Is This Sharp Pain Near my Right Breast Close to my Armpit Normal?

I am 2 days post op and still find it very difficult to move. I have this excruciating pain near my right breast close to my armpit every time I try to move my arms away from my waist. Right now the most comfortable way for me is to have both arms close to my sides. I thought that brushing my teeth would be okay, but I couldn't even raise my arms. When I get on my feet, the pressure just really hurts my upper body and all I want to do is lay down. I had 360 cc saline, under the muscle,undercreas

Doctor Answers 8

Sharp Pain Post Breast Augmentation

Thank you for your question. I am sorry to hear you are experiencing discomfort. I have included some typical expectations of breast surgery recovery and signs to watch for following breast augmentation:

  • Stiffness, swelling and bruising in the chest region: These are normal experiences as the skin, muscles and tissue heal. Pain medication and muscle relaxants will help you cope with any discomfort. Consistent sharp pain should be reported to your board-certified surgeon.
  • Hypersensitivity of nipples or lack of sensitivity: This is normal and will gradually resolve over time.
  • A mild to severe itchy feeling of the breasts is possible as healing progresses. An antihistamine like Benadryl can help to alleviate severe, constant itchiness. If the skin becomes red and hot to the touch, contact your board-certified surgeon immediately.
  • Asymmetry, the breasts look different, or heal differently: Breasts may look or feel quite different from one another in the days following surgery. This is normal. No two breasts in nature or following surgery are perfectly symmetrical.
  • Discuss returning to work with your board-certified surgeon, in our office it is typically 3-5 days post-surgery but you may not overexert yourself or do any heavy lifting.
  • You may resume exercise and your normal routine at six weeks unless your surgeon advises otherwise.
The pain you are describing could be nerve regeneration. It is very important to keep an open line of communication with your board-certified plastic surgeon regarding your pain and recovery.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Is This Sharp Pain Near my Right Breast Close to my Armpit Normal?

Please call and see your chosen operative surgeon just to be safe. It is most likely normal post op pain but to be sure best to be checked. 

Sharp pain 2 days post-op breast augmentation may indicate a potential problem.

Pain in and of itself is anticipated for the first few days after breast augmentation, and can range from mild to severe in different patients. Most surgeons will tell you that submuscular implants also are more painful, and they would be telling the truth, although with very careful and meticulous technique, use of anti-inflammatory medications before, during, and after surgery, prescribing muscle relaxants after surgery, and placing a long-acting local anesthetic in the pocket prior to the end of surgery can yield post-op pain that is a 2-3 on a 10-scale in a surprising majority of patients undergoing even submuscular implant placement. This is not an advertisement or boast of "special talent or technique" but simply an observation compared to some surgeons who still use blunt dissection, accept significant bruising and bleeding as "normal," and even routinely use drains or compression wraps to try to minimize these preventable occurrences that are "accepted" as routine parts of their breast enlargement operations. For these surgeons and their patients, severe pain can in fact be the norm, whereas for the meticulous, no-bleeding or bruising surgeon's patients, this type of pain may be unusual and indicate a concern. (Let's assume your surgeon is the latter kind.)

That concern, or at least the most common one amenable to re-operation, is a breast hematoma, or a collection of blood in the breast pocket causing significant pain, swelling, and perhaps numbness in the upper inner arm (from pressure or traction on the intercostobrachial nerve in the armpit area.) The swelling is easily evident, as the hematoma side is usually about double the size of the non-hematoma side, the skin is shiny, and the pain is usually significant. Re-operation to evacuate the hematoma, control the bleeding vessel, and re-close the incision is needed. This of course, costs "extra" in every hospital or outpatient surgicenter, so surgeons are understandably reluctant to have to break that news to their patient. But necessary news it is. In our accredited office surgical facility, we do not charge for re-operation for bleeding, so we are not hesitant to do so if it is needed or will benefit our patient's result (or reduces the risk of capsular contracture).

So, look at your breasts. If the side that hurts (your right side) is nearly double the size of your left breast, then you need to see your doctor promptly, before the blood increases your potential for developing a capsular contracture. Ace bandages and ice bags do not relieve hematomas, nor does all of the blood reabsorb on its own--this is NOT a black eye type of situation; re-operation is necessary. Not a 911 call, but urgently, when your stomach is empty for a safe anesthetic.

If there is no asymmetric swelling, this may well be only tissue and/or nerve irritation, inflammation, and "normal" post-op pain. Let's hope for the latter and a prompt relief of your symptoms. If there is any doubt, see your surgeon as soon as possible, not at your next regularly-scheduled appointment. Good luck and best wishes!


Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 196 reviews

Sharp pain after breast augmentation

A sharp pain two days after a breast augmentation can be normal. but if you are concerned, I would suggest contacting your surgeon ot be evaluated.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Breast augmentation

Too early to tell at this time.  Since the implant was placed under the muscle the pain that you describe is not abnormal.  If you are still concerned, see your plastic surgeon.

Shahin Javaheri, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Sharp pains can be normal two days after breast augmentation

We expect muscular tenderness to be a bother for two to three days after breast augmentation. Keeping still in a snug bra and band, with ice on the upper breast can help. If moving your arms overhead cause pain on one or both sides back off and rest longer. Your surgeon should see you on or about day three and check for anything unusual so write your questions down and arrange an appointment.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Is a sharp pain near the armpit normal two days after a breast augmentation?

Two days after surgery it is normal to have pain you just have to make sure that both breasts are equal in size and shape and there is no hematoma. The best thing to do is to have your surgeon examin you.

Breast Augmentation

Due to the work under your muscle, you will have pain along the length of the muscle, including the armpit area.  If you have a lot of swelling and bruising which gets worse, you should be seen by your doctor.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.