Complete Decongestive Therapy Management of Arm Lymphedema

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Complete Decongestive Therapy Management of Arm Lymphedema

Postby patoco » Thu Mar 08, 2007 11:37 am

The Importance of Complete Decongestive Therapy in the Management of Arm Lymphedema.

Two new abstracts

March 2007


Efficacy of complete decongestive therapy and manual lymphatic drainage on treatment-related lymphedema in breast cancer.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Mar 1

Koul R, Dufan T, Russell C, Guenther W, Nugent Z, Sun X, Cooke AL.
Department of Radiation Oncology, CancerCare Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada.

Objective: To evaluate the results of combined decongestive therapy and manual lymphatic drainage in patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema.

Methods and Materials: The data from 250 patients were reviewed. The pre- and posttreatment volumetric measurements were compared, and the correlation with age, body mass index, and type of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy was determined. The Spearman correlation coefficients and Wilcoxon two-sample test were used for statistical analysis.

Results: Of the 250 patients, 138 were included in the final analysis. The mean age at presentation was 54.3 years. Patients were stratified on the basis of the treatment modality used for breast cancer management. Lymphedema was managed with combined decongestive therapy in 55%, manual lymphatic drainage alone in 32%, and the home program in 13%.

The mean pretreatment volume of the affected and normal arms was 2929 and 2531 mL. At the end of 1 year, the posttreatment volume of the affected arm was 2741 mL.

The absolute volume of the affected arm was reduced by a mean of 188 mL (p < 0.0001). The type of surgery (p = 0.0142), age (p = 0.0354), and body mass index (p < 0.0001) were related to the severity of lymphedema.

Conclusion: Combined decongestive therapy and manual lymphatic drainage with exercises were associated with a significant reduction in the lymphedema volume.

PMID: 17175115 [PubMed - in process] ... s=17175115


Lymphedema Therapy Reduces the Volume of Edema and Pain in Patients with Breast Cancer.

Ann Surg Oncol. 2007 Mar 8

Hamner JB, Fleming MD.
Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, 956 Court Avenue, Room G228, Memphis, Tennessee, 38163,

BACKGROUND: Despite recent advances in breast-conserving surgery, upper-extremity lymphedema remains a problem for patients after the treatment of breast cancer. This study examines the results of a protocol of therapy for lymphedema in breast cancer patients.

METHODS: A total of 135 patients with lymphedema after breast cancer treatment were provided a protocol of complete decongestive therapy (CDT). This involved manual lymphatic drainage, compression garments, skin care, and range-of-motion exercises. Therapy was divided into an induction phase involving twice-weekly therapy for 8 weeks and maintenance therapy individualized to patient needs. Absolute volume and percentage of volume of lymphedema was compared before and after treatment. Also assessed was the degree of chronic pain and the need for pain medication.

RESULTS: Mean initial lymphedema volume was 709 mL, and the percentage of lymphedema was 31%. The induction phase of CDT reduced this to 473 mL and 18%, respectively. Before therapy, 76 patients had chronic pain and 41 required oral pain medication. CDT reduced this to 20 and 11, respectively. The degree of pain was also assessed on a numerical scale from 0 to 10. Those patients with chronic pain initially rated their pain at an average of 6.9. After treatment, this was reduced to 1.1.

CONCLUSIONS: Lymphedema continues to be a problem for patients with breast cancer. A program of lymphedema therapy can reduce the volume of edema and reduce pain in this population.

PMID: 17342565 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] ... med_docsum


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