Stiffness in the shoulder after breast implant surgery

Stiffness in the shoulder after breast implant surgery

22nd Jan 2017


Patients who have undergone breast implant surgery may have several complaints. One such complaint is stiffness in the shoulders or a frozen shoulder.

The most common symptoms of a frozen shoulder are limited range of movement of the affected joint and pain at that shoulder. This is due to the thickening and scarring of the muscles surrounding the joint.

Treatments in the form of medication, stretching exercises, corticosteroid injections, therapy sessions, hydrodilation, manipulation under anesthetics, and surgery are available. The best way to ward off these problems is to prevent them from happening.

Prevention can be achieved by making sure the joints are mobile after the breast implant surgery. Even if you have limited movements due to fear of tearing out the sutures, it is still important to move the shoulder joints. It is also very important to detect a developing frozen shoulder so that it can be treated immediately.


Frozen Shoulder

One of the things women can complain about after a breast augmentation surgery is pain or stiffness of one or both of their shoulders. This can be experienced by women who just had their surgery or even those that had their surgery years ago. This can be caused by a variety of reasons, but is most commonly due to having a frozen shoulder.

A frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, occurs when the joint thickens due to scar tissues. When this happens, the range of motion of the arm and shoulder are limited. There can also be pain when the arm or shoulders are moved. This can lead patients to choose not to move the arm. If the arm or shoulder joint isn’t moved regularly, the condition can worsen.



There are several symptoms that you should look out for to determine if you have a frozen shoulder, or if the pain is due to other reasons. Two of the most common symptoms would be pain and the loss of the full range of motion of the shoulder joint.

The pain felt is described as dull and is also felt when you sleep on the affected shoulder. It can also be difficult to engage in normal activities such as dressing yourself, combing your hai,r or reaching high objects. When you try to reach, you might stop due to the pain of the shoulders.



Usually, a frozen shoulder can go away on its own if you continue your usual activities and use the affected shoulder. On the other hand, if it is not clearing up, you may want to go back to your surgeon so that you can get a treatment plan. Some of the things that could be included in your treatment plan are the following:

– Stretching exercises: To improve your limited range of motion, stretching exercises should be done regularly. This also helps prevents atrophy of the other muscles around your shoulder.

– Medication: There are over the counter pain relievers that you can help you get through the pain, but your surgeon can prescribe a stronger pain reliever. Anti-inflammatory medicines can also be given to help lessen the inflammation and promote faster healing.

– Corticosteroid injections: These are directly injected into the affected shoulder to reduce the inflammation and lessen the pain that you feel during therapy sessions.

– Therapy sessions: A physical therapist can help you with exercises which will eventually result in the increase of the range of mobility of your arm and shoulder. They can also teach you these exercises so that you can do it on your own at home.

– Hydrodilatation: In this procedure, a saline solution is injected into the affected shoulder. This helps to stretch the tissues for a better range of motion.

– Surgery: It is rare for people to undergo surgery just to treat a frozen shoulder but it is the last resort for those who tried other methods and had no resolution. During the surgery, the surgeon will remove the scar tissue to improve the mobility of the shoulder joint.



After the breast implant surgery, you should be very observant about any pain you feel in your shoulder area. If you have pain, it is important to talk to your surgeon immediately to reverse it and prevent a full blown frozen shoulder.

In addition, you should make sure that you move your shoulder joint after the breast augmentation surgery. Although there may be some movements that you should avoid, like raising your arms overhead, you still have to make sure that you are moving the joints. You can still do normal activities that you used to do, as long as you avoid those that can cause harm to your sutures.



There is a possibility for those who went through a breast implant surgery to have a frozen shoulder. This is characterized by the decrease in the mobility of the shoulder and pain when moving it.

Those who went through a breast implant surgery should watch out for its symptoms. If a patient suspects a frozen shoulder, it is important to call their surgeon to make sure something is done about it immediately.

Although a frozen shoulder can go away on its own, there are other treatments to help gain back your shoulder’s normal range of motion. A treatment plan may include the use of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication, stretching exercises, corticosteroid injections, therapy sessions, manipulation under anesthetics, hydrodilation, and surgery.

Having a frozen shoulder after a breast implant can happen, but it can also be prevented simply by moving your shoulder joint. In case stiffness is already starting, talking to your surgeon as soon as you can is the best course of action. Your surgeon will help to prevent it from becoming a full-blown frozen shoulder.


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