Post Thoracotomy Treatment

Post Thoracotomy Rehab Protocol - Thoracic Surgery

Developed by Terri Brewer, MS, PT
For Dr. Neri Cohen's patients

We will provide physical therapy and/or respiratory therapy and education following thoracic surgery providing:

  • To strengthen the shoulder girdle and prevent any negative effects of disuse, i.e. frozen shoulder.
  • General reconditioning to increase endurance and overall health.
  • To allow patients to come off their oxygen sooner.
  • To provide education to effectively manage their condition and maximize their physical and emotional independence.
  • To minimize loss of function and morbidity associated with thoracic surgery.
  • To maximize pulmonary function and clearance of secretions.
  • To wean patients off pain medication more rapidly as their function is restored.

This program should begin up to a month prior to surgery if feasible and will continue post-op.  If it is not feasible to begin the program prior to surgery, a pre-op meeting will be scheduled with the PT to familiarize patients with the post-op program.

I.  Diaphragmatic breathing exercise - Begin and end each session with diaphragmatic breathing.

II.  Shoulder ROM exercises:

A.  Pendulum exercises

B.  Codman's exercises

C.  Wand exercises in supine

D.  Pulleys

E.  Active exercises

III.  Shoulder strengthening exercises - Once pt is able to do 30 reps of each active exercise, 1 lb weight will be added each week if there are no adverse reactions.

A. Shoulder flexion

B. Shoulder abduction

C. Shoulder extension

D. Shoulder internal rotation

E. Shoulder External rotation

F. Shoulder horizontal abd/adduction

G. Shoulder shrugs

H. Serratus anterior strengthening in supine

IV.  Pulmonary Rehab Program

A.  Individualized progressive program consisting of various exercises, including the treadmill, rowing machine, arm ergometer, and stationary bike.

B.  Assessment performed throughout session, including vital signs, oxygen saturation, and subjective measures using the Modified Borg Scale and the Rate of Perceived Exertion.

V.     Education- Including but not limited to the following:

A. Disease process and Management

B. Breathing Retraining

C. Understanding medications and how to take them properly

D. Nutrition

E. Advanced Directive

F. Stress management

G. Energy conservation

H. Exercise

I. Self assessment techniques

J. Bronchial hygiene

K. Smoking cessation

Greater Baltimore Medical Center | 6701 North Charles Street | Baltimore, MD 21204 | (443) 849-2000 | TTY (800) 735-2258
© 2014  GBMC. This website is for informational purposes only and not intended as medical advice or a substitute for a consultation with a professional healthcare provider.