• Tightness after Mastectomy with reconstruction

    Asked by JudithCST on Sunday, March 6, 2016

    Tightness after Mastectomy with reconstruction

    I had bilateral mastectomies with latissimus flap reconstruction four years ago. Following the surgeries I had various complications... seromas that would not go away, as well as several serious infections: pasteurella,C-Diff enterococcus and even herpes. I was experiencing a lot of tightness, not just in the breast area, but around the sides and back as well. It felt like I was wearing a bra that was four sizes too small. The doctors said it would ease up in about a year. Now, four years later, I am still experiencing tightness to the point where it's sometimes difficult to breathe and it seems to be getting worse. In fact, I had such severe shortness of breath last night that I went to the ER thinking that I was having a heart attack. But they couldn't find any pathology and said it's probably because I have so much scar tissue. Has anyone else experienced this?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • savingrace's Avatar

      I've never experienced that but if your still having that problem, it may be a good idea to go back to your doctor and explain everything and get a thorough checkup.

      about 5 years ago
    • Mary1313's Avatar

      I experience tightness like the too-tight bra feeling you describe. I haven't had the complications you've had, but I hear this is, for the most part, normal. I had some cording (scarring) and underwent about 8 weeks of physical therapy for it and that helped my flexibility in my arm. I go to a Jazzercise class 4 times a week to keep up my strength and I know that's helped in stretching out my chest tightness too. Have you tried anything along those lines to stretch out and loosen the scar tissue? A good therapeutic massage person might help too. Good luck.

      about 5 years ago
    • Lanage's Avatar

      I had the same procedures and also experienced tightness, though not to that extreme. I suggest you go back to your plastic surgeon and mention it. Mine referred me to physical therapy. I ended up having three different 12-week sessions, but the tightness subsided for the most part. I still experience tightness after exercising my chest muscles, but it's manageable. I also have lymphedema. That may be a factor for you as well. I hope you're able to get some relief soon. Blessings to you.

      about 5 years ago
    • mwfd's Avatar

      I had a lumpectomy with cording. My surgeon told me the pain would last 6 months to a year. After several months of occupational therapy, the cording was resolved, but I still had pain. I would ask the Dr. about the pain every follow-up appointment. At the two year mark, when I asked him what was causing the pain and how much longer it would last, he shrugged his shoulders and said "I don't know." To make a long story short, I found another surgeon who took my concerns seriously. My suggestion JudithCST, after four years after extreme tightness, enough is enough, please get a second opinion.

      about 5 years ago
    • TArt's Avatar

      I also have experienced this after latt flap surgery in 2012. Twisting to get my purse off the floor of my car in the back seat sends me through roof. I do deep breathing until the extreme pain subsides. Most uncomfortable on side where radiated, probably scar tissue. No help, just not alone.

      about 5 years ago
    • Charnellf's Avatar

      I have problems with tightness. It always feels like someone is sitting on my chest.

      about 5 years ago
    • gardengal52's Avatar

      I had bilateral mastectomies with chemo before surgery and radiation after in 2008. I have not had reconstruction. I have had tightening and pulling all these years. It feels exactly like a band tied too tight in the surgical area. I also have severe pain when I twist to the left (as when picking up an object) that takes my breath away. I have went to the Dr for these problems. No help. Pain Management clinic treated me like a drug addict because I asked for lidocaine patches. Long story short I am sorry to report that the pain is something I live with. I try not to dwell on it or reach with my left arm for anything. I do take sleeve. My Oncologists have been no help.

      about 5 years ago
    • Charnellf's Avatar

      I have had two nerve blocks because I had shooting stabbing pains. They helped quite a bit.

      about 5 years ago
    • Donnabakins' Avatar

      It seems as if every time I comment on this procedure the comment disappears. It will be interesting to see if this one does. I am four years post op fro xx mastectomies and lay dorsi reconstruction. I take narcotics every day for pain. I've ended up with three herniated discs in my back.

      I too have developed chest pain. I get out of breath easily and have severe chest pain. My cardio work up was good. Something infection or inflammatory is now in my lungs. They don't know what. If I could undo this reconstruction I would.

      about 5 years ago

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