Thanks for posting here.
Everyone’s experience of recovery following a breast reconstruction will be different. This can depend on a number of factors including the technique used.
Some women may have little pain or soreness following a latissimus dorsi flap, but most will experience some pain for a good number of weeks, whilst healing of both the skin and tissues takes place. It’s not unusual for pain to occur around the scar, chest wall and the area where the tissue was taken for a flap reconstruction.
Pulling the skin down so the wound can be closed can cause pain in this area. The skin will eventually expand to accommodate this, but it does take time. Occasionally the drains used after surgery can also irritate the areas causing pain which may persist for a while even once the drains have been removed.
As it’s only 13 days since your surgery, it’s unsurprising that you still have some pain in the areas you describe, and this should subside. However, it may be useful to think about what you can do to help whilst the pain is still present.
You don’t mention whether you are taking any pain relief. It’s important to take this regularly in the first few weeks after surgery rather than waiting for pain to occur before you take it. Do speak with your team, GP or local pharmacist for further advice on what would be helpful to use.
You also mention you have been very active, but don’t say what activities you have been undertaking. Getting the balance right between remaining active and taking things easy can be tricky. Doing the arm exercises you’ll have been given, taking short walks and undertaking very light day to day activities will help in your recovery, but it’s important to build up any activity slowly.
If the pain doesn’t start to improve despite making these types of adjustments do talk to your specialist team again.
Talking to someone who has had a similar experience can also often be helpful and our Someone Like Me service can arrange for one of our volunteers to talk to you by email or telephone. Our volunteers have had a personal experience of breast cancer and are trained to provide support.
Do call our free, confidential Helpline if you would like to talk this through or have any further questions. The number is 0808 800 6000.
Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 9am - 4pm and 9am -1pm on Saturday. Out of hours you can leave a message and we will call you back when we next open.
Breast Cancer Care Nurse
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I had a Lat Dorsi reconstruction 13 days ago 11 years after a skin sparing mastectomy. All is healing really well and very little pain at the surgery site however from Day 1 I have suffered with really bad pain below the scar sites both front and back. Spoke to my surgeon who did not seem overly concerned and explained this area of skin is pulled down to operate so assume its just the healing process. Is this normal as I have not heard anyone talk about how painful this is - I have been quite active and wonder if I am impairing the healing as its almost unbearable when I walk. Should I expect this to be getting less painful soon ??