by Founder Elizabeth Vivenzio
Medical research indicates that women benefit significantly from upper extremity rehabilitation after mastectomy. I cannot stress enough the importance of finding a breast rehabilitation specialist, which could be either a physical therapist or an occupational therapist who focuses on this sub-specialty. The goal of breast rehabilitation is to restore the patient to the highest level of functioning.
Mastectomy has a significant impact on upper body strength and it impairs the function of the upper extremities. Many simply adjust to the limited range of motion, muscle aches and swelling and sadly accept such limitations as par for the course.
Muscle contracture after breast surgery often manifests as:
Components of a comprehensive breast rehabilitation program include the following modalities, the selection of which depends on individual needs and individual assessments:
Part of a comprehensive breast rehabilitation program is therapeutic massage. As a result of mastectomy or other breast surgery, the musculature of the entire upper body region is affected by guarding, which means it recoils from discomfort by tensing up and forming knots and tightness. A therapeutic massage specialist will glide over the affected muscles to relieve the fascia and connective tissue. Such myofascial release and kneading releases the muscle tenseness. Also, scar tissue manipulation by a therapeutic massage specialist can reduce hardened lumps of tissue under the skin.
Benefits of a breast rehabilitation program include:
We are developing a listing of comprehensive breast rehabilitation centers that meet the criteria of our model center, the Breast Rehabilitation & Healing Center in Westwood, NJ.
(To add your center to the listing, read the Register a Breast Healing Center tab on this page.)