The efficacy of manual lymphatic drainage therapy in the management of limb edema secondary to reflex sympathetic dystrophy

  • Iltekin DumanEmail author
  • Ayten Ozdemir
  • Arif Kenan Tan
  • Kemal Dincer
Original Article


The objective of this study is to investigate the efficacy of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) therapy in edema secondary to the reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). A total of 34 patients were allocated randomly into two groups. All of the patients undertook nonstreoidal anti-inflammatory drug, physical therapy and therapeutic exercise program for 3 weeks. Patients in study group undertook MLD therapy additionally. Then the patients continued 2-month maintenance period with recommended home programs. Volumetric measurements pain scores and functional measurements were assessed at baseline, after treatment and 2 months after the treatment. After treatment, improvement in edema was statistically significant in the study group but not in the control group. At follow-up, with respect to baseline, improvements were not significant in both of the groups. Between the groups, difference of the percentage improvements in edema was statistically significant with superiority of MLD group after treatment, but not significant at follow-up. In this pilot study, MLD therapy was found to be beneficial in the management of edema resulted from RSD. Although the long-term results showed tendency towards improvement, the difference was not significant.


Reflex sympathetic dystrophy Complex regional pain syndrome Manual lymphatic drainage therapy Complex decongestive physiotherapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iltekin Duman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ayten Ozdemir
    • 1
  • Arif Kenan Tan
    • 1
  • Kemal Dincer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationGulhane Military Medical AcademyAnkaraTurkey

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