Breast Oncology Rehabilitation

Physical Therapy is considered a critical part of the recovery process following breast cancer surgery. We are often asked when patients first enter the clinic, “how is exercising helpful for my breast?” or hear statements such as, “I thought I may have gained some extra weight in my arm, I did not know it was swelling!”
A lot of our patients are completely unaware of how their breast surgery has affected their overall body and feel significantly more empowered after leaving just their first visit. We are here to help you restore your body’s natural mobility following a wide variety of breast surgeries. The aftercare process is essential to making sure you do not end up with chronic pain, and to assist you with restoring full function of your upper body and abdominal muscles.
Many individuals require physical therapy to prepare their skin/tissue and movement of their arm for radiation therapy, or their next surgical phase as part of their breast reconstruction. Others seek assistance following a complication from surgical reconstruction to allow their tissue to heal without losing function of their arm or hand. We also treat many individuals who have undergone their surgery years ago but have now started to feel symptoms or who were previously unaware of treatment capabilities.

What can we do to help you?

Most ladies find there is some degree of arm, axilla, chest and/or breast tightness that occurs following their breast surgery that can also involve swelling or fullness of the arm. These symptoms benefit the most from being evaluated by a qualified Lymphatic Physical Therapist to assist you with fully understanding your condition and developing a plan on how to best improve your overall functionality for a better quality of life.
We communicate with your team of physicians including breast surgeon, oncologist, and radiation oncologist in order to stay abreast of care status and formulate a plan that works best for your condition. We will continue to follow your care throughout the completion of your treatment process including chemotherapy, radiation, and future planned surgical interventions to ensure optimal use of your arm, restoration of prior level of function, and address cosmetic concerns if eeded.

Helpful Links

Physical Therapy After Breast Surgery

Exercises After Breast Cancer Surgery

Conditions we treat involving breast surgery:

  • AWS - Axillary Web Syndrome
  • Lymphedema
    • Postmastectomy Lymphedema, Postoperative Lymphedema, Primary Lymphedema
  • Tissue changes including radiographic skin changes, fat necrosis, scar tissue adhesions following infections or tissue loss/failed procedures including functional & cosmetic deformities
  • Implant capsular contracture & Pectoral contracture following implant placement or due to radiographic changes
  • Scar tissue Adhesions and Cording
  • Adhesive Capsulitis
  • Joint Restrictions
  • Joint Instability following immediate scar tissue release

Symptoms we treat involving breast oncology/breast surgery:

  • Upper body weakness, fatigue and loss of use of function of arm/hand
  • Heaviness or fullness in breast/arm/hand
  • Swelling in breast/axilla/trunk/arm/hand
  • Numbness and tingling in axilla/arm/hand
  • Tightness in chest/axilla/breast/trunk/abdomen/arm/hand
  • Pain in chest/axilla/breast/arm/hand
  • Loss of ROM, Pain, and Lymphedema

Breast Procedures that can contribute to AWS and/or Lymphedema that benefit from PT:

  • Lymph Node Removal or Biopsy
  • Lumpectomy
  • Mastectomy
  • Reconstructive Surgeries - Natural Tissue or Implants
  • Breast Reduction
  • Axillary Cyst Removal
  • Others

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