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I know, this sounds nuts....

CR1954's picture
Posts: 1393
Joined: Jul 2008

I had a mastectomy in 2008. And yet my breast, (which is no longer there) has been itching all evening. Yes, crazy, I know. I would scratch it IF IT WERE THERE.
I have heard of "phantom limbs" before, where you lose an arm or leg, but it sometimes feels like it's still there. But I didn't know a missing breast would do that too.

Anyone else ever experienced this?


Posts: 3600
Joined: Aug 2009

Very basically a mastectomy is an amputation - so yes phantom pain/sensation definately exists. Yes I have them, different ones different times.


Posts: 633
Joined: Jul 2010

I had a mastectomy in 2006 and reconstruction. I get these terrible itches at times as well! Drives me crazy! I've heard it's somewhat common to have the "phantom" phenomenon with breasts as well as other limbs! So weird! :)


CR1954's picture
Posts: 1393
Joined: Jul 2008

Thanks so much! My family acted like I had completely lost it. So glad to know it is not abnormal!


Posts: 1048
Joined: Aug 2006

When I had bouts of bothersome phantom pain (tickly or itchy feelings usually), I turned to light massage. That made the nerves all fire off at once. That temporarily increases the weird feelings, but the nerves can only fire every so often. If you can get them to fire off one time with light massage, they will quiet down for the next little bit. I also noticed that light massage made the nerves start behaving more regularly after awhile. It was like they relearned a new normal and quite acting nuts and making me feel like someone was tickling me when no one was there. My operation was back in 2002 and after a few years the episodes of phantom pain mostly disappeared. I understand this is very common any time nerves are cut.

CR1954's picture
Posts: 1393
Joined: Jul 2008

Thanks for the advice! Much appreciated!


cahjah75's picture
Posts: 2631
Joined: Jun 2010

I haven't experienced it. I had bilateral mastectomy in June 2010 and my surgeon said I could feel phantom pain. It's all normal.

CR1954's picture
Posts: 1393
Joined: Jul 2008

If any of my docs mentioned it along the way, I have forgotten! But then again, I forget a lot of things anymore! So thank you!


Posts: 598
Joined: Sep 2009

Something like yours. I have implants after bilat mastectomies. No nips,right, but when I get a sudden chill I feel like the nips are standing up. I have actually looked down to see if they suddenly grew. Lol Sometimes I have a horrible "itch" that cant be scratched. Weird phantom boobs.

Heatherbelle's picture
Posts: 1227
Joined: Jun 2010

I've had reconstruction after my bilateral mastectomy but i have phantom nipples quite often ;)

pinkkari09's picture
Posts: 878
Joined: Sep 2009

Today it's -40 below windchill in lovely South Dakota and my phantom nipples have my attention. I thought I was the only one, so glad to here that, once again, I'm not. Massage works for me as well, I have to massage my implants anyhow, however; it seems when the phantom nipples are poking out (which is really bothersome) the massage helps immensely.

helen e's picture
helen e
Posts: 223
Joined: Sep 2009

my nipple itches all the time but it's not there to scratch - at least it wasn't until the reconstruction, but I have no feeling it in at all so it does me no good to scratch - go figure!

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4017
Joined: Oct 2009

My abdomen and chest (not breasts) itch a lot. I had an abdominal pull-through reconstruction and I have always figured that it has something to do with the nerve cutting/damage done. Sometimes I take a rough dry wash cloth and rub my skin briskly and it helps. A nurse friend suggested it and it helps me a lot. Don't know if it would help if you tried it on your remaining skin?

Posts: 1156
Joined: Dec 2010

I am only a few weeks post double mastectomy and i immediately got the phantom pains/feelins. i could feel the side of my nonexistent breast itch, hurt, be in pain, even feel good now that i am recovering! i have even felt my nipples get hard! i have joked with my bf and friends that somewhere in a medical storage facility in a jar, my nipples are hard! i never thought it would happen with breasts, either, but when i told my surgeon at a check up last week, she wasnt surprised. its the strangest feeling isnt it?

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