• Flexion of the shoulder, abduction, and external rotation in 90° abduction are impaired after operations for breast cancer. We compared postoperative range of motion in 27 patients who underwent modified radical mastectomy and 21 patients who underwent quadrantectomy with axillary dissection and radiation therapy. The patients in the quadrantectomy group demonstrated a significantly higher range of flexion on postoperative day 1 and the day of suture removal. After 3 months, all patients had regained their preoperative range of flexion, with no difference between the groups. The better compliance of the quadrantectomy group to physical therapy may indicate that they suffer less pain and require a briefer or less intensive course of physical therapy.
(Arch Surg. 1990;125:389-391)