CLINCIAL COMMENTARYPhysical Therapy Intervention Suggestions for Women Following Breast Cancer SurgeryWarren, Celeste DPT*Author Information *TherEx, Incorporated, Memorial Hospital, Martinsville, VA Journal of Women's Health Physical Therapy: Spring 2005 - Volume 29 - Issue 1 - p 21-24 Buy Abstract Pain and musculoskeletal impairments in the shoulder, chest wall, and upper extremity commonly occur after breast cancer surgeries. Musculoskeletal impairments such as loss of strength and limited joint and soft tissue mobility complicate postsurgical recovery and in many cases may delay or even limit recovery of function and long-term quality of life for survivors. Physical therapist examination and physical therapy interventions are indicated and appropriate choices for the clinical management of many of the postsurgical musculoskeletal complications associated with breast cancer. Utilization of physical therapy care for women after breast cancer surgeries is not routine. Utilization patterns appear to vary from immediate referral to delayed referral when pain and mobility or strength impairments accelerate in the postsurgical period. Improved awareness among physical therapists of the physical rehabilitation needs of women after breast surgery may contribute to an increase in utilization of physical therapy in postbreast cancer surgery cases. The purpose of this commentary is to provide an overview of both the surgical procedures used for breast cancer and the musculoskeletal problems associated with postsurgical recovery. An additional purpose is to recommend physical therapy interventions appropriate for the management of the described musculoskeletal impairments and functional deficits. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.