Post Breast Augmentation sharp stabbing pain under right armpit that radiates. Why could that be? (photo)

I'm 5 days post OP sub muscular breast augmentation. The past 4 days I've been having intermittent sharp pains under my right armpit (serratus anterior?) which radiates along the lateral side of my right breast. The pain comes on when I move, but with no movements in particular. The sharp pain usually lasts for several mins and isnt really alleviated by anything. When I palpate the area, the pain's reproducible, but not as severe. It hasnt improved over the past 4 days. What could be the cause?

Doctor Answers 8

Intermittent pain 5 days after breast augmentation is common and usually not worrisome.

What you are describing is likely muscle spasm rather than sensory nerve pain, but either or both could be part of your discomfort. The fact that it is only on one side is understandably concerning, but swelling, stretching, nerve irritation, even right-handedness (or hand use more on one side) can all be factors in why you notice this on predominantly one side.

Healing is never as fast as patients (and doctors) wish, but we have become used to it over years and many patients, but individually, pretty much everybody is impatient! Swelling reaches its peak 3-5 days after surgery, so things should start getting better over the next days and weeks, reaching "final" improvement only at 6-12 months.

Take your prescribed muscle relaxants as your doctor recommends, and refill them if needed. Don't immobilize your arm movements to try to reduce these symptoms, but keep gentle movement going on and this will resolve on its own. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen


Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 239 reviews

Sientra Breast Augmentation and Post Operative Pain

From what you are describing, it sounds like you are having very common nerve pain.  It may also be muscle pain.  Either way, gentle massage of this area for 5 to 10 minutes 3 to 4 times a day, will desensitize the area and make it feel much better.  This kind of pain will undoubtedly settle with time but the massage helps it go away faster.I hope that helps.Best regards.

Brian Windle, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Radiating pain after breast augmentation

  • What you are describing is a very common postoperative sensation. It could be of muscle origin, but most likely it is a nerve that has been injured by stretch and is in the process of healing. This will almost certainly subside, whether it takes three weeks or even six months.

Ira H. Rex lll, MD
Fall River Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Post Breast Augmentation sharp stabbing pain under right armpit that radiates. Why could that be?

What you experiencing is very normal with submuscular placement at this point. Warm moist heat and muscle relaxants will help.It will get better but it takes a little time is all. Hang in there.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Arm pit pain after augmentation

This is not an unusual occurrence at this stage.  As scar tissue is forming and the nerves and muscle are recovering from being stretched to make room for the implant you may feel sharp or even burning sensations.  These usually resolve with time, but even months from now you be doing something and get a sharp pain.  These will usually decrease in frequency, duration and intensity as you get farther away from surgery.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Is Sharp Stabbing Pain after Breast Augmentation Normal?

Five days after a breast augmentation, the nerves are being stretched as they have to reach around the implants. The result is a sensation of electric shocks, a red-hot poker, or sharp pain. 

Speak with your surgeon about your symptoms so he/she can give advice specific to your needs. In my practice, my patients often find great relief from placing ice packs wrapped in cloth over the sides of the breasts to numb the nerves.  

The pain typically subsided after the nerves have adjusted, usually after a couple to several weeks.

Click on the link below to see a breast augmentation case after complete healing.

Good luck!

Heather J. Furnas, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Sharp pain after breast augmentation

Congratulations on completing your breast augmentation! Sharp pains, stabbing pains, burning pains are all common in the first 2 weeks after breast augmentation. Most of the time all of these subside.  Your own plastic surgeon can help you through this process and may have advice on whether to use/not use a bra, activity, anti-inflammatories (wait until you are cleared to take them) etc. So call your surgeon and ask for advice. Best of luck in recovery.

Below is general information on breast augmentation.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Post Breast Augmentation sharp stabbing pain under right armpit that radiates. Why could that be?

Congratulations on having undergone the breast augmentation procedure. Given that you are only 5 days out of your breasts surgery, what you are describing sounds within normal at this stage. You will find that this discomfort will gradually dissipate on a daily basis. Your plastic surgeon will always be your best resource when it comes to accurate assessment, recommendations, and (probable) reassurance. Best wishes for outcome that you will be pleased with longer-term.

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.