pain after snb and wle

Hello ladies,
I’m back again. I had my dressing taken off today8 days after the op but i feel so sore and bruised. Today it actually hurts more than it has ever done. I suppose it could be becuase i have big boobs.
I was wearing a cammy support top which is like a maternity top and my boob actually feels so tender and painful to touch.
The nurse said that it might feel like that and i was so looking forward to a shower but i dont know if i can do it tonight.
Is this normal as my boob still looks so swollen…and keep getting sharp shooting pains but the wounds look good nothing coming out of them and no redness.
I’m supposed to be going back to the hospital on tuesday for results but i’m not sure if they will be in then.
Anyway sorry for the moan.
Thanks fran

Hi Fran,

I had a bilateral mastectomy and was feeling quite pleased with myself after the op as I could do all of the exercises no problemo! Until about 7-10 days after my op when it became really painful!! I asked my surgeon about it and she said that that’s when the skin and tissue actually starts knitting together properly which is why it becomes more painful. Important to keep up with the exercises. I can’t remember how long I was sore for - but I soon regained full range of movement in my arm. Am sure the swelling is also normal as your poor boob’s been bashed about - but I’d check with your surgeon/BCN if you’re really concerned as there are ladies on here who have had problems following their surgery.

Hope you recover soon.


Hi Fran

I was advised by my surgeon to wear a firm support sports bra day and night for the first 21 days, and that helped greatly. I found that even the slightest movement was painful (going over a bump in the road when in the car on the way home had me at screaming pitch so I stopped off at M&S for one!)

How’s your temperature? Even if there’s no specific redness, if your temperature’s up that could indicate a generalised infection or one that’s inside rather than near the skin.

Hope it gets better for you soon, and good luck with the results next week.


As Choccie says, phone and ask to see the BCN right away if there is anything that might indicate infection.

Take any pain killers you were prescribed, and if the prescription has run out, ask your GP for more (or get generic ibuprofen and paracetamol–it’s better to take some of each than too much of one.

It can be really tricky trying to find a bra or cammi that is comfortable and doesn’t dig in or rub in the wrong place. You could try tucking a clean plain cotton handkerchief over the sore spots and under the cammi or bra. I wound up holding my hand just underneath my boob to support some of the weight a lot of the time, as I also had to keep my upper arm away from my body a bit. I tucked a cushion under my upper arm and boob at night.

You could try cold compresses as well, just don’t put anything frozen directly on your skin. The blue/silver flexible freezer packs are good, wrapped in a flannel or small towel, there is the traditional pack of frozen peas (just don’t eat them if they thaw and are refrozen), or moisten a flannel and wrap it in a sandwich bag, then chill it in the fridge or freezer for a while.

You might find a bath, just not too deep, is easier at first.

You can moan all you like here, because there are plenty who know just what you’re moaning about. The SNB is going to affect some muscles that normally help hold everything up.

Here’s hoping the pain eases soon.

Hello ladies,
Thank you for all the information.
It feels like you all know what I’m going through. I took some ibuprofen and they helped but I was given codeine and I took them twice once during the day but they made me feel weird and I was with my children so I didn’t take them again. I’ve been lifting my boob up and supporting it and that really helps. With the tenderness buts its sore under my arm like I’ve used a bad razor. I’m going to ring my bcn tom and check with her.
I’ve not got a temp and the wounds look good so Its just dealing with the tenderness and bruising but I’ll be fine, just hoping I don’t need another op…
Thanks again I appreciate it.
Love fran xx

Hi fran,
Very sorry to hear you are having so much pain.
It is a good thing to talk to your BCN about your pains. She may be able to suggest how to make it hurt less. and keep going back to her if the pain continues.

I had my mastectomy with lymph node clearance and immediate recon with implant just over three weeks ago. It still hurts a lot and looks swollen. I take ibuprofen and paracetamol to take tahe edge of the pain. I take the occasional codeine at night to help me sleep (they give me nightmares and constipation though so try to not take them). I saw my BCN this week, and my surgeon had a look again as it was quite red. So then I was given some antibiotics just to be on the safe side. I wear a bra 24/7 and hold my chest tightly when going round corners or over bumpy roads when in the car. I am not driving myself for that reason :slight_smile: Massaging the area with e45 is also soothing for me.

I had my first mastectomy last march on the other side, which was much less painful.

Warmest wishes, hope this helps


I also had WLE and node clearance on the 20th Dec.

I find any bra uncomfortable but have bought some M&S vest tops with bra shelf which are OK as they are smooth, don’t rub on the scars, and the strap seems to be in the right place.

I also hold boob when in car as bumps are painful! I was told not to drive for a month, but that seems longer than other people on this site.

