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Why am I unable to straighten my arm and having electric shock like sensation in elbow after a bilateral mastectomy?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1980
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I had a preventative bilateral mastectomy 3 weeks ago. I feel great except my right arm. I can't totally straighten my arm. My elbow sends an electric shock to my thumb. I can't move my top digit of my thumb. But I can move my thumb. Help! They tell me it can happen from positioning in surgery for the 5 hours I was under. How can I get things working again, I am hoping it has nothing to do with the tissue expanders I have in and physical therapy or massage will get it back in shape?
Posted Sat, 18 Jan 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Rakesh Karanwal 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Rest, splint and Vitamin B6 will help Detailed Answer: Hi there, Thanks for your query. From the information provided, it appears that either, * the web of nerves (called Brachial Plexus) has suffered partial but reversible; or permanent (though unlikely) damage due to consistent pressure exerted by the shoulder bones when you were made to lie right lateral position for a long period during surgery; or, * the nerves of the plexus were damaged during surgical removal of right axillary (armpit) lymph nodes, as part of radical mastectomy. In the event of compression-induce reversible injury, you should be all right within 6-8 weeks' time. Treatment often includes rest, splinting and Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) supplementation. Failure to improve more than 3 months after surgery would indicate near-permanent or permanent damage. Nerve conduction test of the affected nerve will reveal whether it will revert back to normal or the damage is complete. Physiotherapy will certainly help. Consult your doctor and apprise him of my opinion. I am certain that he will agree with my opinion; order required tests, and- based on the reports- will arrive at a certain diagnosis and prescribe suitable treatment as advised. Hope I have addressed to your concerns to your complete satisfaction and you find my response helpful and informative. I will be happy to answer further queries, if any. Fond regards and have a nice day, Dr. Rakesh Karanwal
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