Therapy Services

Hands, burns and plastics physiotherapy

The Hands, Burns and Plastic Surgery Physiotherapy Team is a large team of physiotherapists based at the RVI in Newcastle.

We provide physiotherapy services to patients in the North East and Cumbria who are being cared for by a plastic surgery or a burns specialist consultant.


Our team has many years of combined experience, and includes members of the British Association of Hand Therapists and the British Burn Association.

Our therapists work with many other healthcare professionals, and our clinical lead physiotherapist works alongside our consultant clinics to make sure patients receive the best possible services.

We are also supported by a specialist technical instructor who has a workshop to help patients carry out specific work or personal goals.

Plastic surgery

We provide physiotherapy for a wide range of plastic surgery patients who have undergone treatment such as:

  • facial surgery/reanimation
  • brachial plexus (network of nerves running from the spine to the arm) repair and management
  • tendon transfer for lower and upper limb problems
  • breast reconstruction
  • skin grafts and soft tissue reconstruction
  • lower limb trauma.

Regional centre

We work closely with the head and neck surgery team to provide care for patients across the region who suffer from facial palsy (weakness of the facial muscles due to nerve damage), and other head and neck conditions.

We are the regional centre for brachial plexus surgery and rehabilitation. This includes treating patients who have had brachial plexus surgery as well as tendon transfer surgery

We also work with patients who have treatment for skin cancer, making sure they regain their fitness as soon as possible after their operations.

The Physiotherapy Teams works with patients undergoing breast surgery, ensuring they recover as well as possible after operations.

One of our team runs a lymphoedema clinic (a long-term condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissue) once a week to give advice and specialist garments to patients.

Burns

We are a regional centre for the management and rehabilitation of patients with acute burns.

The physiotherapy team works closely with teams of other healthcare professionals, including nursing and medical staff.

We aim to restore movement and function as far as possible. Patients may need respiratory physiotherapy in the early stages of treatment.

Treatment and facilities

Treatment techniques we use include:

  • joint exercises and stretches
  • massage
  • splinting
  • positioning
  • education and advice.

Patients can use our large air-conditioned gym which has a range of exercise equipment. We also have a hydrotherapy pool for use when patients no longer have wounds.

We provide ongoing care for patients - even many years after injury. Our team includes a clinical specialist burns therapist who supports patients in the community when they are discharged from hospital, and works with consultant doctors to provide specialist scar management for patients.

Hand surgery

The hand therapy team provides a regional service to deal with a wide range of complex hand injuries. Common hand conditions we see include:

  • hand trauma, including tendon repairs, fractures, nerve and blood vessel injuries and soft tissue injuries
  • dupuytrens contractures
  • nerve compression syndromes including brachial plexus injuries
  • congenital (from birth) abnormalities
  • soft tissue injuries
  • joint replacements
  • reattachment of a body part and restoration of blood supply.

We provide physiotherapy for all patients staying on the Newcastle Hospitals plastic surgery wards. Treatment is followed up with physiotherapists based in the plastic surgery dressing unit, and in the rehabilitation department.

Treatment techniques

We use a wide range of treatment techniques including:

  • splinting
  • stretching and exercises
  • positioning
  • massage
  • managing swelling
  • pressure garments
  • electrotherapy
  • education and advice.

Everyone on our team is trained to make custom-made splints.

Our main aim is to give patients the best possible function and allow them to continue with their daily activities.

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