the skin to keep it loose over the scar area, so it doesn't "stick" itself to the bone. This will help when the doc needs to go in and reconstruct. You don't say that you've had radiation. If you have, my PS and ONC both said 2 yrs from rads before surgery. If not, waiting at least 6 months to a year for your body to heal and recover from chemo(if you've had that)and surgery, to be able to fight against infection. Infection is still a worry even with the cleanest most sterile conditions in the OR. We are immune compromised and can't heal well or fast, so the longer you wait, the better chances of reconstruction is a success. Make sure your surgeon has done lots of these surgeries and does at least 100-200 of these a year. Finally make sure that the hospital where he does it is familiar with the care of these patients.

      over 3 years ago
    • ruthieq's Avatar

      OH and understand that there is never a date where its too late to reconstruct. Insurance companies cannot say 'well its too late now' by law. i never reconstructed after my bilateral. I enjoy not wearing a bra my self although its not for everyone. I have prosthetics that I got last year (6 yrs after surgery) that I have in case I want to wear something that just doesn't look right without them. Otherwise, I go flat chested.

      over 3 years ago
    • hikerchick's Avatar

      My experience has been completely different from these. ( I'm in a hurry and may want to add more later.) I have GREAT flexibility and range of motion now and seldom have tightness. At your point after surgery, I felt like someone had wrapped dental floss around my chest and was pulling it tight! I do get some itching and tingling even though it's been over 2 years. Now I can kayak surf and do yoga. I had bi-lat and no reconstruction even though I was only in my 40s at surgery, and I am SO thankful I did not choose reconstruction.
      Down to business: the exercises they tell you to do post-op need to be done 3 times a day everyday for months, I mean months. The massaging I was told to do post-op was not at all beneficial after a few weeks. I fought hard and finally got physical therapy and she taught me to skin roll and massage rough enough to do some good! Not at all what the nurse had told me to do, and she herself had a mastectomy w/o reconstruction! Increased exercises, stretching and challenging the status quo of my condition is what brought me relief...., not taking it real easy. A PT can guide you. I don't know your physical condition. But it was SO worth the work it took to get me here. And I started yoga not that many weeks after surgery. I just started slow.....
      If you are committed, I'm sure you can improve this! And now is the time. :-) Good luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • LeslieR's Avatar

      Janstar47, I had a dbl mast w expanders October 2011. I became infected quickly after I left the hospital. I am also diabetic, could not take the foreign material in my body. I had them both removed and went directly into chemo treatments. Once completed (4 months later), I researched and found an alternative reconstruction. Like you, I chose to use my own tissue (from my behind and hip area). Love, love, love the way they turned out. But what I wanted to tell you was that after all this time (2011), I still have a tightened feeling in my chest area. It's not too uncomfortable but it does feel like a tight band around my chest and it's coming from the inner muscle area. I notice it when I get cold, after a shower, changing clothes for bed. But I'm here, and happy to share my experience with anyone who wishes to listen. I wish you nothing but the best of luck my dear!

      over 3 years ago
    • MarnieC's Avatar

      I agree with ruthieq - massage is the way to go (I'm a massage therapist and BC survivor). If possible, find someone qualified to do this for you, but if you live in an area where there aren't any qualified massage therapists (or they feel uncomfortable massaging this area) do it yourself! The nerves are indeed trying to repair themselves and massage helps by breaking up scar tissue and adhesions. I hope this helps you!

      over 3 years ago

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