Pain and Numbness in Arm After Anchor Lift w/ Augmentation

I had an anchor lift w/ augmentation on 3/18/11. Within about a week and half I started getting pain in my left armpit that went down my entire arm. I am still getting this pain and the left breast is more swollen than the right. I have also been spitting stitches in the left breast worst than the right. My dr said it was just the nerves but why would it not have resolved by now? The left breast seems more firm than the right also. What could be causing this? Too soon for CC right? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 4

Pain and numbness after anchor lift and augmentation may be a sign of hematoma.

At one month post-op, your breast nerves are indeed beginning to heal and recover their ability to send (painful) sensory impulses. This also occurs as swelling decreases, and stretched nerves return to their normal state.

The fact that your left breast lift is "spitting stitches" may account for some of your swelling, but maybe you have a (small-moderate sized) hematoma in your breast pocket. Left undrained, this layer of blood around your implant could indeed lead to capsular contracture as the blood is reabsorbed and replaced with a thicker, less-pliable, and more likely to contract scar capsule. Maybe your stitch-spitting incisions could develop infection that may travel to your implant, necessitating removal to eradicate infection around the implant. Without seeing you, it's impossible to tell just what might be going on.

Lots of "maybes" here, which is why you should make an appointment to see your surgeon now, rather than at your "regularly-scheduled" follow-up visit. Your surgeon needs to evaluate how you are doing, or you may end up with a capsular contracture, delayed healing in your suture lines, or worse. Please see your surgeon now (not just one of his staff)! Best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Complication after Breast Augmentation/Lifting?

Thank you for the question.

Your description of increased swelling, suture separation and increased pain and numbness left breast/left arm are concerning. I would  suggest that you follow your plastic surgeon earlier than scheduled to rule out a complication such as seroma/hematoma of the left breast.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 reviews

Arm numbness after "anchor" breast lift surgery

Arm numbness after "anchor" or Wise pattern breast lift surgery can sometimes also be attributed to a small nerve that exits the ribs through the outside of the breast tissue and supplies the armpit and inner arm with sensation.  This nerve, called the intercostobrachial nerve, can be damaged during this procedure and will cause pain, numbness, tingling senstations as you describe.  Usually this nerve is only temporarily injured due to stretch or nearby cautery during surgery and will often return to normal or near normal.  This can take up to 12 weeks for return of normal nerve function.  However, if the nerve is cut (which sometimes happens as the nerve is very small and not usually seen during surgery) the full sensation may never return.  Talk to your PS about this and understand that this can happen and should get better over time.  Hematoma, Seroma, low grade inflammation, and capsular contracture are all possibilities too as indicated by the comments of the other PS, but you should be seen and followed closely by the surgeon who operated on you.  Good luck and I hope that this improves soon.

Erez Sternberg, MD
Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Pain and Numbness in Arm After Anchor Lift w/ Augmentation

In full agreement with Dr. Tholen post. Until unproven your history indicates a hematoma of the left breast. Please seek medical care. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 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.