Cording inside breast tissue

Hi everyone 

2 weeks ago I had a wide local excision and sentinel lymph node biopsy. My axillary surgery has been consistently painful since it happened, and now I have started developing cording, which is making the post surgery exercises even more painful. I’ve seen my breast care nurse, who has advised arm massage and to persevere with the arm and shoulder exercises.

Since yesterday, I also have visible cords appearing inside my breast tissue, running from where the nodes were removed down towards my nipple. They’re really painful and are distorting the breast tissue so they look horrible too

I haven’t been able to find any information about how to treat the cords inside my boob - everything is about physio for cords in the arm or armpit. 

Has anyone else experienced this and can offer any tips on how to treat the cords as I really don’t want to just leave them to get worse.

Thank you :bouquet:

Hi Briallen

That sounds pretty painful. I still have cording down my arm 4 years after full axillary clearance and i’s pretty painful at times. However, much of it is the result of negligence (laziness?) on my part. I can’t stress how important those exercises are.

As regards cording in your breast, I would contact the breast care nurse again. That’s what their job is so it’s not being a fusspot. Forget about how it looks for now and focus on the pain and the need to get rid of it before it gets firmly established. 

Hope you find some solution xx

I had terrible cording after a WLE and SNB in November. My surgeon said some people are susceptible to it and others not, it’s luck of the draw I’m afraid. 
First of all I just want to send you lots of sympathy and a big hug. It’s so painful and debilitating isn’t it? I had cords running through my breast and down my arms to my wrist. I couldn’t move my wrist if I held my arm out. My surgeon manually broke 6 cords. Very painful and they quickly came back. By chance I met a lymphoedema specialist who says current thoughts are not to manually break them. 
Keep doing the exercises. Do them several times a day. Personally I don’t think the ones given to me after my op were enough in my circumstance. Google “breast cancer physio cording exercises” - there are great YouTube videos. I found some by an Australian physio and another good one from a hospice. Lots of child’s pose, holding your arms out at your sides whilst laying on your back with knees bend to the other side to create a good stretch. If you can’t find them send me a message and I’ll link them. 
Massage helps. I know it’s sore. 
My cords resolved - apparently most do - so take heart. Keeping mobility is key. My husband joked that I needed a prayer mat for Christmas as I was doing the exercises 5 times a day! Xx

Hello - I know how you feel and had exactly the same thing happen about 3 weeks after the same surgery.  (Had my op 12 January so six weeks ago).  

interestingly I got different advice from my surgeon.  He advised me to scale back from 3 sets of exercises to 1 a day for the next week.  But stop if anything hurts. No repetition movements in affected arm.  No lifting.  And it worked. So then I went back up to 2 sets the following week and then 3.  I think this is albeit a VERY uncomfortable symptom that your body is healing and reconnecting the tissues.  Bonus idea- I also asked for a referral to post surgery physio therapy and start in next couple of weeks.  I want the physio to help me safely rebuild strength and stamina in that arm so it can be the best it can be - plus avoid dreaded lymphadema ?