Sharp Pains in Breasts when Laying Down

Hi I had a breast lift and augmentation a week ago, with 300 cc silicone implants under the muscle. My breasts feel heavy and generally sore which is to be expected. When I lay down on my back, even with pillows, I get very sharp, burning pains at the very top of each breast, which make it unbearable to lay down. Is this normal, what would be causing it, and will it improve. I am taking pain killers, but it doesn't seem to help.

Doctor Answers 13

Pain following breast augmentation. Is it normal ?

Hello and thank you for the question.

The pains you are describing fall within the normal and expected pattern in the early post-operative course. Given their bilateral nature, I would not be too concerned. You may be experiencing muscle spasms, which can be lessened with the use of muscle relaxants. If the pains should worsen over time or become intolerable, I would confer with your plastic surgeon for an evaluation.


Glenn Vallecillos, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Pain After Breast Augmentation

Thank you for your question. 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 may be nerve regeneration. Please follow up with your board-certified plastic surgeon with any concerns or questions about pain and recovery. Wishing you all the best.

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Sharp burning type pain following a breast augmentation

  What happens is the lateral intercostal nerves, those that come up between the ribs, were stretched by your activity and the implant.  The result is a shooting, stabbing type pain.  At times this pain can feel like a deep burn or an ache.  Gentle massage along the lateral edge of the breast usually helps.  This pain is not usually indicative of any problem with the implant or  your result and will get better over time.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast implants may shift upward when lying down

Pain at the top of the breast when lying down may be from upward movement of the implants when you lie down. An elastic breast band ( or worn at the top of the breast when you sleep can provide counterpressure. Of course, check with your physician if the pain persists.

Steven Goldman, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Pain after Breast Augmentation

The pain you describe is muscle spasm. This is normal after breast augmentation. It may be diminished with oral Valium tablets at night. I would visit with my plastic surgeon and let him/her examine you.

Good Luck,

Leo Lapuerta Jr., MD FACS

Triple Board Certified Plastic Surgery

Leo Lapuerta, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Recovering nerves after breast augmentation.

Most likely the sharp pains you are experiencing are due to recovering nerves (dysesthesias) and descent of the implant in the breast pocket.   Make sure you discuss this at your next post op appointment and if the pain is unbearable, call your surgeon's office. 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews


The symptoms you are experiencing most likely are perfectly normal.  Muscle tightness or spasm may be the cause of these symptoms.  On occasion a muscle relaxant may help you symptoms.  Confer with your plastic surgeon about your concerns.

Todd B. Koch, MD
Buffalo Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Postoperative pain

What you are describing sounds pretty normal after only a few days after your surgery.   Please contact your plastic surgeon for an evaluation.   Don't worry, your pain and soreness will likely get better over the next several days to weeks.

Pain after Breast Augmentation

It is normal to have sharp pain after breast augmentation.  Your surgery was only 1 week ago.  Usually, patients have "tight" pain/discomfort for 3-5 days after breast augmentation; and it will diminish soon afterwards.  However, some patients can experience occasional, sharp pain weeks or months after breast augmentation due to nerve pain. 

Pain in breasts early post-op

It is fairly common to have some pain at one week after surgery, and also to have weird sensations the first few weeks.  If concerned contact your doctor.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 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.