Rib pain and swelling, normal? Or blood clot? (Photo)

I am 8 days post op and yesterday I started to feel a soreness at the top of my ribs. It feels like I've been kicked in the rib, like a bruise but no sign of bruising. It's tender and a little swollen. My surgeon said this is normal. I'm worried it may be an infection or blood clot.

Doctor Answers 8

Concern about swelling and soreness over ribs

Thank you for your post and I appreciate your concern.  You absolutely did the right thing in bringing this to the attention of your surgeon as he/she best knows the specifics of your particular operation.  As far as your concerns about a clot or infection....  This does not look like an infection as I would expect an area of significant redness and heat and possibly even fevers.  If by blood clot you mean a collection of blood or a hematoma, then I would expect the area to be discolored (red or purplish).  What this more likely represents is a focal area of swelling possibly related to the tension that either the closure or the recently placed implants are putting on that area.  As with all breast augmentation surgeries, I would urge you to be as patient as you can as this may very well improve and completely resolve with time.  At 8 days postop, you are still very early in the recovery process.  Good luck!

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

This is most likely normal soreness as your body heals.

At eight days post-op, you’re likely still experiencing soreness and swelling related to the healing process. Of course, you should keep your surgeon posted if the pain and soreness don’t diminish over the next few days, but he or she is the best expert to consult. Continue following your surgeon’s post-operative instructions and advice to alleviate the pain, including applying ice packs and taking pain medications. You should start to feel some relief within the next several days with more improvement in coming weeks. Best of luck to you.

David L. Kaufman, MD
Folsom Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Rib pain and swelling, normal?

Thank you for your question and photo.  It is very common to have some discomfort at the rib area after breast augmentation surgery.  An infection usually presents with redness and tenderness and fever.  Keep in contact with your surgeon, 

David J. Wages, MD
Peabody Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews


Thank you for your question and photo. From your photo, this appears to be quite normal. Often times one side will have more swelling than the other as your breast will heal at different rates. Continue to follow up with your PS and inform them of your concerns during the recovery process. Best of luck, Dr. Kludt

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

Likely swelling.

Hello and thanks. This looks like normal postop swelling and I'm glad you've already checked with your PS. Congratulations and good luck! Best, Dr. Aldo

Aldo Guerra, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Bump under incision

 This looks like a normal post -op sequela that we not infrequently see. Could be a little bit of blood from the incision or just swelling from the tension of the closure. Either way should resolve without intervention. Good luck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Rib pain and swelling


Thank you for your question. This is a common location for tension and pain due to the sutures in place at the fold. You did the right thing in contacting your Plastic Surgeon as they are in the best position to advise you, but it does sound like you are describing part of the normal recovery process. Continue to follow up with your Plastic Surgeon.

All the best

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Rib Swelling

Its unlikely to be a blood clot or an infection.  Clots would leave the skin around it bruised, and an infection would be red at this point.  Continue following up with your surgeon. 

Christopher Khorsandi, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 238 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.