Reduction mammaplasty as a secondary therapy option
for chronic pain after lumpectomy in the breast: a case
Received: 5 March 2010 / Accepted: 8 July 2010 / Published online: 27 July 2010
Abstract Chronic breast pain after surgery can have a
profoundly negative impact on the physical and psychosocial
function of patients. Treatment options are still in develop-
ment, and no method hitherto described 100% pain relief. A
45-year-old woman suffering from chronic pain following
breast surgery, who underwent reduction mammaplasty that
lead to 100% pain relief, is presented. We suggest that
mammaplasty could be a valuable treatment option in treating
carefully selected patients with chronic breast pain. To our
knowledge, this is the first report of mammaplasty for the
treatment of chronic breast pain following breast surgery.
Keywords Chronic breast pain
Because breast surgery is a very common procedure in clinical
practice due to the high incidence of breast lumps, its
complications need to be closely considered [1–3]. Chronic
breast pain after surgery is a major problem, and the incidence
of women suffering from postoperative pain syndrome varies
between different authors from 22 to 53% [3, 4].
Treatment options for chronic pain after breast tumor
surgery are still in development, and no method hitherto
described provides 100% pain relief .
Because of its deleterious consequences on the quality of
life, rising therapy costs, and the potential secondary diseases
such as depression, anxiety, or suicide, chronic breast pain is a
serious issue. It is a problem that surgeons have to deal with.
Chronic breast pain
Chronic pain is defined as continuous or intermitted pain of
longer duration than 3 months . It is a common
complication after surgery that can occur for many different
reasons. Nevertheless, the molecular pathways have not
been fully described.
There can be three main subgroups of pain:
1. nociceptive pain
2. neuropathic pain
3. psychosomatic pain
Nociceptive pain results from direct injury to anatomical
structures such as muscles, tendons, etc. It usually
disappears after tissue healing [3, 6].
Neuropathic pain on the other hand can be chronic.
Surgical procedures damage nerve tissue as a result of
surgical resection, compression, ischemia, stretching, and
infection. The postsurgical remodeling fails to reestablish
the physiological state and furthermore modulates proteins,
which cause nerve fibers to produce an enhanced transmis-
sion of nociceptive signals .
Department of Plastic- and Reconstructive Surgery,
Vienna, Juchgasse 25,
1030 Vienna, Austria
C. Schwarz (*)
1180 A-Vienna, Austria
Eur J Plast Surg (2011) 34:399–401