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All TopicsForum: Surgery - Before, During, and After → Topic: Post Op Skin Hypersensitivity

Topic: Post Op Skin Hypersensitivity

Forum: Surgery - Before, During, and After — Surgical options and helpful tips for recovery and side effects.

Posted on: Dec 12, 2008 11:25PM

NikiC wrote:

I am three weeks out from having a profylactic BM and have recovered quite well except for this very uncomfortable skin hypersensitivity on my chest to the point where I can't wear ANYTHING because it feels so sore.  I have tried many different tops, tight ones that don't move, loose ones, silk ones, etc. and nothing seems to work.  Thank goodness I'm not working and am able to just go around with a blanket draped around me while at home.  When I do go out I have to take a percocet just to numb the pain a bit, but I really don't want to take them for that.  If anyone has any ideas that could help I would so appreciate it.  Thank you!  Also, if anyone else has this or had it how long does it last and it does go away right?

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Posts 1 - 17 (17 total)

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Dec 13, 2008 08:33AM sherry64 wrote:

Skin sensitivity is my main problem almost 2 weeks post op.  I don't think mine is as bad as you describe but it is very annoying.  I take tons of Advil and wear a very soft cami during the day. Have you spoken to your surgeon?  Maybe he/she has some suggestions or insights into how long this might last.  I wouldn't hesitate to call my surgeon if something was really bothering me.

12/01/08 Bilateral mast with tissue expanders; LCIS in margins Dx 10/9/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/4 nodes
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Dec 14, 2008 10:08AM NikiC wrote:

Thank you and yes I did tell my PS and he said it is common and could get worse before it gets better.  I also take alot of Advil and sometimes switch it to ES Tylenol which does help a little.  Yesterday I found a loose fitting silk-like top that was a little better so I guess Ill be wearing that under things for a while.  Also as I have been reading it seems like it can last anywhere from a few weeks to months depending on the person.  Like my PS said, everyone is so different and has many different complaints so there is really no definitive answers, just have to wait and see. 

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Dec 14, 2008 10:45AM wishiwere wrote:

Have you tried to just rub it gently while showering and then doing that several times a day.  I think it's the nerve responses to all the moving/cutting and jarring while in surgery.  When they heal, or regenerate they can really be bothersome. I know for weeks after my mast, the area under arm, to the elbow and along the chest under the arm to one small area on the back was so extremely sensitive to cold, touch or even a breeze that was warm.  I would gently, very gentle tickle the area. At first it was painful, but over time it lessened and I started to gently massage those areas.  I think it was weeks (less than 2 mos) when it started to really be comfortable again. I still have numbness 14 months out, but it's also still repairing adn I'm often surprised to find I can feel some areas, or some types of touch once again.  Try to retrain your brain by touching yourself to make the brain understand it's not pain but normal skin reactions.  Good Luck, I remember that horrible floor burn type pain so well. 

And no, pain relief never touched it :(

wishiwere~ Path read stage 1C- 1st Primary was IDC w/DCIS 1.4 cm, ER/PR+ & HER2- Dx 9/21/2007, ILC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Dec 15, 2008 08:28AM skigrl wrote:

Hi NikiC,

I also have the horrible pain, i had a mastectomy on nov 6th. My pain developed 2-3 weeks after surgery. My oncologist asked me to describe it....i said the worst sunburn you could ever get followed by someone rubbing the highest grit sandpaper on your skin...and NOT stopping!!!!!

He prescribed Lyrica for me, it has not worked for me yet, also makes me feel loopy, my plastic surgeon gave me a script of lidocaine patches to put directly on the skin....it numbs it a little, enough to let me do some light activities. It seems to be the only thing on my mind...people talk to me but i rarely hear what they say because i only think of the pain constantly nagging at me.

Mine pain became so bad last night that i ended up drinking several glasses of wine and taking a pain pill to deal with it and let me sleep, i am afraid this will become a nightly way to deal with this horrble pain, just so i can get some rest.

It's not enough that you have a cancer diagnosis, cutting a breast off, having to go through treatments, and now horrible pain, what else can come this way, anything good?

Sorry to rant but the pain seems to make me a different person, i really dont care about other things right now except trying to get comfortable. Maybe i will write to santa and ask him for some relief. ;>)


Dx 10/2/2008, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 2, 2009 06:55PM 2Hands4me wrote:

Just a thought.....I too had extreme sensitivity on my back shoulder area. The surgeon said "nerve pain."  My chiropractor said "muscle reaction" due to positioning etc. during surgery. And after one treatment, it's almost completely better. I still have a sore area on my back rib area, so plan to return for another treatment.  He said I may need to be seen once a week for 3-4 weeks - and he usually doesn't say that kind of frequency! Even if some of this is nerve pain, it makes sense to me that the proper chiropractor treatment may help it to improve - along with arm exercises and massage!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 His Hands hold me up! Dx 1/8/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-
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Apr 24, 2011 01:16PM sweetbean wrote:

Bumping this thread because this is happening to me - I wonder if the women here have expereinced relief?

Dx 11/18/2010, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, 2/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 24, 2011 01:30PM kayb wrote:

Sweetbean - I was hypersensetive after my BMX. I can't remember the time frame but I think it peaked over the course of a week then gradually went away. There was a period of about 5 days that were the worst. My PS said it was neuropathic pain and suggested I try lightly rubbing the skin with a washcloth. I ended up doing very light massage with my fingertips on the skin that hurt. After a few minutes of touching the pain would lessen. Within 2 1/2 to 3 weeks after it started, it was completely gone. No fun to go through for sure, but it did resolve!

