The Comparison of Two Different Physiotherapy Methods in Treatment of Lymphedema after Breast Surgery


Background. The aim of this study was to compare two different physiotherapy methods in the treatment of lymphedema after breast surgery.

Methods. This study was performed on 53 patients who had developed unilatreral lymphedema after the breast cancer treatment. Twenty-seven patients served as the experimental group and were treated with complex decongestive physiotherapy (CDP) applications including lymph drainage, multi layer compression bandage, elevation, remedial exercises and skin care. Twenty-six patients in the control group were treated with standard physiotherapy (SP) applications including bandage, elevation, head–neck and shoulder exercises and skin care. Both groups were recommended a home program consisting of compression bandage exercises, skin care and walking. Patients were taken to a therapy program once a day; 3 days a week for 4 weeks. The range of motion, circumferential measurement, and volumetric measurement were assessed before and after treatment.

Results. The overall improving in the CDP group was shown to be greater than the SP group but when the evaluation results of both groups were compared before and after treatment, a significant statistical difference in edema according to circumferential and volumetric measurements results was found in favor of the CDP group (p < 0.05).

Conclusion. In the patients with upper extremity lymphedema, the shoulder mobility can be increased and edema can be decreased by the use of complex physiotherapy programs.

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Correspondence to Karadіbak Dіdem.

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Dіdem, K., Ufuk, Y.S., Serdar, S. et al. The Comparison of Two Different Physiotherapy Methods in Treatment of Lymphedema after Breast Surgery. Breast Cancer Res Treat 93, 49–54 (2005).

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  • complex decongestive physiotherapy
  • lymphedema