, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 463-468

Effectiveness of the treatment-phase of two-phase complex decongestive physiotherapy for the treatment of extremity lymphedema

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Abstract

Background

Complex decongestive physiotherapy (CDP) consists of a two-phase treatment program and is the international standard therapy for lymphedema. However, this therapy is not performed at most hospitals in Japan.

Methods

The subjects of the present study were 82 Japanese women with lymphedema of an extremity (median age, 64 years; range, 40–86 years). The volume of the affected extremity was compared before and after therapy, and the duration of the CDP treatment phase and rate of edema reduction were ascertained. The associations between the effect of CDP and duration of lymphedema, operative procedure, and radiotherapy were also investigated.

Results

For patients with upper-extremity lymphedema, the median duration of the CDP treatment phase was 6 treatment days (range, 3–26 days), median reduction of edema volume was 328.7 ml (range, 76.6–1258.0 ml; P = 0.0014), and median rate of edema reduction was 58.9% (range, 42.7%–97.1%). For patients with lower-extremity lymphedema, the median duration of the CDP treatment phase was 10 treatment days (range, 2–35 days), median reduction of edema volume was 1573.7 ml (range, 293.9–3471.1 ml; P < 0.0001), and median rate of edema reduction was 73.4% (range, 29.2%–117.3%). Although no correlation was seen between duration of lymphedema and duration of the CDP treatment phase or rate of edema reduction, the degree of lymph node dissection tended to influence rate of edema reduction in patients with lower-extremity lymphedema.

Conclusion

In a study of Japanese women with lymphedema, CDP comprising a two-phase treatment program was clearly effective.