surgery

Breast and rib pain 1 1/2 yrs after?

nomorebc Community Member May 25, 2007
  • It's been about 1 1/2 yrs since my bilateral implant reconstruction.  My particular cancer did not require chemo or radiation, just aromatase inhibitor treatment and regular follow-up.  Due to prior implant surgery (before breast cancer), the inframammary fold incision was used to remove implants, open biopsy (before mastectomies) and later also for implants after expanders.  What I always thought was just incisional pain that would go away turned out to get worse over time to where all bras are almost intolerable because they contact the sore area. The surgeons feel it is more the rib area right below these incisions.   Also, recently, I have had itching and shooting (brief) pain over both breasts (implants). I have been extensively worked up for recurrence due to this and fortunately all was negative.  However, this pain persists and the surgeons seem baffled!  Has anyone else had a similar experience and what was the outcome?  Thanks!
28 Comments
  • Anonymous
    tlea
    Oct. 28, 2013

    I am 21 and have noticed the right side of my rib cage (breast area) is a little more tender along the bone with once in awhile pains from them. Just wondering if anyone had any ideas could really help with me freaking bout it..

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Oct. 28, 2013

      There are a number of reasons you might be having rib pain; thankfully, at your age, breast cancer would be an extremely remote possibility. Costochondritis, an inflammation of cartilage in your rib cage, is a common cause. If this pain comes and goes in synch with your menstrual cycle, then it could also be hormonal in nature. 

       

      If the pain gets...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      There are a number of reasons you might be having rib pain; thankfully, at your age, breast cancer would be an extremely remote possibility. Costochondritis, an inflammation of cartilage in your rib cage, is a common cause. If this pain comes and goes in synch with your menstrual cycle, then it could also be hormonal in nature. 

       

      If the pain gets worse, or becomes constant, I'd suggest you see a doctor, simply to get it diagnosed and get some relief. But please don't stress about breast cancer; what you describe isn't a typical symptom. Take care - PJH

    • Anonymous
      tlea
      Oct. 28, 2013

      Awesome thank you. I've had the right side of my chests rib cage inflamed for bout 5 years the longest I could remember finding them this way but glad to know its nothing to be seriously aware of but eill get it checked out. Thanks again.

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Oct. 29, 2013

      Always good to get your doctor's opinion - just to be safe. I'm sorry you're having to go through this - wish you could get some relief...Frown PJH

    • Jules
      Dec. 29, 2013

      I am a 14 year BC  survivor and very active in a BC support group and Relay for Life. As the previous reply noted you are very young for BC but not impossible. Instead of worrying go to your doctor for a check-up. Find out your family history and ask a lot of questions. Could be a minor inflammation, but you need to trust your doctor and get ALL your questions...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      I am a 14 year BC  survivor and very active in a BC support group and Relay for Life. As the previous reply noted you are very young for BC but not impossible. Instead of worrying go to your doctor for a check-up. Find out your family history and ask a lot of questions. Could be a minor inflammation, but you need to trust your doctor and get ALL your questions answered to your satisfaction. Be pro-active with your health it will help you rest better.

  • Barbie
    Aug. 22, 2013
    Hello I need to know a few things, I hope I can get some help,, I've read your posts. Bless you all .sending healing hugs to you all <3. I have an appt with another surgeon in a few weeks thank you and bless you all xo
    • Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      Aug. 23, 2013
      Barbie, thank you for the healing hugs! Do you have any questions we can help you with while you wait to see the surgeon?
  • Anonymous
    Robin
    Jul. 26, 2007

    I had a mastectomy with tissue expander of my left breast in January 2007 then a prophylactic mastectomy with tissue expander of my right breast in May 2007. The past several months (still have expanders in), I have experienced some itching and pinching pain at the outer periphery of the mastectomies (i.e., area where the nerves were cut during tissue removal)....

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I had a mastectomy with tissue expander of my left breast in January 2007 then a prophylactic mastectomy with tissue expander of my right breast in May 2007. The past several months (still have expanders in), I have experienced some itching and pinching pain at the outer periphery of the mastectomies (i.e., area where the nerves were cut during tissue removal). From my research, this is simply some of the nerves trying to regenerate. While it won't get to far, some minimal nerve regeneration is to be expected, causing this pain.  Also, where the nerves have been cut and/or are regenerating will always (as I have read) be extra/ultra senstive to touch. It might not explain the pain that you speak about, but just a possibility to consider for some types of pain.

