The aim of this prospective, single-centre, non-randomized explorative study is to comparatively assess two-month results of two early rehabilitation programmes in patients receiving neck dissection for head and neck cancer, with the hypothesis that those not receiving therapist-assisted physiotherapy would take an active role in their own rehabilitation to enhance outcomes. At the European Institute of Oncology, Milan (Italy), 97 patients were registered during the pre-hospitalization period and divided into an Autonomous group (living distant from the hospital) and a Physio group (living near). As expected, only 50 patients (25 per group) completed the study. Both groups received a Physical Therapy Brochure with instructions on to how to perform exercises at home. Home physical exercises started five days after surgery and continued for two months. The Autonomous group received a pre-surgery instruction session; the Physio group attended four once-weekly therapist-guided physiotherapy sessions. Two months after surgery, arm mobility and pain had recovered to pre-operative levels. Most endpoints, including the main composite, did not differ between groups. Although longer-follow-up is necessary, early physiotherapy seems to be effective in maintaining arm mobility and reducing pain, even in patients empowered to do exercises autonomously.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 1 2014|
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