Electric-like Pain Under Arm After Breast Lift and Aug.

I am 17 days post op after a full tummy tuck with hernia and muscle repair, breast lift and augmentation. I have been having pains under my right arm for the past 5 days which are becoming more intense and more frequent. The pains is best described as an electrical shock sensation or like being stabbed with needles. It remainsfairly localized although it does radiate toward the breast and the nipple area at times. It seems worse when I take a deep breath or extend/elevate my arm.

Doctor Answers 6

Nerve regeneration

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It sounds like you're experiencing nerve regeneration, which is causing this feeling. It will eventually resolve itself as you recover from surgery

Do not be alarmed, your pain is quite normal at this point in your recovery.

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The pain you are experiencing both at rest and during activity is expected and is quite normal at this point in your recovery. Given there are no further considerations such as excessive swelling of your right breast as compared to the left then the pain will spontaneously resolve. However, there is no specific time table for your sort of post operative pain to abate. In general it takes on average 3 months for breasts to become completely comfortable following an augmentation operation.

David A. Ross, MD (retired)
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Shooting pains in breast after breast surgery

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It is not unusual to have electricity like shooting sensations in the breast and particularly in the nipple after breast surgery. This is caused by stretching of the nerves that gives sensation to the breast which come out throughout the ribs. As time passes, and swelling subsides, these electric like pains should subside and gradually go away completely.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Significant pains following extensive surgery - need to rule out pulmonary embolus

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You had quite extensive surgery which required multiple hours to perform. One of he major risks to consider given your symptoms and history would be a pulmonary embolism which is a serious problem. There are other much less serious causes of your symptoms including muscle pain and spasm, nerve injury and even a hematoma.

Given the possibility of a pulmonary embolus, you should contact your surgeon immediately. He/she may want to see you immediately and better assess the situation.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Electric-like Pain Under Arm After Breast Lift and Aug.

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As Dr Johnson says, GO SEE YOUR SURGEON! Best to be very safe and careful after the major surgeries you have had. Your armpit pain with radiation to the N?A could be stretching of the lateral pectoral nerve, muscle stretch rebound, small hematoma or a more severe issue like PE. 

Chest pain after tummy tuck and breast augmentation

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Of course without an examination and knowledge about specifics of your procedure we cannot know where your chest pain is coming from. Pains in the chest can be related to bruising of the muscle tissues during the breast augmentation. The scare of course is the chest pain or shortness of breathe, perhaps fatigue, related to a pulmonary embolism. Sorry about the upset but the fact is you should be seen to have the issue worked out.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 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.