Exercises after mastectomy and reconstruction

Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 960
Moderator moved post created by @Tigertan_09 from Activity section to 'Newly Diagnosed':

June 29 

Hi about to go in for surgery, mastectomy followed by implant reconstruction. What are the best exercises re my arm to alleviate swelling. 


  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 960
    Hi @Tigertan_09,

    I have moved your post here in the main discussion page where other members can provide you with their support and resources.

    In the meantime you may find these My Journey articles helpful:

    Mastectomy for early breast cancer

    Exercise after breast surgery

    Achieve your best possible physical recovery after a breast reconstruction

    Always chat with your doctor to get their okay before you start exercising after surgery. You can also speak about a Chronic Disease Management plan, where you can gain access to five Medicare Subsidised visits to an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist. 

  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,806
    Hi @Tigertan_09, Welcome to the group - I hope we can help you as you face your surgery & recovery & treatments, as we 'get it' cos we've 'been there and done that' xx

    Mez has given you some great links to check out .... but also check out this post, as it covers a lot of stuff on what to take with you to surgery, as well as 'tick sheets' for you to self monitor your recovery (take the sheets with you when you meet up with your team.) There is lots of other stuff you can check out as you go along .... even funny stuff - we all need a laugh now & then!!  If you live in rural areas, there is assistance on fuel costs & accomodation costs too. ;) 

    Re exercises after your surgery - everyone is different & of course it depends on your 'recovery' time ....  sometimes you are told not to drive for a while too - so ask about that, as not everyone has family close by to do the driving for them ... Part of my 'preparation' was to chat with a Lymphedema specialist as well, who gave me specific exercises to do to prevent Lymphedema (swelling due to fluid retention.) 

    Most exercises are done slowly & for short times at the start, totally depending on your own recovery - sometimes arm movement can be affected by the surgery (so no heavy lifting or reaching for things out of cupboards that are above your shoulder height ...).    In the old days, they'd say 'no pain, no gain' ..... but not so these days.  Pain is nature's way of telling you to stop doing whatever it was that caused the pain ... so never overdo it.  Definitely keep fit in the lead up to your surgery & that will also hold you in good stead xx

    take care & all the best  

  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,178
    Hi @Tigertan_09
    I had a mastectomy but no lymph node involvement .
    I was given exercises to do by the physiotherapist in hospital and then when I saw my surgeon one week after getting out of hospital  he reviewed them .
    one thing that really helped me recovery
     was seeing a physiotherapist who specialised in breast cancer surgery patients - I first saw her at 4 weeks after getting out of hospital and saw her for  about 6 sessions.
    I got her details from my breast care nurse , saw her as a private patient.
  • StrongCoffee
    StrongCoffee Member Posts: 128
    I was seen by the physio in hospital who gave me a sheet of light exercises to help prevent lymphoedema. Starting with a few reps, then building up over the weeks. I had good range of movement but the armpit area where 2 lymph nodes were removed remained the sorest for the longest. My implant did go over the muscle though, which I think helped a lot in terms of pain/movement as, apart from the titanium support mesh being stitched to the surface of the muscle, the muscle was mostly unaffected.
    All the Best for your upcoming surgery.