Post Top Surgery Pain Syndrome

Post Top Surgery Pain Syndrome (PTSPS), more commonly known as Post-Mastectomy Pain Syndrome, is a moderately frequent complication of chest reconstruction top surgery. Nerve irritation can cause burning pain on one or both sides of the chest, and it may even cause difficulty sleeping. This can last for up to 6 months or more, but in our experience it usually dissipates or disappears approximately 3-6 weeks after surgery. It is important to understand the potential risk of having this complication prior to deciding your gender affirming surgery. This article gives you a timeline and a summary of symptoms during your top surgery recovery that may suggest PTSPS. Different treatment options for PTSPS are available and are also discussed here.

What This Might Look Like For You

Chest reconstruction top surgery can result in a sensation of pain, burning, and itching, which can start immediately after surgery or in the days or weeks that follow, and can persist quite a while after the initial pain of surgery is gone. These sensations can occur in the chest area, surrounding the surgical scar, the armpit, or as tingling down the arm. In worst-case scenarios, it can feel like a severe sunburn.

Remedies For Post Top Surgery Pain Syndrome

There are many success stories of individuals having success treating PTSPS with holistic approaches, such as acupuncture for pain management. Gabapentin (Neurontin) is very effective as well. However, it can cause  drowsiness, so that is a trade-off to be discussed with your primary care physician. If you’ve recently had surgery at our practice and are experiencing severe pain or discomfort, please get in contact with your surgeon.

Final Thoughts

All surgery carries a risk of nerve damage and chronic pain, and  chest reconstruction top surgeries are not exempt from this complication. Please discuss this possible outcome with your surgeon and primary care physician.