Could I have moved something from my DIEP flap surgery 10 years ago that is causing this pain?

I had a DIEP flap 10 years ago and while scrubbing my tub I felt this pain and pop in upper rib area underneath my reconstructed breast. My pain still is there and I am having trouble getting comfortable. Could I have moved something that is causing this pain?

Doctor Answers 5

DIEP flap Reconstruction

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It is best to be seen and examined.  It is more common to have musculoskeletal problem than an issue with the flap.

Possible sternum contusions

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The common practice for DIEP flap is to remove part of the rib to expose the blood vessels for microsurgical anastomoses. You may have pulled the chest muscles attached to ribs. Please see your surgeon o make sure that everything ok. 

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Rib pain after DIEP

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I think you should go get evaluated, and likely get a chest Xray to check your rib alignment.  I imagine this would get better on its own, but when we do these surgeries, there is typically a small amount of rib resected near the sternum to expose the blood vessels we need to hook into.  So, it's not inconceivable something could have popped or strained.

Cain R. Linville, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Breast reconstruction and new pain

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If you have new onset pain even ten years out from surgery, then you are probably best to see your surgeon to be evaluated. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews


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You could have pulled a muscle or the pop was from scar tissue.  It would be best to have your doctor examine you.

Anh Lee, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 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.