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Dr. Barry Eppley

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Posts Tagged ‘mondor’s cord’

Plastic Surgery’s Did You Know – Mondor’s Cord

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016


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 after Breast Augmentation Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisMondor’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

Indianapolis, Indiana

Mondor’s Cord after Breast Augmentation

Saturday, August 15th, 2015


Surgery of the breast is very common in women with breast augmentation being the most common aesthetic operation. There are many potential complications of breast augmentation surgery but fortunately most of them are minor and some of them are even self-solving. Technically if an after surgery problem eventually resolves on its own without surgical treatment it is not considered a complication but a temporary ‘nuisance’.

Mondor's Cord after Breast Augmentation Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisOne such nuisance after breast implant surgery is Mondor’s Cord. This is when  a hard vertical string or cord develops from the lower pole of the breast into the upper abdominal area. It usually occurs within a month after surgery and is more likely to occur with an inframammary incisional approach to inserting the implants. What it really represents is a thrombophlebitis of the breast/chest wall, an inflammation of a superficial vein that is draining the breast inferiorly. There are many veins that run off of the breast mound and trauma and breast tissue distension can cause them to become clotted and inflamed.

Mondor’s Cord is named after the famous French surgeon in Paris, Dr. Henri Mondor, who first described it way back in 1939. While most commonly occurring on the breast/chest wall, such thrombophlebitic cords can also occur on the extremities such as the arms and penis after trauma and surgery.

These cord-like bands occur just under the skin and run from the lower pole of the breast into the upper abdominal area. These swollen hard veins are quite distinct and may have some mild discomfort associated with them particularly when raising the arm above one;s head on the affected side which places the cord under maximal stretch. Like most thrombophlebitic conditions they are usually self-resolving and will go away with time. For those Mondor’s cords that are uncomfortable and develop redness, they can be treated with low heat (warm compresses) and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin.

Because of their superficial location they pose no risk of throwing emboli elsewhere. Thus no surgical intervention is needed. It may take weeks to a month or two for complete resolution. But they pose no risk of adversely affecting the breast augmentation result.

In over 800 breast augmentations I have no seen three cases of Mondor’s cords. All were related to the incisional site. (one inframammary incision and two extending into the arm from transaxillary incisions) So this is a fairly uncommon condition but not that rare either.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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