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Stiffness In The Shoulder After Breast Implant Surgery

Stiffness In The Shoulder After Breast Implant Surgery

Stiffness In The Shoulder After Breast Implant Surgery

One mutual complaint of women who undergo breast implant surgery is experiencing stiffness in the shoulder after the procedure. Several patients complain that their shoulders feel frozen after getting breast implants. Pain in the shoulders and limited joint movement are signs that indicate shoulder stiffness. This happens as a result of congealing and blemishing of the joint muscles.

Some of the methods to treat stiff shoulders include prescription medicines, exercise, steroid injections, physical therapy, surgical intervention and hydrodilatation. It is judicious to keep the condition from happening by making certain that the joints are flexible and movable after the surgery. The patient can try to move her shoulder joints even if there is very little movement possible. Getting a prompt diagnosis of stiffness in the shoulder is crucial for immediate treatment.

Stiff Shoulder

Pain and stiffness in the shoulders are common problems for many women who undergo breast implant surgery. The stiffness can occur in one or both shoulders of the patient. Stiffness of the shoulder can also occur years after surgery. The usual cause of stiff shoulders is frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis, which happens when the scar tissue makes the joints thick.

When the shoulders become stiff, the movement of the arms and shoulder joints becomes restricted and can trigger pain and discomfort in and around the arms and shoulders. If the joints and arms are not moved frequently, the problem can worsen and give rise to additional complications.

The Symptoms of Frozen Shoulder

Patients who have undergone breast implant surgery are encouraged to monitor their body and health for symptoms of frozen shoulder. The most common symptoms include limited shoulder joint movement and pain in the shoulder. Depending on its intensity, the pain felt can be mild, moderate or severe and can be felt more intensely when you exert pressure on the affected shoulder. The condition can make routine activities like wearing clothes and combing your hair quite difficult and painful.

Treatments for Frozen Shoulder

In most cases, frozen shoulders heal over time and the patient can return to her routine activities without any discomfort. However, if the condition does not subside, the patient should go to her surgeon for treatment. Normally, the surgeon would come up with a comprehensive treatment plan for the patient, which may include:

  • Exercises: Stretching exercises have the potential to enhance the limited movement in the shoulder joints. If you do this exercise regularly, it can treat the frozen shoulder and prevent further side effects like atrophy.
  • Medicines: Your doctor may tell you to take certain over-the-counter pain management pills or prescribe you certain medications to deal with the pain and get relief from the inflammation at the shoulder joints.
  • Corticosteroid injections: These are powerful injections that may be injected into the target area. The goal is to ease the pain by reliving you of the swelling.
  • Physical therapy: Physical therapy is one of the most effective ways to get rid of frozen shoulder and can help improve your shoulder and arm movements. However, it should only be done with the help of a professional therapist.
  • Hydrodilatation: This treatment option involves injecting a saline solution in the target area, which enhances tissue movement.
  • Surgical intervention: This is one of the rarely used treatments for stiffness of the shoulders. It is used only as a last option when all the other alternatives fail. The surgery involves removal of the scar tissue, which consequently enhances movements of the shoulder joints.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

There is no denying that prevention is better than the need for a cure. The same holds true when it comes to stiffness in the shoulders. After the procedure, you must be very vigilant and sensitive to any changes in your body, especially in your shoulder area. If you feel any pain, make sure to speak with your doctor to reverse the condition or take actions to ward off a potentially intense case of frozen shoulder.

Additionally, you must ensure that you move and observe your shoulder movements right after the surgery. While you would be advised to avoid certain movements like raising your arms over your head, you can still check whether your shoulder joints are working just fine by moving it a bit. Afterwards, you should resume your routine activities as long as they do not interfere with the healing process.


It is common for women who have undergone the breast implant surgery to experience frozen shoulders. The symptoms include limited movement of the shoulders and arms accompanied by pain and discomfort. It is imperative for anyone who undergoes the breast implant surgery to watch out for symptoms of frozen shoulders after the procedure and take immediate actions to prevent a full blown frozen shoulder. Also, you must discuss this problem with your plastic surgeon prior to the surgery.

Most of the time, this side effect gradually disappears on its own. If the symptoms do not subside, you should seek treatment. Your doctor may recommend you pain relief medications, anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, steroid injections or surgical intervention to overcome the condition. If you want to prevent this problem from happening in the first place, make sure to move your shoulders and arms to an extent that should not harm your sutures after the surgery.


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