A Mondor’s cord is a painful and hardened ridge which may appear weeks after breast augmentation surgery emanating downward from the lower breast crease. (if an inframammary incision was used) It may also develop in the upper arm if a transaxillary breast augmentation technique was used. This is not a complication of breast augmentation surgery but an infrequent temporary annoyance that occurs in some women.
Mondor’s cord is is caused by an inflammation of the draining veins from around the incision, more commonly known as superficial thrombophlebitis. Trauma to the veins from the procedure is the cause very much like the same condition that can develop in the hands and forearm after having an IV inserted. It usually does not develop for several weeks after surgery and becomes most apparent when one is stretching or reaching with their arms which makes the restriction of the cord most apparent. In some cases more than one vein may be involved giving rise to more than one cord.
Because it is a hard cord it can cause some discomfort. It is a self-resolving condition but can be treated by anti-inflammatory medications and warm compresses. It will take several weeks to go away. One is not a risk for any blood clots or the throwing an emboli.
Dr. Barry Eppley