Tendon Under Armpit is Tight After Breast Implants

I am 39, 5'6, 125. I had silicone smooth overs done through the armpit. my left has dropped and is healing nicely. My right was more difficult to put in, more bruising after still has not dropped. When I try and lift my right arm I can see my tendon stick out. It is sore from my armpit to about 5 inches up my arm. It also looks like atrophy has started on that arm. Could my PS have cut into a tendon? I am right handed.

Doctor Answers 5

Armpit Cord after Breast Augmentation will get better

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It is not unusual to develop a tight tender cord across the armpit after axillary breast augmentation. It's not a damaged tendon. 

This will get better as you continue to heal, but I do recommend some stretching and massage to speed up the resolution:

  • Stand next to a wall
  • extend your arm as high above you as you can; if it helps, "walk your finger up the wall for a better stretch
  • lean toward the wall to further stretch your arm 
  • at the same time, use your opposite hand to massage the tight cord
  • continue to lean a bit more into the wall

Do this for 2 or 3 minutes, at least 4 or 5 times each day, more often, if possible.

Be patient: it will take several weeks to get the cord resolved!

Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

Chords In My Armpit After Transaxillary Breast Augmentation

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The chord in your armpit is a clotted lymphatic duct.  It is not a vein nor is it a tendon.  I have done several thousand transaxillary breast augmentations and see this problem about 80% of the time.  I agree with many of the previous responders.  Ibuprofen, stretching, and time will make these clotted, redundant, unnecessary lymphatic ducts vanish.

Don't worry.  This is very common and it will go away.

Tendon Under Armpit is Tight After Breast Implants

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Dear 1234Me,

What you are describing is a Mondor's cord- otherwise described as a sclerosing thrombophlebitis of the subcutaneous veins of the anterior chest wall- it sounds far more worrisome than it typically is.

It has about a 1% incidence after breast augmentation, and is typically self-limiting.

I recommend to my patients it is best treated with anti-inflammatory meds (such as Ibuprofen). It usually goes away after a few weeks.

I hope this helps,

Sergio Pasquale Maggi, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Axillary implant insertion

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The cord you are seeing may be a vein  that more than likley will resolve on its own. Massage may help and anti-inflammatories. You should  be seen by your surgeon ot advise you.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tendon Under Armpit is Tight After Breast Implants

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This appears to be more of a thrombosed vein than a transected muscle. Massage and exercise should help.

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