If surgery is necessary, following the procedure an experienced team of physical therapists and occupational therapists will work with you to maximize strength, mobility, independence and overall function. Therapy begins in the hospital after surgery and frequently continues after discharge.
Once discharged from the hospital, arrangements can be made for outpatient physical therapy or further in-patient treatment at a rehabilitation hospital. Also, our therapists will recommend and arrange for any equipment that may be of use in your home, such as walking aids, wheelchairs, muscle stimulators and Continuous Passive Motion equipment that gently move joints, preventing stiffness and increasing flexibility. Outpatient physical therapy is available at Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Medicine Radnor.
Prosthetics and Orthotics
Braces may be needed after surgery until sufficient strength has been regained. Should surgery braces or an artificial limb (prosthesis) be needed, certified prosthetists and orthotists (people who measure, manufacture and fit braces and prostheses) are consulted. Because braces or prostheses are customized, careful measuring and fitting are essential to timely recovery. Orthotics and prosthetics can be fitted on site at Pennsylvania Hospital.
For upper extremity lymphedema, anyone who has had a simple mastectomy, lumpectomy, or modified radical mastectomy in combination with axillary node dissection and often radiation therapy is at an increased risk. Lymphedema can occur immediately postoperatively, within a few months, a couple of years, or as late as 20 years after treatment. Lymphedema can also occur after gynecologic surgery or orthopedic surgery. With proper education and care, lymphedema can be avoided, or if it develops, kept well under control.
For more information, read these responses to frequently asked questions about lymphedema following breast surgery.