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Yonsei Med J. 2003 Dec 30;44(6):1045-52.

The use of elastic adhesive tape to promote lymphatic flow in the rabbit hind leg.

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Department of Family Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Any method that deforms the skin of the extremities may increase lymphatic flow rate, and may be applied to treat peripheral lymphedema. This study was undertaken to investigate whether or not elastic adhesive tape with passive exercise can increase lymph flow in the rabbit hind leg by effective and periodic skin deformation. Cannulation into a pre-popliteal afferent lymphatic vessel in the lower left leg of 22 male New Zealand White rabbits was performed under a stereomicroscope. After stabilization, lymph was collected at rest or during passive exercise with an electric motor at 60 r.p.m. for 15 minutes and was then measured. Lymph flow rate was calculated and expressed as g/hour. Increase of lymph flow rate due to taping was significant only for passive exercise (p=0.0317). The lymph flow rate increased linearly as the area of tape was increased (p=0.0011), and lymph flow rates were significantly different according to site (p=0.0017). Tape on the anterior aspect of the ankle caused salient deformation and tended to increase the lymph flow rate more so than tape on the dorsum of the foot (p=0.0831). Taping with elastic adhesive tape in passive exercise increased the lymph flow rate in the rabbit hind leg by deforming the skin, which suggests a novel therapeutic method in cases of peripheral lymphedema.

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