Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
New Feature: Fill out your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

Pain after reconstruction/ rib area

tink_68 Member Posts: 3

I had my reconstruction on my left side in November after a mastectomy in August.  Everything went really well, except for this constant pain at the bottom of my implant in the rib area.  It hurts to lay on that side, it hurts all the time.  I saw my plastic surgeon and he said this was a common complaint.  I have been reading these boards and I have yet to see someone with this problem...anyone?


  • lago
    lago Member Posts: 11,653
    edited March 2012

    I had a revision to lefty this past October. It too is a little sore to the touch on the side and lower rib compared to the other side (initial exchange for both was in June). I think it really does take about a year to heal from these surgeries. I might be number than you so that's why I'm not as sore.

    If it gets worse call your onc. Next time you see your onc mention it.

  • Crescent5
    Crescent5 Member Posts: 64
    edited March 2012

    Oh the rib pain cam be excruciating! It feels like someone has been banging on my ribs with a hammer. Fortunately, I've been in PT, so she was able to see there was a cord there. I'm still in the expansion process & had ALND, so cords are not unexpected. My PT does some myofacial (sp?) massage, and it really helps.

  • Layla2525
    Layla2525 Member Posts: 465
    edited March 2012

    Dont tell me after the implants? I am one fill out in the TE and having rib pain. I currently got a bra on with stiff stays on the side bra band ..its a regular bra not from my mx collection and the stiff sides seem to hold the muscle in there and feels a little better. Was the rib pain after the implant? I thought maybe I overdid it reaching for something and pulled the rib muscle or maybe they just have not been used in awhile. They dont sew everything together do they during the surg?

  • tink_68
    tink_68 Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2012

    Yes...after the implant.  I thought I over did it exercising and maybe something tore on the inside.  It just feels sore all the time.  I know the plastic surgeon said there was a stitch there to hold things together, and I did have that pain initially...but it went away.  Then it came is actually where an underwire would sit if my bras had underwire, just under the breast, I can't actually pinpoint it.  Guess it is just another one of those things I will have to get used to.  

  • 1openheart
    1openheart Member Posts: 250
    edited March 2012

    I have had rib pain since my revision last Nov.  I developed Mondor's cording which is an inflammation and clotting of blood vessels caused by trauma in the breast area.  It hurts like hell and I can see the vessels protruding over my ribs when I stretch the skin in that area.  My doc said that it will eventually go away on its own.  I also had some on the right side after the lift that I had done at the same time, and they have gone away.  BS also suggested taking an aspirin a day to help reduce the clotting.  My PT is also doing some mild stretching in that area to break up the congestion.  It really hurts though.  Some nights I can't lay on that side due to the discomfort.  Hope yours gets better.

  • SheChirple
    SheChirple Member Posts: 95
    edited March 2012

    I am near the end of expansion of my TE and complained of similar pain at my last PS visit/fill.  He said it is very common, and is probably related to the pulling on the scar tissue from the mastectomy surgery.  He says it can take up to a year, or more, for this pain to settle.

    ugh.....Mine is so bad I sometime take Norco just to control it.  Massaging the area does help some.  It feels like I'm ripping something there, burning tearing pain. I'm so tired of pain.

  • mdg
    mdg Member Posts: 1,468
    edited March 2012

    I have it too.  Mine is aggrevated by doing abdominal exercises so for now I don't do much for abs.  The past few days it has been pretty sore so I have been taking motrin around the clock.  It has helped so I think it was inflammed in there.  I hope it goes away so I can do abs again soon!

  • tink_68
    tink_68 Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2012
    Thank you for all the replies.  Sorry you are all experiencing this also, but kind of glad that I am not alone.  Laughing
  • BLS
    BLS Member Posts: 5
    edited April 2018

    I'm three weeks post op. I had 650cc silicone bi lateral implants placed in me. (Had double masectomy in Jan. 2015) just now having rib pain on my back, bottom ribs. I'm.horrified wondering if I have mets to the ribs? Anyone know if pain is from surgery? Or is it most likely mets to ribs?

  • GinaSC
    GinaSC Member Posts: 3
    edited July 2016

    I had my mastectomy done on May 26, 2016 and yes, I've had rib pain since the day after my surgery. It has been so bad at times I considered having it removed. I can't seem to get my PS staff to understand the amount of paini I'm in. My pain meds are not helping at all. I cry and moan through the night and can't sleep at times because of the pain. My rib feels as though it has had damage to it. It's not smooth like the others, it feels like it is cracked and raised slightly in one area.

    Did you finally get some relief once the expander was removed?


