A study looking at passive movement during breast reconstruction surgery

Please note - this trial is no longer recruiting patients. We hope to add results when they are available.

Cancer type:

Breast cancer





This study is looking at the effects of gently moving a woman’s arms and legs during a breast reconstruction operation to see if it helps to reduce pain after surgery.

After a long car or plane journey you may feel stiff and uncomfortable with aches and pains in your back, arms or legs. If you have a long operation, you may have similar pain to this. The pain isn’t permanent but can last for several days.

Researchers would like to know if gently moving a patient’s arms or legs during surgery will reduce this pain and help them recover more quickly. A team of physiotherapists Open a glossary item have put together a set of gentle arm and leg movements that can be carried out while someone is under a general anaesthetic Open a glossary item. Having someone move your arms or legs when you can’t is called passive movement.

The study team will recruit women with breast cancer who have already had surgery to remove their breast (a mastectomy), and are now having surgery to make a new breast shape (a breast reconstruction). Half the women taking part will have passive movement during their surgery. This won’t affect their surgery in any way.

The aim of the study is to see if passive movement during a long operation can reduce pain and improve recovery. You may not have any benefit from taking part in this study. But information from this study may be used to help people having surgery in the future.

Who can enter

You may be able to enter this study if you are female and

You cannot enter this study if you are

  • Taking regular painkillers for long term pain
  • Allergic to any of the painkillers or the anaesthetic drugs Open a glossary item used to put you to sleep for your surgery – you can ask your doctor about this

Trial design

This randomised study will recruit 142 women into 2 groups. Neither you nor your doctor can decide which group you are in. And neither of you will know which group you are in.

If you are in group 1 you will have 2 sets of passive movement during your surgery - once during a natural break in your surgery and once before you are taken to the recovery ward. Each set of passive movement will last 5 minutes.

If you are in group 2 you will have surgery as normal without any passive movement.

The study team will compare how well women in each group recover after surgery. During the first 5 days after your operation, they will ask you about any pain you might have and give you medication to treat this. They will also look at other parts of your recovery such as how well you can walk or do things for yourself.

You fill out a short questionnaire on the 1st, 3rd and 5th day, asking about any side effects and how you have been feeling. These are called quality of life studies. The questionnaire will take about 10 minutes to complete, and a researcher will help you if you wish. If you leave hospital on day 4, the researcher will call you on day 5 and complete the questionnaire with you over the phone.

If you have any problems with your new breast and need further surgery, you will not be able to carry on in the study. But the team will use the information they collected up until that point.

Hospital visits

You do not need to make any extra hospital visits to take part in this study.

Side effects

You should not have any side effects as a result of taking part in this study.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Julian Giles

Supported by

NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme
Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 11004

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Harriet wanted to try new treatments

Picture of Harriet

“I was keen to go on a clinical trial. I wanted to try new cancer treatments and hopefully help future generations.”

Last reviewed:

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