Exercising after Mastectomy

Andrea Branas, PT, MSE, MPT, CLT is a lead physical therapist at Good Shepherd Penn Partners in Philadelphia, PA. Below she answers questions from PhysicalTherapy.com about exercising after a mastectomy.

Question

How quickly can a client begin exercising a shoulder after a mastectomy? Are there specific exercises to perform with the upper extremity to minimize scarring? How often should the exercises be performed?

Answer
If you are seeing patients post-surgically, you will want to talk to the surgeon. After a mastectomy, you also want to think about other surgical procedures the patient may be having or may have had. Some women will have a mastectomy without concurrent surgeries; however, a lot of women are now getting reconstruction at the time of surgery or getting spacers in planning for implants. The short answer is that you want to wait until after the drains are removed. You want to see that the patient is starting to get healing of their tissues.

Hear Andrea Branas talk about specific exercises to perform to minimize scarring.

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