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Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy

Print version ISSN 1413-3555On-line version ISSN 1809-9246


MEIRELLES, MCCC; MAMEDE, MV; SOUZA, L  and  PANOBIANCO, MS. Evaluation of physiotherapeutic techniques for treating lymphedema following breast cancer surgery in women. Rev. bras. fisioter. [online]. 2006, vol.10, n.4, pp.393-399. ISSN 1413-3555.

GENERAL OBJECTIVE: To verify the effectiveness of lymphedema treatment over a two-year period, in a group of women who underwent breast cancer surgery. Specific objective: To evaluate the volume of the treated arm at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months after the lymphedema treatment. METHOD: The participants were attended at a specialized rehabilitation service. They underwent lymphedema treatment consisting of manual lymphatic drainage and functional compressive bandaging and received guidance regarding self-care, self-massage, elastic sleeve use and exercise. They were evaluated by means of limb volume measurement at the following times: thirty-six women after the intensive phase, twenty-two after six months, fifteen after twelve months, six after eighteen months and eleven after twenty-four months. Adherence to the self-care strategies and exercises was evaluated by means of a questionnaire. Statistical tests were used to seek correlations between lymphedema reduction and some factors such as age, schooling, lymphedema grade, type of surgery, etc. RESULTS: There was a reduction in lymphedema and this was maintained throughout the period analyzed. There was no correlation between lymphedema reduction and factors such as age, marital status, schooling, type of surgery, body mass index, lymphedema grade, radiotherapy, circumference, arterial hypertension or joint limitation. Moreover, most of the women did not adhere to the self-care strategies, arm exercises, self-massage and elastic sleeve use. CONCLUSION: It is important to conduct new studies, for systematic and controlled analysis of the role of this guidance in relation to lymphedema evolution following the intensive phase of treatment.

Keywords : lymphedema; breast neoplasms; rehabilitation.

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