We are Houston’s first full-service therapy center specializing in physical therapy after breast cancer surgery and providing lymphedema management.

Helping patients with breast cancer requires the expertise of a multidisciplinary care team. The Woman's Hospital of Texas offers complete breast cancer care and support — from diagnosis through recovery.

Our patients benefit from the collective expertise of our highly specialized staff, which includes therapists certified by the Lymphology Association of North America. Our therapy center specializes in breast cancer surgery rehabilitation, including post-op lumpectomy, mastectomy physical therapy and lymphedema management.

Breast surgery rehabilitation and physical therapy services

The goal of physical therapy is to help treat and minimize swelling caused by lymphedema, release areas along your surgical scars that feel “stuck”, and to maintain or improve the movement of your arm(s) and chest so you are able to enjoy daily activities. Physical therapy can also help patients maintain or increase shoulder flexibility post-surgery.

Before breast cancer surgery

Before surgery, you will come in so we can take your baseline measurements, which we use as reference points after your surgery.

We are one of the few centers in Houston to offer bioimpedance analysis using the lymphedema index (L-Dex) measurement system, which assesses swelling in your arm before it becomes visible as swelling. L-Dex uses a low-strength electrical signal that travels through your arms. The signal moves faster in tissues containing more fluid, which could mean lymph fluid is beginning to build up in that arm.

Physical therapy after breast surgery

After surgery, new baseline measurements will be taken to record your lymphatic flow. This will help us detect swelling in the early stages so we can start treatment and have a better outcome.

Lymphedema treatment may include some of the following gold standard treatment options: manual lymph drainage, bandaging, pneumatic pump, prescriptions for proper compression sleeves, gloves or vests.

Our specialized lymphedema therapists use several massage techniques to help reduce swelling and prevent complications.

  • Soft tissue massage: Our therapists use a gentle and comfortable hands-on soft tissue massage technique to gain movement and strength in your arm(s)  
  • Scar massage: This technique will prevent scars from sticking to underlying tissue; you will learn how to massage your scars at home
  • Lymph drainage: Manual lymph drainage is a gentle massage technique that helps promote the movement of lymphatic fluid into an area with working lymph nodes to minimize swelling 

We also work with our patients to make sure they understand how the lymphatic system works, how to detect early swelling, what precautions to take and ways to encourage lymph drainage. In addition, they learn strength and mobility exercises and how to self-treat swelling at home.

Physical therapy appointments for breast cancer surgery

Physical therapy following breast cancer surgery can help eliminate pain and improve your strength, so you can return to what you were doing before surgery.

If you feel like you would benefit from physical therapy following breast cancer surgery, we encourage you to discuss it with your physician. In order to begin physical therapy, a prescription that includes your name, diagnosis and physician's signature is required. For more information about our services or to make an appointment, please call (713) 799-6193.