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Relevance of low-pressure compression corsets in physiotherapeutic treatment of patients after mastectomy and lymphadenectomy

Authors Hansdorfer-Korzon R, Teodorczyk J, Gruszecka A, Wydra J, Lass P

Received 12 March 2016

Accepted for publication 4 May 2016

Published 4 July 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 1177—1187

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PPA.S108326

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Rita Hansdorfer-Korzon,1 Jacek Teodorczyk,2 Agnieszka Gruszecka,3 Jacek Wydra,4 Piotr Lass2,5

1Department of Physiotherapy, 2Depart­ment of Nuclear Medicine, 3Department of Informatics and Statistics, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, 4Department of Oncological Surgery, “Szpital Morski im. PCK” Hospital in Gdynia, 5Department of Molecular Spectroscopy, Institute of Experimental Physics, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland

Abstract: There is no fully effective treatment for secondary lymphedema. In patients with breast cancer, lymphedema may present immediately after axillary dissection or years later. It typically occurs in a limb (such as an arm), but it can also occur in the torso, especially in breast cancer patients. It is, therefore, essential to prevent or minimize the condition. The currently used compression therapy has varying efficiency. Thus, researchers are still looking for better solutions, especially for primary prevention. The aim of this study was to find whether compression corsets therapy with a class I compression garment could prevent truncal lymphedema on the operated side in females who underwent mastectomy and axillary lymph node dissection as the standard of care for breast cancer treatment without subsequent reconstruction. We also investigated whether this therapy is efficient in prevention and treatment of truncal lymphedema in patients who underwent mastectomy and additional radiotherapy, and finally whether this method could be implemented for pain reduction strategies in this treatment group. The study was carried out in 50 randomly selected breast cancer patients classified by the oncologist as candidates for surgery. The final study was completed in 37 patients who underwent mastectomy and lymphadenectomy. The study group was randomly divided into two subgroups: subgroup G (received compression corsets 1 month following the surgery) and subgroup K (control) in which the patients underwent no physiotherapeutic treatment. The size of truncal lymphedema was measured using ultrasound in presentation B. Measurements were carried out symmetrically on both sides of the chest wall. The patients were examined four times. The follow-up was for 7 months in total. After the second measurement, a randomly selected subgroup of patients received properly fitted compression corsets, which they had to wear throughout the study, whereas the control subgroup had no physiotherapy treatment. The results were statistically analyzed. In both subgroups, we analyzed the reduction of pain using a visual analog scale. The results strongly suggest that when properly fitted, class I compression corsets not only are an effective treatment for lymphedema but also could be used for antiedematous prevention in patients who underwent removal of axillary lymph nodes as well as radiotherapy. Results of these studies have also confirmed that the use of compression corsets could reduce pain associated with surgical treatment of breast cancer.

Keywords: breast cancer, lymphedema, compression

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