Carmeli, E., & Bartoletti, R. (2011). Retrospective trial of complete decongestive physical therapy for lower extremity secondary lymphedema in melanoma patients. Supportive Care in Cancer, 19(1), 141–147.doi: 10.1007/s00520-009-0803-3
To evaluate long-term effects of completed decongestive therapy (CDT) on lower-extremity lymphedema
Patients who had been treated for lower-extremity lymphedema secondary to melanoma treatment from January 2006 to July 2009 were invited to participate in reevaluation. Patients participated in a interview and measurement of limb circumference. Treatment that had been provided included initial phase 1 treatment (five consecutive days of manual lymph drainage [MLD], compression bandaging, and exercises with bandages) and phase 2 maintenance treatment (skin care, supporting garments, low-stretch bandages, and a set of 10-minute exercises to be done at home). During active phases, patients completed comprehensive assessment via chart items developed by the Italian Lymphedema Association, including demographic and disease data and quality-of-life items rated by patients on a visual analog scale.
The study was conducted at a single-site, outpatient setting in Italy.
A retrospective analysis and follow-up design was used.
Findings showed that from baseline to the end of initial active treatment with CDT, the percent change in limb volume was –34%, and from baseline to the reevaluation for was –17% (p = 0.05). Patients with higher body mass index (BMI) reported significantly lower quality-of-life results (p < 0.05). Sixty percent of patients reported good compliance with the use of garments, bandages, and exercises.
The study provided limited information about longer-term outcomes of patients with lymphedema secondary to melanoma.
Study findings provided minimal information about the longer-term results from CDT for lower-limb lymphedema in patients who had melanoma. Information about management of lower-extremity lymphedema and long-range outcomes related to lymphedema and management approaches is limited. Further research in these areas is needed.