I went for my first check up yesterday and mentioned how sore I still was, the doctor gave me a prescription for paracetamol with codeine which is definitely helping, and perhaps more importantly the nurse checked the scar and said everythign was fine and as they expect. If it helps she said the swelling could last another 2 or 3 weeks.

Hope you start to feel better soon.

Hello all,
Well woKe up in pain but slept all night! Took some pills.
Then I had a bath still can’t face a shower. I’ve bought some sports bras. I wanted to get some shelf bra vests but didn’t see any and I didn’t want to be out for long.
Anyway these seem better its def better with support good job as going out tom night for a meal with other half and those vest aren’t a good look on me.
I meant to phone my bcn but think I’ll wait till my appoint on tues and hopefully find out my results.
Thanks for your advice.
Love Fran xx

Hi Fran, How are you today? Did you manage to sleep?

Lakeslover said ‘If it helps she said the swelling could last another 2 or 3 weeks.’
Well I reckon that’ll help you and me both, I’ve had a similar situation. In fact, my breast was doing quite well, and my armpit was feeling much less sore, but I went for a check-up on Friday (2 weeks+ post-op) and the surgeon decided to drain off some liquid - and yesterday and today it’s all been really sore again! I slept so badly and I even had sharp shooting pains through yesterday.
Today no pains, but my breast feels more swollen and quite hot, but my scar looks fine, healing very well. Still, I feel like I’ve gone back at least a week in the process.

Has anybody else felt worse after being drained? And/ or felt that you were drained unnecessarily?

PS: Fran, I’m small-breasted, but I guess being fuller-breasted might affect the healing process - pure speculation, though.

Fran, the underarm pain was definitely the worst and took longest to subside. There aren’t many nerves inside your breast, so that doesn’t hurt so much. There are loads of nerves around your lymph nodes, and they tend to scream at you for a while. I thought it felt like an underarm paper cut. I don’t like codeine and it makes me really constipated, so I declined that. Glad to hear that you’ve managed to sleep throught the night; that makes an enormous difference.

Hope it eases soon.

Hi, I am sorry to hear you are suffering.

I am having a WLE next Friday (blood count permitting) but no node clearance as my nodes are clear. I need some advice on what bra to buy. I have got large boobs (34G) so can’t get onvwith support vests. I have only ever worn underwired bras. Any suggestions?


Kate xx

Hi Kate

Someone told me to take the wire out of my bra to make it softer and less likely to rub against any scars. I also used cotton wool pads pad sensitive areas.


Besides taking the wires out of an old bra, you could try a sports bra. One problem can be finding a style that doesn’t rub or press against your underarm area–you might need a something like a cotton handkerchief or bandana to tuck under the edges and across your underarm. If you go someplace with trained fitters, they are usually very helpful and sympathetic.

i have been wearing a stretchy crop top from mark and sparks - pack of 2 for £12. i am quite small busted 32/34 B - and i bought a large to start with in case of swelling and also got a medium for later on.they do stretch more than you think when you get it out of box and look at size of it though
i have noticed they sell something similar at primark now (at least at bigger stores anyway) and also matalan.

BCN told me not to wear a underwire bra for a while - not sure how long.

TTM xxx

Can anyone advise ? I had WLE/ANC on 27th Feb, doing exercises etc, but I have a continual stabbing pain under arm, can be mild to severe area still hard from op, should I ring hospital or has anyone else had same and its still early days, any advice would be appreciated

Love Janice x

Janice, underarm pain is normal, because the surgery affects the nerves in the area and nerves take a while to heal. That said, don’t be shy about ringing your BCN, especially if you have swelling alone or with any signs of infection. With signs of infection, ring at once.

Ask about pain relief–I was advised to combine paracetamol and ibuprofen rather than take too much of either one, and not to take something regularly rather than waiting for pain to begin. I also found that cold compresses helped–an ice pack wrapped in something like a hand towel, or a chilled flannel in a sandwich bag.

Hope it eases soon.

Hi Mezzomama
Thaks for that, after posing took an ibuprofen & paracetamol and its eased a bit, dont think theres any infection as not hot/red but its so hard to tell as site still hard/lumpy from op which was 19 days ago, to be honest I think im expecting too much too soon, will keep any eye on it and ring if it gets any worse

Janice x

Thank you girls for all your comments. I too had wle and slb on 21st Feb and have had excruciating pain under my arm. Thought I was abnormal and having a bad time but after reading your posts I niow realise that this is what we all go through. Your posts and tips are great and help me to feel I’m not alone in this. Thank you so much. By the way, I got properly sized at M&S and fitted for a Total Support bra which my BCN said was the best kind of bra to have. Lots of support but I still need to tuck a squashy cushion under my breast in the evening when watching TV, just to give extra support. My breast seems to swell more in the evening.