Numbness in the arms after breast enhancement

Numbness in the arms after breast enhancement

07th Jan 2017


Surgeries involving the enhancement of the breast can result in different complications. One of the common complications is the numbness of the arm, which is due to neurapraxia. Neurapraxia is a temporary state of loss of sensation and motor function of the nerves.

When you go through a breast enhancement therapy, there are several conditions that can lead to neurapraxia. These include your position on the operating table, swelling, or the site of the incision.

The treatment for neurapraxia is simple, because the patient doesn’t have to do anything. You just have to wait for the nerve to heal on its own. While waiting, you should focus on lessening the swelling, dealing with the pain, or getting through physical therapy.

The time at which you feel the numbness is important. This will help your surgeon to determine whether it is due to the surgery or to something else. If you feel anything unusual, it is important to contact your surgeon immediately to make sure everything is okay.



A common breast enhancement side effect is the feeling of numbness in the arms. Sometimes, there can be a dull pain on the armpits or a tingling sensation. Some patients may feel as though their affected arm is weak and can’t easily be moved. This can all be due to neurapraxia.

Neurapraxia is a condition in which there is a temporary loss of sensory and motor function of the nerves. After the breast enhancement surgery, it can occur due to damage to the myelin sheath of the intercostobrachial nerves. In this case, the patient feels numbness in the arms and may have difficulty in moving normally.


Causes of Neurapraxia Related To Breast Enhancement

The occurrence of neurapraxia among those who had breast enhancement surgery may be caused by different reasons. Some are as follows:

– Position on the operating table: During the surgery, the patient lies down with their arms stretched. This position may or may not cause the bruising on the nerves. This depends on the ability of your nerves to glide or stretch. The less their ability to glide and stretch, the more prone you can be to neurapraxia. Surgeons try to lessen neurapraxia by having additional paddings at the elbow area.

– Swelling: After the surgery, it is normal to find some swelling, and it is the swelling that compresses the nerves and causes the temporary damage. When the swelling subsides, your nerves can start to heal and eventually the numbness will go away.

– Site of the incision: Neurapraxia is more common in patients who have the incision on their armpit. The surgeons can cauterize the site to stop the bleeding, and the nearby nerves can be affected or stunned by the process.


Treatment for Neurapraxia

Upon confirmation that you have neurapraxia, you shouldn’t be alarmed, because this condition will improve over time. There is no direct treatment, but the nerves will repair on their own if you just give it some time. For some, it only needs a few weeks while others may require a couple of years to fully heal.

While waiting for the neurapraxia to resolve on its own, there are some things you can do to remedy the numbness or pain. Physical therapy, massage and other therapies that help with the pain and providing comfort all can help.

For those who experience swelling, taking measures to make sure the swelling lessens can also help prevent further nerve damage. Once there is no more swelling that causes the damage, the nerves can start to heal on their own.


Physical Therapy For Neurapraxia

For those who have neurapraxia, physical therapy can be done to help make sure that the affected part still maintains its normal range of movement, while waiting for the nerves to heal. Passive movement is designed with the help of a therapist.


Timing of Numbness In The Arms

Although it is common to feel numbness in the arms right after the breast enhancement surgery, you should still take note of how long after the surgery the numbness started. For those whose numbness started a little after the breast enhancement surgery, there is a greater chance that the surgery might have brought about the neurapraxia. For those who had the surgery for years before the numbness occurs, then it might be due to another cause.

If you feel any numbness or pain, it is very important to contact your surgeon immediately. Although there are some common side effects after the surgery, it would still be best to discuss with the surgeon just to make sure that all is well.



One of the common complaints of those who went through breast enhancement surgery is the feeling of numbness on one or both of their arms. Damage to the nerves can lead to temporary loss of both motor and sensory function. This is known as neurapraxia.

There are different conditions that can lead to neurapraxia after a breast enhancement surgery. These include the positioning during the surgery, the swelling of the breasts, and the site of the incision.

There is no treatment for neurapraxia, as it is known to resolve itself. The only thing patients can do is to reduce the swelling, manage the pain, and go through the physical therapy. The physical therapy helps to make sure that the other muscles do not atrophy.

It is also important to note the time when the numbness is felt to help your surgeon determine whether it is caused by the breast augmentation or if it is due to other causes. If you feel anything unusual after your surgery, contact your surgeon to make sure that there is nothing to worry about.


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