Burning and Aching in Armpit 2 Weeks After Breast Augmentation?

I had 320cc implants placed through the crease under the muscle about 2 weeks ago. Immediately after the surgery, I had pretty bad numbness and tingling down my right arm. I removed the strap over the breasts and that relieved some of the pressure in my armpit and the numbness at times is completely gone. However, it does return at times and I can't figure out why. I also have a hot burning sensation in the armpit. Is this just the nerve healing? Is this normal to experience at this point?

Doctor Answers 10

Burning and aching in armpit 2 weeks after breast augmentation?

Hello! Thank you for your question! Numbness after any surgical procedure is expected for several weeks to months following. As the nerves to the area are traumatized and will then experience a temporary neuropraxia, a transient loss of nerve conduction. This usually resolves over the next 6-12 weeks, but depending on the procedure performed, sometimes much longer. Typically this should resolve by 1 year. As it goes past this date, the likelihood of the sensation returning is small. However, it can take up to 2 years. If no return from there, it is unlikely to return. It should be discussed that persistent sensory changes may develop following any surgical procedure.

The usual signs of the nerves regenerating and neuropraxia resolving is itching, followed by a burning sensation and then occasional sharp, shock-like pains. These will be normal to experience, and actually a promising sign. Usually, normal sensation returns, but is is also possible to have decreased sensation or even increased sensation to the areas affected. Re-educating nerves postoperatively is often helpful and will allow proper instruction for the affected sensory nerves - methods include using different textures to the affected areas when showering, bathing, applying lotion, etc. If bothersome, there are some medications that may be helpful, including Neurontin for pain for hypersensitivity. You can try various textures such as washcloths, loofahs, cotton sheets, etc. Massaging the areas is also beneficial for the incision to make the finest scar possible. The last place to regain the sensation will be directly adjacent to the incision/scar as the nerves will make its way from the periphery to this location. If continual pain arises, evaluation is warranted. After ruling out other causes, one rare explanation may be that a neuroma has developed and may require surgical excision. This is very unlikely unless a large sensory nerve has been transected inadvertently during the procedure. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Burning and Aching in Armpit 2 Weeks After Breast Augmentation?

I'm assuming you had the trans-axillary approach (although I'm not 100% sure from what you're saying).  If so, it's common to have sensations like this.  If not, it's less common but it still occurs and, either way, there is probably not a lot you can do about it BUT it will typically resolve on its own.  The exact amount of time is unpredictable but it's usually not more than a few weeks.  You should speak with your PS to confirm this and to see if there is anything unusual or different about your case but that would be my general sense.

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. E

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews

Armpit Numbness

Armpit pain and numbness after trans-axillary augmentation is quite common. If it is transient and improves with time, it is likely to continue to improve.  Best wishes on your recovery. All the best!

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Armpit/Arm Numbness after Breast Augmentationj

Such nerve symptoms are not uncommon after a transaxillary breast augmentation procedure due to the stretching of the tissues. These should all return to normal in a few more weeks after surgery.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Numbness by armpit

Some numbness is common after a transaxillary procedure.  This usually gets better with time.  If it persists ask your doctor.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Funny tingling sensations after breast implants are pretty common


I wouldn't be too worried about having some funny sensations in the armpit and even down the arm just 2 weeks following breast implant surgery. Your plastic surgeon had to lift the muscle, which itself connects with the top part of your arm bone AND the pocket for the implant can sometimes need to extend close to the arm pit. There will be swelling and bruising, not to mention the healing of tiny nerves which are cut as part of the surgery.

I'm sure everything will settle down and you'll be fine. The strap you've been given for your upper chest is not something I use, but if it's causing discomfort, I would contact your plastic surgeon about stopping it.

Good luck with it all.

Damian Marucci, MBBS, PhD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Breast Implants Recovery / Pain and Bruising

Two weeks post-operative is very early in your recovery phase and swelling and bruising have usually not yet settled.  It is, therefore very common for women to experience the types of symptoms you are noticing.  Your Bra may be too tight at this stage and loosening or adjustment may be helpful.  It is important to restrict upper body exercise and activity for 6 to 8 weeks post-operatively to allow swelling and bruising to settle quickly.  You should find the symptoms will resolve over coming weeks but notify your surgeon if this is not the case.

Robert Drielsma, MBBS, BSc, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Burning and Aching in Armpit 2 Weeks After Breast Augmentation?

At two weeks it is still quite common to have abnormal sensations, and the patterns of these are unique to each individual patient.

Given the fact that the sensations are gone without the strap, I would discuss with your surgeon the pros and cons of continuing its use.

Thanks for your question. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Aches and Pains 2 weeks after Breast Augmentation

The aches, burning sensation, and even numbness can all occur during the early postop period follow the placement of breast implants. As your skin, breast tissue, and muscles stretch to accommodate the added volume of your implants, these symptoms usually improve. At 2 weeks following surgery, most augmentation patients will have occasional healing pains. It will improve in time. Thank you for sharing your question and concerns. Best wishes.

Gregory Park, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 164 reviews

Breast Augmentation, Burning/Aching

Your symptoms definitely sound nerve related.  The fact that you have those sensations but they go away also, is a good sign that they will stop all together at one point.  I often prescribe my patients Neurontin for nerve pain and this seems to help quite a bit.  Good luck as you heal!  K. Roxanne Grawe, MD Columbus Plastic Surgeon

K. Roxanne Grawe, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 137 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.