Numbness and Tingling After Breast Reconstruction

By Ravi Tandon, M.D. on June 18, 2019

A woman examining her breastDr. Ravi Tandon understands that surgical recovery is an ongoing process. That’s why he takes time to discuss breast reconstruction recovery issues, such as aftercare and side effects. Giving patients information on the long-term healing process of breast reconstruction surgery gives them a greater sense of control over their health, wellness, and sense of well-being.

A number of breast reconstruction patients at our practice in the New Orleans, LA area have questions about numbness and tingling after surgery. Let’s take a moment to consider how common these side effects are, why they happen, and how surgeons can help address these patient concerns.

How Common Are Numbness and Tingling?

Numbness and tingling are common after any sort of surgery, not just breast reconstruction. Many patients will experience some amount of numbness and tingling as part of the recovery process. Its not uncommon to experience a pins and needles sensation around the chest, shoulder, and upper arm area as well.
Rest assured that some amount of numbness and tingling is normal, and that you will experience improvements of these sensations as you continue to heal.

Why Does Numbness and Tingling Occur?

During surgery, some amount of nerve damage is bound to occur as tissues are adjusted and worked with. The numbness and tingling is the result of this nerve damage. Over time, the nerves will repair themselves, leading to fewer issues with sensation and strength going forward.

How Long Will the Numbness and Tingling Last?

This can vary from patient to patient. Some of our breast reconstruction patients in the New Orleans area have reported that numbness and tingling mostly goes away after several months. Other patients have numbness and tingling around the chest area for years, though with gradual improvements.

During the consultation process, we will be sure to discuss these matters with you in full detail. Understanding the side effects of breast reconstruction surgery as well as various aspects of recovery and aftercare can be helpful.

Ongoing Research Into Reducing These Side Effects

While numbness and tingling are considered a normal part of the treatment process, there is ongoing medical research being performed to limit the amount of numbness and tingling that patients experience.

An article published by the Cleveland Clinic notes that plastic surgeons experienced with microsurgery are developing procedures to restore sensation and reduce tingling following surgeries. There is promising research about natural-tissue flap reconstruction techniques, which may be able to promote nerve regeneration.

The article notes that the research is still ongoing. Surgeons must determine the nerves that are most likely to restore sensation after surgery, and what methods are available or must be developed to encourage nerve regrowth in patients.

Discuss Issues with Your Reconstructive Surgeon

Adjusting to life after breast reconstruction can take some time. That’s why we encourage patients throughout the greater New Orleans area to discuss any side effects of concerns they have following breast reconstruction surgery. We’re here to offer support and insight into what you’re going through, and give advice on what you can do to manage these issues.

Learn More About Breast Reconstruction

For more information on side effects after breast reconstruction and how our team can help you, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon. You can reach Tandon Plastic Surgery by phone at (504) 455-1000.

Related to This

Contact Us Today

Rate, Review & Explore

Social Accounts Sprite

Metairie Office

3900 Veterans Memorial Blvd
Ste #200
Metairie, LA 70002

Open Today 9:00am - 5:00pm