Is it possible to get capsular contracture from sleeping with your arms above your head (lack of circulation)?

I have a habit of sleeping with my arms above my head and many times in the morning (even before my BA) they would feel sore or numb. I figured it was from lack of blood flow / circulation. I'm 3 weeks postop from my BA now and I've tried really hard to sleep with my arms down while on my back. Unfortunately, sometimes I still wake up with my arms feeling numb. I was wondering if this could in any way affect the overall healing of my surgery and maybe even cause capsular contraction?

Doctor Answers 8

Capsular Contracture


There isn't a connection between sleeping position or circulation and capsular contracture. Your Plastic Surgeon would have take precautions during surgery to lower your risk as much as possible, as well as instructing you about what to avoid as you heal. If you notice any concerning changes, let your Plastic Surgeon know.

All the best

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews


Hello, you habit of sleeping with your arms above your head should have no effect on whether or not you develop a capsular contracture and it should not effect your healing. Compression of your arm nerves and blood vessels with those positions could explain your numbness, if this numbness is new after surgery, I would mention it to your surgeon. Good Luck. 

Paul W. Papillion, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Does raising my arms when sleeping cause capsular contracture?

The simple answer is NO.

If you are getting numbness, you might have more of an issue with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or some other form of nerve compression.

I hope that puts your mind to ease.

Gregory A. Buford, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Capsular Contracture

Thank you for your question. The position of your arms when you sleep should have no affect on whether you form a capsule. Best, Dr. Kludt

Nathan Kludt, MD
Stockton Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


Capsule formation is not related to how you position your arms as you sleep. However, it may be more comfortable during your early healing phase to sleep with your arms down.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Sleeping with arms up

Hi, there are many causes for capsular contracture but sleeping with your arms above your head is not in the list. If your implants were under the muscle doing this might cause pain because of pectoralis mayor movement and even sleeping you would feel it so you shoul avoid it. 
Best wishes

Hector Milla, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Can Sleep Position Create Capsular Contracture?

No, it is very unlikely that sleeping with your arms above your head would cause capsular contracture, since it is not caused by lack of circulation. While it may create the numb sensations in your arms that you've experienced, it should not affect your healing or outcome of your breast augmentation.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Capsular contracture after a BA

Simple answer is probably not.  your arm falls asleep because you compress the nerves in your axilla/shoulder.  this is normal for most if not all humans. same if you sleep on your side without any axillary support.  
you may slow down some of the swelling recovery and muscle relaxation by keeping your arms up though.  but it will eventually settle out. 

Hope that helps and best wishes on a quick recovery!
Dr. Morales
ABPS Board Certified
Houston, Tx

Rolando Morales Jr, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 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.