Surgery, Cording and Lymphoedema

20 Aug 2021

Ideally, it is great if women can see a physiotherapist like Simone prior to surgery.

This consultation allows for baseline measurements to be taken and allows the physiotherapist to educate the women about what to expect in the early days and subsequent weeks following surgery.

This instils confidence in the treatment process and the treating team.

In the early days following surgery restoring good posture and taking deep breathes is very important.

Once any drains that may have been a necessary part of the surgery are removed there is usually no restriction to gentle range of movement exercises unless the surgeon has given specific instructions.

The aim of physiotherapy at this point is to restore full movement and introduce a monitored appropriate strengthening programme.

Sometimes women may develop cording. Cording presents as a pulling pain in the armpit and it may extend down the arm as far as the wrist or sometimes to the ribs under the breast. These “cords” may also be visible during arm movement.

The current research suggests that the cords develop following tissue trauma and inflammation following surgery and lymph node removal. With scar tissue developing along the length of connective tissue around the lymph vessels, blood vessels and nerves.

It is still not fully understood why some women will develop cording and others do not however physiotherapy is very effective in treating the pain and discomfort associated with cording and restoring movement.

Treatment involves Low-Level Laser Therapy, stretches and specific manual therapy techniques.

In summary, there is much a physiotherapist, like Simone, with a special interest in Oncology Rehabilitation can offer Women before, during, and after their treatment for cancer.

Simone’s ultimate goal is to assist women in improving their quality of life and helping women return to the life they want to live with their family and loved ones.

Thank you for visiting Pink Hope! Keep reading our blog for more articles about breast and ovarian cancer, and find out how to volunteersupport or donate to Pink Hope in the future. Pink Hope is a preventative health hub providing essential tools for assessing, managing and reducing your risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as providing personalised support for at-risk women.