Postoperative Physical Therapy for Breast Cancer

What is postoperative breast cancer physiotherapy?

Postoperative breast cancer physiotherapy treats all problems resulting from breast cancer surgery. It deals with scar retraction, fascia retraction, fibrosis, edema and lymphedema, possible seromas, difficulty in the shoulder joint, adaptation of your body scheme, fatigue and pain.

Why is it performed?

Surgery and radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments performed on women with breast cancer can cause alterations in their mobility and quality of life. Physiotherapy exercises are essential in the treatment of these alterations, to recover the mobility of the arm and shoulder and thus complete the recovery of women. Recovery with physical therapy focuses on lymphedema, mobility of the inverted shoulder and spine, breathing exercises and scar treatment.

What does it consist of?

Physiotherapy after breast cancer consists of simple exercises, generally focused on recovering the mobility of the arm affected by lymphedema. The type of exercises may vary depending on the patient, but in general they are classified into:

  • Breathing exercises
  • Manual lymphatic drainage
  • Stretching and pressure exercises of the shoulder blade
  • Lateral flexions
  • Stretching of the thoracic walls
  • Shoulder stretching
  • Massage for scar treatment

Preparation for physical therapy after breast cancer

The first fundamental requirement is that the patient is at the right time of recovery, as well as that the exercises are performed progressively according to the patient’s improvements. The patient may need specific bandages at some stage of recovery.

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Care after the intervention

These physiotherapy sessions do not require specific care, since the session itself is a care for recovery after breast cancer surgery. If the patient feels pain after the exercises, the physiotherapist may recommend painkillers.