#breastreduction #surgery #shoulder #neck #upperbackpain #healing Hi, lovely people. Some people here kindly asked me to report back after my breast reduction surgery, which I had July 11. I will first say a bit about the recovery, and then I will ask a question, hoping someone who had this surgery to relieve shoulder/neck/back pain may read it and reply. First, the surgeon took a total of 5 pounds off my chest, which is like two cantaloupes tethered to the neck, shoulders, and chest. The surgery was done outpatient under sedation, not general anesthesia, and was successful and with no complications. The pain for the first two weeks was shockingly minimal, like a 2 or at most 3 on a pain scale of 1-10. Week 3 post-op was more painful, or really just uncomfortable, but nothing dramatic. I was and still am surprised that such an intensely invasive, traumatic surgery was so absent of pain. However, I took pain medicine for a couple of weeks because my neck and shoulders were KILLING me after the surgery. I could not sleep on my back and elevated as instructed without waking up and having to get up and give up on sleep. They forced my chin to stay flexed to my chest during the surgery, and they strapped my arms out airplane-like. I had multiple conversations with them about my EDS dx and care in positioning me, and they acted like they understood. They didn't. I was protesting my neck position as the sleep meds hit me. I believe my neck was strained badly during the surgery, and I am still unable to sleep through the night, 6 weeks post-op, without getting up to use the massage gun and cold packs to get another two hours of sleep. At times I have to take a muscle relaxer and/or ibuprofen out of desperation for sleep. I'm not sure whether I should see someone about my neck. Sleeping is when it most acts up, but it usually hits late in the evening too. Last Friday, I ended up in the ER with a fever of 103F, severe headache, severe body aches, and sore throat. I was diagnosed with cellulitis and sepsis, an infection of my left breast that became systemic, and was put on two antibiotics, which began working rapidly. I had to stop them before the end of the course because of side effects, but the surgeon denied my infection and told me just to stop them now anyway without adding a different one. I was cleared for all exercise at 10 days post-op, which is unheard of. Normally people are not cleared for 6 weeks. I began reintroducing some gentle supine classes, skipping anything that felt strained. I went for a 14-minute walk, but it is too hot here in NC, and my center of gravity is so different now that I feel wobbly. I rode my recumbent bike on a mellow setting for a 15 minutes a couple of times and noticed that my pain was remarkably lowered from doing this aerobic activity--the next day too. I stopped because a wound care therapist who herself has EDS told me to take it easier on exercise because I needed to keep my incisions dry, not sweaty. So I decided to be much more conservative than my surgeon. I now have nice razor-thin, flat scars formed, so I think I'm (mostly) past danger of wound openings, although my understanding is that it is the scar remodeling phase that is problematic in EDS. My incisions closed within a week. My wound healing was actually faster than average, and I'm 59 while meeting all the criteria for hEDS. I could raise my hands above my head and move freely from the very first day. I think most of this success comes down to the skill of the surgeon, and mine is famous for his techniques, even if he was less than great with aftercare. Now here is the rub and my question: I am 6 weeks post-op, and I have noticed no relief of pain in my neck, shoulders, or upper back. In fact, they are worse, maybe because of of the strained positioning during surgery and maybe because I skipped exercise for a few weeks. Almost all the women in the breast reduction groups I joined reported immediate relief of back, neck, and shoulder pain. So the fact that I have none so far is discouraging. Did anyone here have this surgery but not see pain reduction for quite a while? I'm trying to find hope that the pain reduction benefit is yet to come. Two women in the breast surgery groups I am in did say that it took them almost 3 months to see pain reduction, but they were definitely the minority.
Posted by Jenny at 2023-08-19 19:54:34 UTC