Tsai, H.J., Hung, H.C., Yang, J.L., Huang, C.S., & Tsauo, J.Y. (2009). Could Kinesio tape replace the bandage in decongestive lymphatic therapy for breast-cancer-related lymphedema? A pilot study. Supportive Care in Cancer: Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, 17(11), 1353–1360.doi: 10.1007/s00520-009-0592-8
To compare the treatment and retention effects between standard decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT) combined with pneumatic compression and modified DLT in which the use of a short-stretch bandage is replaced with the use of Kinesio tape (K-tape) combined with penumatic compression
Patients were randomly grouped into the DLT group or the modified DLT group. During each treatment session, patients had skin care treatment, 30 minutes of manual lymphatic drainage, one hour of pneumatic compression therapy, application of a short-stretch bandage or K-tape, and 20 minutes of physical therapy. Evaluations were executed before and after the control period, after the intervention period, and after the three-month follow-up. A well-trained physical therapist who was blind to the groupings evaluated all patients.
The study took place in Taiwan.
The study used a randomized, single-blinded, controlled design.
There was no significant difference between groups in all outcome variables (p > 0.05). Excess limb size (circumference and water displacement) and excess water composition were reduced significantly in the bandage group. Excess circumference and excess water composition were reduced significantly in the tape group. The acceptance of K-tape was better than the bandage and benefits included longer wearing time, less difficulty in usage, and increased comfort and convenience (p < 0.05). However, there were more wounds that occurred for those in the K-tape group (p < 0.05).
The study results suggest that K-tape could be an alternative choice for patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema with poor short-stretch bandage compliance after one month of intervention.
The safety of application of K-tape (i.e., wound) needs to be closely monitored. Patients need to be educated regarding how to use K-tape.