    • nomorebc
      Jul. 26, 2007

      Thanks, Robin.  Good luck, too!  Are you having any other treatment?

      Jayne 

    • Anonymous
      Robin
      Jul. 27, 2007

      Hi Jayne.  *Thankfully* I did not have to do chemo or radiation.  I started tamoxifen a month and a half ago.

       

      At the moment, I need to decide between saline or silicone implants--tougher decision since doing more research on them!  Although it's not currently an option for me, form-stable ("more cohesive" silicone gel than...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Jayne.  *Thankfully* I did not have to do chemo or radiation.  I started tamoxifen a month and a half ago.

       

      At the moment, I need to decide between saline or silicone implants--tougher decision since doing more research on them!  Although it's not currently an option for me, form-stable ("more cohesive" silicone gel than standard silicone) implants seem great on many levels (some disadvantages vs. saline or standard silicone, but minor in my opinion compared to the fact that they basically don't leak!) and have been used in Europe for over 20 years, but have only *very* recently been approved (and only Mentor's implant at the moment) in the US.

    • Batsheva
      Sep. 06, 2011

      Thank you, Phillis,

       

      I have an appointment with the surgeon, who was talking about nerve blocking injections, which I suppose I will have to repeat each month ( or not?). I don't really know that this condition will be a life time companion for me or not, that is why I came here to see if some of the BC dx ladies with similar pain were free of pain, since...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Thank you, Phillis,

       

      I have an appointment with the surgeon, who was talking about nerve blocking injections, which I suppose I will have to repeat each month ( or not?). I don't really know that this condition will be a life time companion for me or not, that is why I came here to see if some of the BC dx ladies with similar pain were free of pain, since 2007.

      Pain clinics are my last hopes.

       

       I will keep you informed  Phillis!

       

      have a sunny day!

       

  • csurvivor06
    Jul. 11, 2007
         I have had my implants in for 10 months now and i have a lot of pain in the breasts.  Particularly on the top and sides of the breasts.  Sometimes i feel like there are bolders on my chest.  My doctors are trying to figure out what is going on.  I have had an MRI but have not heard on the results.  My implants...
    RHMLucky777
    Read More
         I have had my implants in for 10 months now and i have a lot of pain in the breasts.  Particularly on the top and sides of the breasts.  Sometimes i feel like there are bolders on my chest.  My doctors are trying to figure out what is going on.  I have had an MRI but have not heard on the results.  My implants are silicone so i have been reading up on them and now i wished i had gotten sailine implants
    • nomorebc
      Jul. 12, 2007

      Hi survivor,

       I don't think you need to feel badly about choosing silicone implants.  My general take is that, at least as far as breast reconstruction is concerned (cosmetic augmentation is a totally different animal), the women who choose saline implants often have more complaints!  I should probably mention that in  addition to being...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi survivor,

       I don't think you need to feel badly about choosing silicone implants.  My general take is that, at least as far as breast reconstruction is concerned (cosmetic augmentation is a totally different animal), the women who choose saline implants often have more complaints!  I should probably mention that in  addition to being a breast cancer patient/survivor, I am also a nurse anesthetist.  My work gives me the opportunity to see beyond my own perspective.  The incidence of implant dissatisfaction among breast cancer patients (keep in mind that this is anecdotal, but pretty impressive to me in terms of consistency of feedback) is far higher in the women with saline implants.  I see FAR more patients who complain about pain, hardness "heaviness" and unrealistic "feel" with the saline implants.

      As far as I can discern, the problem with implants as a whole for reconstruction, anyway, is that they are only partially covered by the chest wall muscles.  Because there is no remaining breast tissue this generally leads to the implants basically being right under the skin where the muscle is not covering them.  I believe this is more commonly a problem at the bottom half of the implant, but since everyone has a slight variation in their anatomy and of course, the surgical technique of the surgeon, it's not inconceivable that it could also be the top portion of the implant that is more exposed and causing more symptoms.  I have recently discovered that one of my implants is migrating (moving) down on my chest wall while the other has a slight movement up!  (MRI and it is becoming more visibly prominent).  So, I guess what I am trying to say is try not to worry to much about this. Get the tests to rule out more nefarious issues, but then just realize that all implants are "foreign bodies" to our human bodies.  Over time you will be able to determine whether the extent of this will be acceptable to you or you will want to consider other options.  Good luck!

