Why is rehabilitation required after breast cancer surgery?

Rehabilitation is highly indicated for breast cancer patients who went through mastectomy or had lymph nodes removed. These procedures lead to restriction in shoulder movement on the affected side. Removal of lymph nodes also introduces risk of lymphoedema in the years to come.

Without proper rehabilitation, patients may develop shoulder pain and lasting shoulder stiffness. Without adequate knowledge and measures to prevent lymphoedema, this complication may only be picked up when it is well-established, making it a lot more difficult and expensive to treat.

The aim of physiotherapy rehabilitation is to regain full function of the affected arm, and prevent lymphoedema. Our physiotherapist can also custom-make an exercise program to help you combat side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and hormonal therapy.

What to expect during the session?

Our physiotherapist will first assess your condition, such as scar healing, arm range of motion, pain level, etc. Treatment will then be carried out accordingly. Common treatment include scar massage, lymphatic drainage, shoulder stretching and strengthening exercises, Kinesio taping etc.

In order to pick up any early sign of lymphoedema, our therapist will take a circumference measurement of your arms. The measurement will be repeated when needed to identify any swelling. The therapist will also walk you through all the important information regarding lymphoedema prevention.

When is the best time to start physiotherapy?

The best time to start is once all the drains and wound dressings are taken off after the surgery. But it may also start earlier or later depending on your needs.

How many sessions are required?

It varies tremendously from patient to patient. Some may only need 1-2 sessions, while others require more than 10. Your therapist will advise accordingly after assessing your condition.