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Med J Aust. 1994 Jul 18;161(2):125-8.

Post-mastectomy lymphoedema treatment and measurement.

Author information

1
Wesley Clinic for Haematology and Oncology, Wesley Cancer Care Centre, Auchenflower, Qld.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate multimodal treatment (massage, pneumatic compression, bandaging and education) of post-mastectomy lymphoedema and to review methods of measurement of lymphoedema.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study with 12 months' follow-up.

PATIENTS:

Twenty-five consecutive women referred for lymphoedema examination after mastectomy to a private day-patient clinic attached to a tertiary referral hospital.

INTERVENTION:

Patients received multimodal therapy, including education on self-management techniques, for four weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Changes in body weight, limb circumference and volume, and patient reports of self-management (exercise, massage, bandaging and sleeve wearing).

RESULTS:

Excess limb volume decreased by approximately 40% immediately after treatment and by over 50% at 6 months' follow-up, remaining stable to 12 months' follow-up. Self-management that required assistance (massage and bandage wearing) declined more after treatment than did exercise or compression sleeve wearing. Correlations between body mass and limb volume and self-management and limb volume reduction were non-significant.

CONCLUSION:

Multimodal therapy reduced lymphoedematous limb volume by at least half in 18 of 25 patients. Patients can maintain these reductions independently through exercise and sleeve wearing and without further treatment. We used a replicable method of measuring lymphoedema, which we recommend for adoption by researchers in this field.

PMID:
8028536
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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