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Yonsei Med J. 1999 Feb;40(1):1-8.

Early rehabilitation program in postmastectomy patients: a prospective clinical trial.

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  • 1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to determine whether 20 patients who received an early postmastectomy rehabilitation treatment program showed more improvement in range of shoulder motion and functional activities than 13 patients who received instruction for exercise only. Data were obtained at preoperatively, three days after operation, at discharge and at postdischarge one month for each patient on parameters such as range of motion of the ipsilateral shoulder joint, upper extremity circumferential measurements, as well as 10 elements of shoulder function. Postoperatively, both groups showed an increased range of motion of the shoulder joint and improved functional activities, but the group that received postoperative rehabilitation management had a better range of shoulder motion and less difficulty in five items for functional assessment. This study also showed that an early rehabilitation program did not increase postoperative complications. We concluded that an early rehabilitation program or intensive instruction program only by a well-trained physical therapist or physiatrist was beneficial to postmastectomy patients in regaining the function and range of shoulder motion, and significantly better in a rehabilitation group.

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