International Journal of Head and Neck Surgery

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VOLUME 5 , ISSUE 3 ( September-December, 2014 ) > List of Articles


Physiotherapy on the Complications of Head and Neck Cancer: Retrospective Study

Rogerio Eduardo Tacani, Aline Fernanda Perez Machado, João Carlos G Sampaio Goes, Angela Gonçalvez Marx, Juliana Pereira Franceschini, Pascale Mutti Tacani

Citation Information : Tacani RE, Machado AF, Goes JC, Marx AG, Franceschini JP, Tacani PM. Physiotherapy on the Complications of Head and Neck Cancer: Retrospective Study. Int J Head Neck Surg 2014; 5 (3):112-118.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10001-1195

Published Online: 01-12-2014

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2014; The Author(s).



Physiotherapy has an important role in cancer rehabilitation, particularly with the head and neck cancer patients, in an attempt to minimize the morbidities caused by the disease and its treatment.


To determine the role of physiotherapy treatment in morbidities of head and neck cancer, in a retrospective investigation, at one oncologic hospital.

Materials and methods

Retrospective study based on the analysis of medical records of 32 patients treated at the outpatient Physiotherapy department at the Brazilian Institute of Cancer Control (IBCC), from August 2008 to July 2010.


Twenty-nine medical records were evaluated, 86.2% were males with cancer in the oral cavity (41.4%) that had radical neck dissection (69%) and radiotherapy (86.2%), evolving with lymphedema (89.7%), pain (82.8%), normotrophic scar (65.5%), tissue adherence (27.6%) and hypoesthesia (51.7%). The physiotherapeutic treatment included: manual lymphatic drainage (89.7%), transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS; 51.7%), mechanical massage therapy (37.9%), stretching exercises (79.3%) and patient education (100%). The results showed a reduction of pain and lymphedema, increased normotrophic scars and normoesthesia, with an average of 19.3 ± 14.5 sessions and treatment discharge of 65.5%.


Physical therapy in morbidities of head and neck cancer was effective in reducing pain and lymphedema, combining manual lymphatic drainage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), mechanical massage therapy, stretching exercises and patient education, with an average of 19 sessions and discharge after treatment.

How to cite this article

Tacani RE, Machado AFP, Goes JCGS, Marx AG, Franceschini JP, Tacani PM. Physiotherapy on the Complications of Head and Neck Cancer: Retrospective Study. Int J Head Neck Surg 2014;5(3):112-118.

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