      Jayne 

  • Anonymous
    colleen
    Jul. 10, 2007

    I had a double mast. 3 1/2 years ago-

    and had the rib tenderness a while-

    I put it off to lymp nodes and surgery

    whatever..

    it doesn't hurt unless I actually press on the area..

    anyway- today I went in for a regular checkup and mentioned it

    next thing- you know

    I am getting xray'd and have to have

    a bone scan

    as the Dr. said, it is very likely nothing,

    but its...

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I had a double mast. 3 1/2 years ago-

    and had the rib tenderness a while-

    I put it off to lymp nodes and surgery

    whatever..

    it doesn't hurt unless I actually press on the area..

    anyway- today I went in for a regular checkup and mentioned it

    next thing- you know

    I am getting xray'd and have to have

    a bone scan

    as the Dr. said, it is very likely nothing,

    but its better know and get past the worrying-  so while I can't help you

    with your question, I can tell you its not

    isolated

     

    Colleen

    • nomorebc
      Jul. 10, 2007

      Thanks, Colleen. I mentioned it on my visit recently and it got me right back to MRI! Well, it was negative, thank God. I have recently heard people (not any of my doctors, they seem just mystified about thisHuh?), but from other patients, is that it may be related just to not having any breast tissue there anymore. My pain seems similar to yours...only when it...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Thanks, Colleen. I mentioned it on my visit recently and it got me right back to MRI! Well, it was negative, thank God. I have recently heard people (not any of my doctors, they seem just mystified about thisHuh?), but from other patients, is that it may be related just to not having any breast tissue there anymore. My pain seems similar to yours...only when it is touched (including ALL bras!) I have implants, I wonder if it is also true when reconstruction is done with tissue flaps. It seems like they may get a little more coverage, but, maybe not???

      Jayne

    • nomorebc
      Jul. 10, 2007

      Thanks, Colleen. I mentioned it on my visit recently and it got me right back to MRI! Well, it was negative, thank God. I have recently heard people (not any of my doctors, they seem just mystified about thisHuh?), but from other patients, is that it may be related just to not having any breast tissue there anymore. My pain seems similar to yours...only when it...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Thanks, Colleen. I mentioned it on my visit recently and it got me right back to MRI! Well, it was negative, thank God. I have recently heard people (not any of my doctors, they seem just mystified about thisHuh?), but from other patients, is that it may be related just to not having any breast tissue there anymore. My pain seems similar to yours...only when it is touched (including ALL bras!) I have implants, I wonder if it is also true when reconstruction is done with tissue flaps. It seems like they may get a little more coverage, but, maybe not???

      Jayne

    • Anonymous
      colleen
      Jul. 11, 2007
      HI Jayne thanks for the quick reply... well even tho I have non silicone implants- I did not go very large- but as I think back that tenderness really has alway been there, sometimes more than others.. good news so far the inital xray i had yesterday was good and now I have a full body bone scan next monday- to rule anything out I'm ok with that- while...
      RHMLucky777
      Read More
      HI Jayne thanks for the quick reply... well even tho I have non silicone implants- I did not go very large- but as I think back that tenderness really has alway been there, sometimes more than others.. good news so far the inital xray i had yesterday was good and now I have a full body bone scan next monday- to rule anything out I'm ok with that- while it might be a little over kill my Dr is very into "checking early" so as to not worry I think worrying about cancer leads to cancer, so I'm way ok with that. thanks again! Colleen
    • Batsheva
      Sep. 05, 2011

      Hello!

       I had my mastectomy surgery in febr 2010 and one year I had a reasonable weak pain, living my life happy that I am a survivor! After one year, it started the same pain you described, and went to GP, prescribed elavil. Did not help, only I slept better. Returned to onco dr and she sent me to Bone scan and X-ray for a possible met to bones. It came...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hello!

       I had my mastectomy surgery in febr 2010 and one year I had a reasonable weak pain, living my life happy that I am a survivor! After one year, it started the same pain you described, and went to GP, prescribed elavil. Did not help, only I slept better. Returned to onco dr and she sent me to Bone scan and X-ray for a possible met to bones. It came back negative! ( meanwhile I tried accupunctre, not too much help). I turned now to my surgeon and all he test were repeated: X-ray, CT scan, Bone Scan, MRI a core biopsy an open biopsy. The surgeon wanted to rule ou a chest wall cancer, and even a mulptiple myeloma. Nothing was found and I suffer, my life is miserable for more than 8 months. Nobody came up with any treatement to ameliorate the pain.

