Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction


A mastectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one or both of your breasts.

Our Physiotherapist Kirsty, has first-hand experience of this surgery. She has had a double mastectomy and reconstruction. She is able to offer assessment and treatment of her patients with a full understanding and appreciation of what you are going through.

Why might I need a mastectomy?

A mastectomy is usually recommended for individuals with breast cancer but there are also a variety of specific reasons for having the operation:

  • To reduce the risk of breast cancer in a healthy breast where there has been a personal or family history of breast cancer

  • The cancerous tissue has spread to other areas

  • A tumour just behind the nipple

After the breast has been removed, you may have another operation to create an artificial breast. If you are having an artificial breast, a breast reconstruction will be carried out where silicone or tissue from another area such as your abdominals or back will be used to create a new breast. Depending on the type of Breast Reconstruction, recovery can differ.

What are the symptoms after breast reconstruction surgery?

Possible symptoms may include:

  • Pain

  • A scar from where the incision (cut) was made on your breast and a scar from the area where the healthy tissue was taken if you had an autogenous reconstruction

  • Temporary pins and needles or numbness from where the nerves have been cut during the operation

  • Swelling

  • Reduced shoulder and neck movement

  • Reduced strength if certain muscle have been removed or cut through

  • Bruising

What is the physiotherapy treatment for breast reconstruction?

There are various physiotherapy treatment options available to you following your operation. The physiotherapists at Palms Physiotherapy will carry out a full assessment to identify your main problems and work with you to devise a specialised treatment programme to suit your needs. Physiotherapy may include:

  • Pain control modalities

  • Breathing exercises

  • Positioning advice

  • Range of movement exercises, particularly for neck and shoulders

  • Gentle strengthening exercises

  • Cyrotherapy (ice) treatment to reduce swelling

  • Scar mobility techniques

  • Gradual return to normal activities of daily living

Physiotherapy is extremely effective at optimising recovery following a mastectomy and Palms Physiotherapy have specialist physiotherapists who will work with you and design a physiotherapy programme specific to your needs. We also have a small studio with Pilates and rehabilitation equipment to assist in building your strength and range of motion.

We understand that a mastectomy is a difficult operation both physically and emotionally and our Physiotherapists are experienced at dealing with such sensitive issues.