Sharp Twitching, Burning Feelings Normal After Breast Augmentation?

I had Breast implants from an A-cup to a D-cup. Overall, the pain is just uncomfortable. At times,I get real sharp twitches and a burning sensation, and if I breathe in deep, it gets quite painful, is this normal?

Doctor Answers 10

Sharp twitching after breast augmentation

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Placing a breast implant either under or over the muscle may frequently result in intermittent burning, sharp, episodic sensations, starting from the rib cage and radiating towards the nipple. Our staff have christened these sensations "zingers".

The actual mechanism is stretch on the sensory nerves, which originate from the spinal cord and wrap around the chest to innervate the breast skin and nipple. While very alarming to patients, this is actually a positive sign that the sensory nerves have not been cut or damaged but merely stretched.

A nerve will try to reconnect with the area it normally supplied by emitting abnormal impulses or electric shocks. The good news is that these will resolve, without treatment, usually within 3-6 months after your op. I usually recommend that my patients gently massage, to distract your perception.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Sharp pain after breast augmentation

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Thank you for the question.  It is normal to experience sharp pain after the surgery.  Your body is still in the healing process.  It could take around 8-12 weeks for the wounds to fully heal and for the implants to settle so I wouldn't be so worried about it.  The pain should get better over time.  In the case that it doesn't, it would be best to visit your surgeon and have an evaluation.  Best of luck. Dr. Michael Omidi

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Discomfort Post Breast Augmentation

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I would encourage you to schedule a visit with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to determine the exact source of your discomfort. 

Suzanne M. Quardt, MD
Palm Springs Plastic Surgeon

Abnormal Breast Sensations

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Breast augmentation is often accompanied by pain, swelling and abnormal breast sensation. These are essentially normal findings which usually resolve on their own.

The burning sensation that you describe is known as a dysesthesia. It's very similar to what happens when your leg falls asleep. This phenomena occurs when nerves are stretched or compressed. During and after breast augmentation surgery, this is exactly what happens to the nerves that supply the breasts. The breast implant underneath the breast tissue compresses and stretches the nerves that supply the skin. In many cases, this process is made worse by swelling.

Patients typically describe a painful, tingling, burning sensation that can be very uncomfortable. In many cases, clothing rubbing against the area can elicit a pins and needles sensation. These symptoms usually resolve in 6 to 8 weeks without intervention. In some cases, aggressive massage can desensitize the area and minimize the pain and discomfort associated with this condition.

Sharp twitching, burning feelings normal after breast augmentation?

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Hello! Thank you for your question! Your symptoms sound like your nerves regenerating. Breast procedures such as the breast augmentation and breast lift/reduction certainly result in a more shapely, perky, and fuller appearance of your breasts. With any breast procedure there is a risk, albeit very small, of change in sensation to the area. The reported rate of sensation changes (decreased, loss, or increased) is ~7% for lift/reductions and much smaller for breast augmentation. In my experience, this rate is reportedly much lower, but is higher when tissue is excised or the amount of lift that is needed, so the breast reduction procedure has a slightly greater risk. It can take up to a year for full sensation to return. Re-educating your nerves to these areas by using different textures when showering and putting on lotion often helps.

It is one risk of such a procedure, and one that you must consider, amongst others, as with any surgical procedure. You should consult with a plastic surgeon well-trained in breast procedures who will examine and discuss with you the various risks and benefits of the procedure(s) and assist you in deciding if such a procedure will be the right decision for you.

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Sharp Twitching/Burning.

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Dear Charli,
Thank you for your post. In general, most women who have a disturbance in nipple sensation, whether it be less (hypo-sensation), or in some cases too much (hyper-sensation), the sensation goes back to normal with 3-6 months. Occasionally, it can take 1 - 2 years to be normal. Extremely rare, the sensation never goes back to normal. This is extremely rare in augmentation alone, more common in lift or reduction but less with a smaller lift like a crescent lift. Signs that sensation is coming back are needle type sensation at the nipple, itchiness at the nipple, or 'zingers' to the nipple. The number of women that lose sensation is much lower than 10%, closer to 1% in a simple augmentation. In some cases the same occurs with contraction where some women have no contraction and some women have a constant contraction of the nipples. Unfortunately there is no surgical correction for this. Massaging the area can help sensation normalize faster if it is going to normalize, but will not help if the nerve does not recover. In women with hyper-sensitive nipples, this will go away with time in most cases. Usually 3 months or so. In the interim, I have them wear nipple covers or 'pasties' to protect them from rubbing. It is unlikely that down-sizing the implant will cause regaining sensation. Down-sizing the implant may cause saggy breasts, however, and may necessitate a breast lift. Physical therapy with de-sensitivity techniques can help with this issue.
Best Wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Twitching and burning sensations can be normal after Breast Augmentation

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Your body takes time to adjust to the implants and your muscles can spasm somewhat. This is probably what is going on. It gets better with time. I would make sure you follow-up with your surgeon as these things work themselves out. He or she may also have some suggestions to make the adjustment more smooth for you.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Sharp pain with breathing following breast augmentation or enlargement with implants

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Any time you have a sharp pain with breathing you should contact your physician to make sure there are no serious causes for the pain. In most instances this is due to nerve irritation and stretching from the procedure which will improve with time. However, there are more serious causes which need to be evaluated by your surgeon.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Pains after BA

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Burning, tingling and zapping pain that comes and goes is usually caused by the nerves. The nerves in the area may have been affected by surgery, and they need to recover from the experience like the rest of your body. These sensations should go away in a few months. 

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Probably nerve regeneration

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Generally this is the result of nerve regeneration, and will often subside over time. Tingling is a good sign and it most likely means that sensation is returning. Changes in sensation are normally temporary and resolve in the weeks or months following surgery. It is very rare that permanent changes occur.  

I recommend you see your surgeon, however, if you are very concerned. Best of luck.

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.