      Is difficult for me to describe this pain, but mostly in evening night morning, when I move , it is a stabbing burning shooting pain, sometimes with 8 out of 10. across of the mastectomy scar! I am writing with the hope, that somebody had it and now is free of pain

       

      Sonia

    • Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      Sep. 05, 2011

      Batsheva, now that possible metastasis has been ruled out, I would suggest asking for a referral to a pain clinic.  Did you discuss the possibility of scar tissue causing the pain?  Massage might give you some relief if this is related to muscle spasms.  I hope you soon find some relief.

    • Batsheva
      Sep. 08, 2011

      Hi Phillis,

      I posted a reply to you 2 days ago, I don't see it!

      Yesterday I went to anaesthesist and got a shot of hydrocortison. Yaaay!

      I just hope that it will work for me, the doctor said that it takes a week to know it.

      Another option, he was saying Gabapentin tablets. I  prefered a fix with injections, one in 2-3 month (if it works)

      I will keep you...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hi Phillis,

      I posted a reply to you 2 days ago, I don't see it!

      Yesterday I went to anaesthesist and got a shot of hydrocortison. Yaaay!

      I just hope that it will work for me, the doctor said that it takes a week to know it.

      Another option, he was saying Gabapentin tablets. I  prefered a fix with injections, one in 2-3 month (if it works)

      I will keep you informed

      Thank you for replay

       

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      Sep. 08, 2011

      Batsheva, you'll find your previous answer at the bottom of this thread; I believe the Tuesday post is the one you're referring to. Sounds like the hydrocortisone shot has had an effect already - excellent! Hope you continue to feel good, and that this is the answer. Take care- PJH

    • Phyllis Johnson
      Health Guide
      Sep. 08, 2011

      Batsheeva, I hope the injection makes a big difference in your pain level.  Gabapentin (generic name for Neurontin) makes many people drowsy.  I take it at bedtime so that I can be alert during the day.  If you don't get the results you want with the injection, you could give the gabapentin a try.  Each person is so different in how she...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Batsheeva, I hope the injection makes a big difference in your pain level.  Gabapentin (generic name for Neurontin) makes many people drowsy.  I take it at bedtime so that I can be alert during the day.  If you don't get the results you want with the injection, you could give the gabapentin a try.  Each person is so different in how she responds to pain medications, it may take a while to find the best solutions for you.  

    • Dawn
      May. 22, 2012

      Hey I was looking online for these symptons. I am  abreast cancer survivor 12 years out.. I have had soreness under my right breast for 4 weeks now! t's a irritating pain. I had my masectomy 12 years ago at first I thought I had shingles, now I think their leaking, though I have saline. I have had PET SCANS   and recently  an X-RAY the pain is...

      RHMLucky777

      Read More

      Hey I was looking online for these symptons. I am  abreast cancer survivor 12 years out.. I have had soreness under my right breast for 4 weeks now! t's a irritating pain. I had my masectomy 12 years ago at first I thought I had shingles, now I think their leaking, though I have saline. I have had PET SCANS   and recently  an X-RAY the pain is  a real obnoxious pain. Let me know if anyone else is experiencing this. 

       

      Dawn

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 23, 2012

      Is it soreness in the tissue or on the skin - or farther inside? You could be experiencing rib pain if you had radiation - believe it or not, it can happen all these years later. I'm glad you're having this checked out; hopefully it'll disappear on its own soon. PJH

    • Dawn
      May. 23, 2012

      It feels like it's in the tissue. Annoying like creepy crawlie.. i had radiation 9 years ago..

      Dawnlyn

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 23, 2012

      Sounds like a nerve issue to me. Have you spoken to your plastic surgeon about making sure the implants are OK? Saline ones usually do need replacement aftr about 10 years... PJH

    • PJ Hamel
      Health Guide
      May. 23, 2012

      Sounds like a nerve issue to me. Have you spoken to your plastic surgeon about making sure the implants are OK? Saline ones usually do need replacement aftr about 10 years... PJH