Is scar tissue related to pain in a breast reconstruction?


I had breast cancer in 2007 and had a bilateral mastectomy. Several months later I started having pain at the mastectomy site.  I was told it was scar tissue and was instructed to have my breast reconstruction done ASAP to take care of the scar tissue.  I ended up with a TRAM and since then, I remain on pain management due to excruciating pain.


Yes, scar tissue can produce pain, but only if a cut nerve end is caught in it. Without determining the cause of the pain, breast reconstruction will do nothing for the pain, as in your case. What you need is an evaluation by someone experienced in dealing with nerve pain. I would suggest a Plastic Surgeon with experience in both breast reconstruction and hand surgery. This person should have experience in dealing with pain syndromes and understand the breast reconstruction. The most common causes are nerve reinnervation without the brain recognizing where the fibers are and a neuroma (the coiled nerve end that is very sensitive). The former is easy to correct, but both and most other causes are correctable.

R.T. Buchanan, MD


Burning and tingling are often associated with nerve related pain. The actual nerve or nerves responsible should be mapped out and blocked to determine whether or not they are responsible. This is usually done by an anesthesiologist who specializes in pain management. This can be done under a local so that the pain relief can be determined. There are unfortunately post mastectomy pain syndromes.

R. Whitfield, MD

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