I am 9w PO from a mommy makeover w breast lift and aug under the muscle, I can still not raise my left arm overhead? (Photo)

when I try to lift my left arm it almost feels as if there is a tendon from the anchor scar to my ribs below my left breast.. This keeps me from being able to fully raise my left arm it feels as if that will rip away from my chest wall or rib cage. I'm not sure if this is just scar tissue that I need to massage and loosen up or if this is something I need to baby until I get into see the doctor? Has anyone seen something like this before?

Doctor Answers 5

Recovery and Activity Following a Mommy Makeover

A Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures to bring a woman’s body back to the way she looked prior to pregnancy. Most commonly some variation of a #TummyTuck and #BreastSurgery are performed. Additional procedures can include liposuction, umbilical hernia repair.  The most common #breastprocedures include #mastopexy or #breastlift, #breastaugmentation, or #breastreduction.    

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.
As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain. 
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.


Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Can't raise arms overhead following breast aug-lift.

Thank you for your description. 

Rarely, I have seen patients have some decreased range of motion in elevating the arms following sub muscular augmentation. In these cases, the arms could be elevated above the shoulder and were treated by the patient walking up the wall with their fingers until they felt discomfort, and then hold there for a minute several times a day.  This is similar to physical therapy.

It really sounds and appears in your photos (especially the third one showing under the breast) like your inframammary closure is tethered by scar to your underlying ribs. Your arm position in the picture is really low.  You need to see your plastic surgeon asap.  A release of scar may be needed followed by aggressive physical therapy. 

Mommy makeover

Thank you for your question and photos.  At nine months post-op, you are approaching the three month mark which is when I tell my patients that they should be almost, if not completely, healed.  The tightness that you are describing is something that should be assessed by your doctor in person who can determine what the underlying cause is and whether or not you will be needing a revision of any sort.  
All the best,

Dr. Results
Miami, FL

I am 9w PO from a mommy makeover w breast lift and aug under the muscle, I can still not raise my left arm overhead?

Best to follow up with your plastic surgeon, earlier than already schedule if necessary, for direct/specific advice. Generally, patients at your stage of recovery should have full range of motion; it is likely that you will benefit from range of motion exercises and/or more formal physical therapy.  Best to start this as soon as possible to avoid shoulder stiffness. Best wishes.

Raising arms

Dear Karen,
At 9 weeks after breast augmentation and lift surgery, usually patients have full range of motion in their arms.  There are two possibilities:  The tight tendon that you describe could be evidence of Mondor's disease which is superficial phlebitis of the veins under the breast that is tender and cord like.  You should consult with your doctor for treatment, which usually includes anti-inflammatory medication, heat application and time.
The second possibility is that you are stiff from several weeks of inactivity with your arms and shoulders.  Some physical therapy can improve this situation.
Regardless, the best policy is to go see your surgeon for evaluation and treatment of this problem as soon as possible.

Semira Bayati, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 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.