Barriers to rehabilitation following surgery for primary breast cancer

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.
Journal of Surgical Oncology (Impact Factor: 2.84). 04/2007; 95(5):409-18. DOI: 10.1002/jso.20782
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Surgery is a mainstay of primary breast cancer therapy. Alterations in surgical technique have reduced normal tissue injury, yet pain and functional compromise continue to occur following treatment. A tenuous evidence base bolstered by considerable expert opinion suggests that early intervention with conventional rehabilitative modalities can reduce surgery-associated pain and dysfunction. Barriers to the timely rehabilitation of functionally morbid sequelae are discussed at length in this article. Barriers arise from a wide range of academic, human, logistic, and financial sources. Despite obstacles, expeditious and effective post-surgical rehabilitation is being regularly delivered to breast cancer patients at many institutions. This experience has given rise to anecdotal information on the management of common sequelae that may undermine function. The epidemiology, pathophysiology, and management of these sequelae are outlined in this article with an emphasis on the caliber of supporting evidence. Myofascial dysfunction, axillary web syndrome, frozen shoulder, lymphostasis, post-mastectomy syndrome, and donor site morbidity following breast reconstruction are addressed. A critical need for more definitive evidence to guide patient management characterizes the current treatment algorithms for surgical sequelae.

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    ABSTRACT: Over 16 000 mastectomies are performed in England and Wales annually. Acute postoperative pain and nausea are common. The most frequently occurring long-term complications are chronic pain (up to 50%) and reduced shoulder function (reported at 35%). Regional techniques that improve acute postoperative pain relief may reduce the incidence of these complications. This study assesses the effectiveness of a 24-hour continuous local anaesthetic in the subpectoral plane in improving postoperative pain and quality of life in patients undergoing mastectomy.
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Despite the great strides made in medical knowledge, surgery still remains a necessary part of the breast cancer treatment. Surgical procedures still lead to post surgical sequelae. The axillary web syndrome (AWS) is one such sequela, which can lead to disability, reduced arm mobility and compromised quality of life. It is often unidentified and the literature regarding its assessment is limited. To improve diagnosis and patient education, the Screening Test AWS (ST-AWS) questionnaire was drafted and applied at the European Institute of Oncology (EIO). Materials and method We prospectively recruited patients from October 2012 to December 2012. Patients who underwent sentinel lymph node biopsy and/or axillary dissection procedures were registered. Physical examination was set as a gold standard. Results 88 patients completed the questionnaire. Among these, 32 patients had axillary web syndrome diagnosed, thus a 36% incidence. The questionnaire achieved a sensitivity of 94%, a specificity of 91%, a positive prevalence value (PPV) of 86%, a negative prevalence value (NPV) of 96% and an accuracy of 92%. Conclusion Our questionnaire achieves high sensitivity and predictive values, and we would recommend it as a screening-tool for auto-diagnosis of the AWS. The main objective of the questionnaire is to enhance patient and therapist awareness of the problem, and prompt management to shorten the effects of this disability. Moreover, it may offer a tool to enhance body image acceptance after surgery. Further studies whereby the efficacy of the questionnaire is investigated in a larger, heterogeneous group and in different situations are warranted.
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