DX May/2010, synchronous bilateral cancer, IDC, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 24, 2011 08:34PM GmaFoley wrote:

I'm just a week post-op and going in for margin cleanup tomorrow.. My thing is its like someone zaps me with an electrical charge - I ice it and it eases it somewhat .. To think - I'm going to start all over again..... Ok Lets not think about that.... I can't take antiinflammatory drugs they make me sick :(

Imagine God in His HUGE rocking chair, rocking you and saying, "It will be ok, you can do it. I will be right here for you". Oncotype score: 8, Rads 28, Bilateral arm, truncal LE and now Obstructive Sleep Apnea Dx 4/19/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Apr 26, 2011 07:58PM sweetbean wrote:


Where did you buy the microbead pillow?  And how long did it take to work?  I have been stroking my arm gently and it seems to be working, but s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y. 


I think that is the nerves regenerating.  I try to be grateful for each of the zaps - it would great to have sensation again.   Ironic - want more sensation in one area and less in another. 

Dx 11/18/2010, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, 2/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Mar 19, 2012 10:43PM scareds wrote:


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Mar 19, 2012 10:45PM sweetbean wrote:

This worked, by the way.  Stroking my arm gently decreased the hypersensitivity a lot.  

Dx 11/18/2010, ILC, 5cm, Grade 2, 2/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Apr 2, 2012 09:00PM Pelicangirl wrote:

I had double trouble with my skin after my BMX with recon ..I am allergic to most of the surgical tapes so my skin was raw and red wherever tape had been. I also had that zinging feeling and sensitivity due to nerves being cut or whatever. I did many of the things previously mentioned...wore the softest cotton loose fitting tops, lightly massaged my skin with Lubriderm lotion and put hydrocortisone cream on raw spots where the tape had been. I wish I had thought about the pillow with the little beads...I have seen them for sale at Bed Bath and Beyond. I found light massage with lotion helped the most... I am still hypersensitive and numb from my second surgery a month after the first to remove axillary nodes...I massage under my arm and my upper arm in hopes that some of that numbness and weird zinging feeling will eventually subside.

Pelicangirl Dx 12/8/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 23, 2013 02:41AM Artlover56 wrote:

I am only 4 weeks out from a mx/expander and having severe skin hypersensitivity (as well as other ongoing pain). Skigrl describes it perfectly! I can't even have hair or my own skin touch it. Trying to find something to wear is making me crazy! My docs seem to think I'm overreacting and they are blowing it off. My PS said everything should be numb and acted like he had never heard about what I was talking about. Between the ongoing pain that isn't being managed and the hypersensitivity I am ready to jump out of my skin! I'm reading that everyone says it will get better, but what to do in the meantime? I have started trying to desensitize it by massaging, but its almost unbearable. Right now the only thing that is helping any of it is a soft cold pack, but its only temporary relief. I'm hoping this wont go,on much longer, but from what in reading it could last indefinitely. Ughhhh!

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Jun 23, 2013 07:53AM farmerlucy wrote:

Hi Artlover - From my experience the hypersensitivity lasted less than a month. Interestingly my friend who did not have recon also had it. She said wearing the softest man's Ts helped. I hope you feel more comfortable soon. Recon is tough business! Gentle hug.

Surgery 2/21/2012 Prophylactic mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Dx 2/24/2012, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 3/11/2012 Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 7/22/2012 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 4/10/2013 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Surgery 4/14/2015 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 4/23/2015 Femara (letrozole)
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Jun 23, 2013 07:48PM cheri1859 wrote:

I agree that it feels like a really bad sunburn...the only relief in terms of clothing for me was a cami that was snug enough to give constant contact.  If I wore a loose fitting T shirt and it touched/tickled my skin, my whole chest would start burning. When my nurse called to check on me, she told me that I needed to retrain my nerve endings. She said to lightly massage the entire skin surface of my breast/s...(not really a massage but just run your hands lightly over your breasts....weird but effective) it worked.  It redirects your nerve endings. I had a BMX on May 14th and I am almost pain free (probably for close to 2 week I've been comfortable).

Hang in there ladies....it does get better.


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Jul 1, 2013 01:40AM txteacher wrote:

Thank goodness I found this thread...and I'm not alone!

I'm not really having any pain - still on meds though as I still have 3 drains...but just having the compression bra on is driving me nuts...and at least now I have words to describe - hypersensitivity.  I seem to sit and massage, and massage more!  

Dx 5/2011, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, ER-/PR- Surgery 6/18/2013 Mastectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right)
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Jul 1, 2013 02:26AM Ariom wrote:

I too, had the hypersensitivity. I found if I held onto the area, with my flat hand, it would settle down. I am 6 months out now from umx, no recon, and although still numb in some places, massive improvment over this time, all that burning sensation is completely gone. I also rarely get what I named "THe Claw" it was a sensation that came when I was tired. It felt like something sharp like a claw was grasping my underarm and chest.

I have been massaging, and having myofascial release massage done by a professional. I also have used silicone ScarFx on the scar, it has worked very well. 

All I really have now is phantom itching, which is irritating, because you naturally go to scratch where you think you feel it, and there is nothing there. Not complaining though, there are so many who are experiencing ongoing pain. I have been very fortunate.

Dx Mondors Disease (cording) after Umx and "Dog Ear" removed 14 months post UMx .................. The Dx shuffles you like a deck of cards and then deals you a new hand! Dx 11/2012, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes Surgery 12/18/2012 Mastectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Right