  • LLC728
    LLC728 Member Posts: 2
    edited March 2017

    I had a double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and have had the worst pain in the same spot since the day after my surgery. Right at the base of my breast where the implant sits on the rib. My rib seems to bulge out a little also. Another thing,I had cancer in my right breast but opted to do both as peace of mind for myself. The left side is the only one that I feel this pain though. The one giving me the most horrible pain was the one I chose to remove. Ugh. Ive tried PT and stretching along with pain meds and nothing seems to work. I get so frustrated most days because I'm just tired of being in constant pain. I am seeing a pain specialist to look at nerve blocking. Regardless of which Dr I describe the pain to (Oncologist, Plastic, Breast Surgeon, or even Primary) none of them have seemed to have heard of this. I even been googling it and it seems to happen to quite a few of us. One site I remember seeing said it may be where alloderm is stiched to hold the implant. I don't care what it is, if I could just get some relief. I'm going on 7 months with this pain

  • Itsjustme01
    Itsjustme01 Member Posts: 1
    edited July 2017

    Had my 2nd bi-lateral reconstruction surgery 06/23/2017. I can take a lot of pain but this is getting ridiculous. It's causing me to have stomach issues on top of the pain in my left breast and rib cage as my IBS-D has flared up. I also went back to work a week and a half after the surgery. I thought since I work in an office job it wouldn't be so bad but by the time i get home from work I am exhausted and in excruciating pain. I don't take pain meds because it only makes my stomach issues worse. I hope all this pain will only be a memory soon!Sad

  • TWills
    TWills Member Posts: 509
    edited July 2017

    Any relief yet LLC728?

    What kind of reconstruction did you have itsjustme01? Hope you're doing better.

    I had TE surgery Monday and feel like I'm doing great except for one spot under my right TE. It's a little to early for me to be too concerned since I'm still in the early stages of healing but was just wondering if it could be cording. I had/have that in my left arm since my mastectomy in December. PT with a specialist has really helped, although it comes back if you don't keep up with the stretching. I'll have another follow up with my PS in a week but was just wondering if anyone else had anything like this.

  • sistergal
    sistergal Member Posts: 3
    edited October 2017


    I’m so sorry for your pain and totally relate because I’ve been having pain in my rib since my mastectomy and lat flap in December 2016. My PS said he has no idea what is causing this pain (said I’m unlucky) but PT has helped. After reseach, I think it might be fromscar tissue. Anyone else experience this?

  • Memekatrn
    Memekatrn Member Posts: 3
    edited December 2017

    I had my bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction 1999-2000. I have such intense,unrelenting rib pain It is horrible. I have tried every type of bra/ camisole. I wouldn’t wear anything except they are so misshapen now and bumpy. Just hideous. PC doesn’t think pain is coming from them but it has to be. I think from the anchoring or something. Any one else? It has been 18 years now

  • Memekatrn
    Memekatrn Member Posts: 3
    edited December 2017

    I had bilateral mastectomy/ reconstruction. Saline implants. 1999-2000 rib pain for past years is intense and unbearable. PC says doesn’t think from the implants. I believe has to be, maybe from the stay sutures or something

  • McCusker
    McCusker Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2018

    I had DIEP flap surgery in April 2017 after the radiation from a lumpectomy resulted in a horribly painful third degree burn. My breast was an open, sloughing, bleeding sore for over a year before I found a BS that told me the breast (including all of the skin in the radiated area) had to be removed. Nearly a year later, I am still on morphine and gabapentin because of unrelenting pain. My surgeon feels that the pain is coming from the ribs and the fleshy areas between them that were also damaged by the radiation. Anyone else experiencing this?

    I have not had reconstruction (and don't intend to) but am considering a reduction in my other breast.

  • LLC728
    LLC728 Member Posts: 2
    edited April 2018

    It’s a year later than my last post and no relief yet. I have had pain blocks in the nerve that runs by the rib and get relief only for a few hours while it’s numb. I was put on a med for nerve pain, venlafaxine, but still no relief. I have been through PT and sports taping but the pain still persists. I have moved to a new pain mgmnt Dr and he wanted me to see my PS before he tried anything because the implant sits right on the rib. Today my PS said it is actually the rib itself that has become irritated and inflamed from the implant sitting on it. I have opted to try and swap my implants for smaller ones and she’s not going to place them above the muscle with more alloderm to hold them up to try and alleviate the rib pain. Crossing my fingers this works

  • Ms_secgo
    Ms_secgo Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2019


    I’m in the same situation. Rib pain under both breast and random spasm pain in chest and sides of breast area.

    Also pain in left back shoulder area. The main med that helps me is Gabapentin. Are u on this medication?

    I had bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Post op pain was horrific on the left side where the cancer was found.

    I had the sentinel node removed. Let me know how you are progressing, sometimes I feel like a cry baby. This nerve pain is

    Debilitating. You have my empathy.

  • Kathyt865
    Kathyt865 Member Posts: 2
    edited September 2019

    If you are like, it isn't mets. I had my TEs exchanged out in July mentor 800cc high profile silicone. Since that surgery the edge of my ribs all along the front have been 'sore' to touch, though not what I would describe as pain. By coincidence one day I realized if I ran my fingers up and back my back ribs...EVERYTHING was sore. I panicked, immediately thinking a reoccurrence and my doc immediately ordered a full set of rib xrays. They were all normal. Settled me down for a bit but since my cancer was TN, I will always be on alert. I expect for me discomfort has a lot to do with changes in lifestyle. Inactivity thru chemo and winter and recovery, daily fatigue...etc. Just working to slowly get back to a normal. My best to you and hope you will find all is well.