The effect of the combined use of complex decongestive therapy with electrotherapy modalities for the treatment of breast cancer-related lymphedema: a randomized clinical trial.
Summary: This study evaluated the effects of combined complex decongestive therapy (CDT) with electrotherapy in the treatment of patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL).
Conclusion: In patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema, treatment with combined complex decongestive therapy with electrotherapy can provide improvements.
Background: We evaluated the effects of combined complex decongestive therapy (CDT) with electrotherapy modalities (ultrasound and faradic currents) in patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL), investigating upper extremity circumference, volume, pain, and functional disability.
Methods: Thirty-nine patients with unilateral BCRL were randomly allocated to three groups (n = 13) as the following: The control group received CDT, the ultrasound group received CDT and therapeutic ultrasound, and the faradic group received CDT and faradic current. All the participants underwent treatment for 10 sessions. The outcomes including volume, circumference (measured at five points), pain intensity, and functional disability of the affected upper extremity were evaluated at baseline and after the treatment.
Results: Following the treatment, an improvement was noted in lymphedema volume, pain, and functional disability in all the three groups and there was a significant difference between the groups (P < 0.05). However, changes in limb circumference at the end of the treatment were not significantly different among the three groups in any sites (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: The combination of electrotherapy modalities, faradic current or ultrasound, with CDT can result in a greater reduction in lymphedema volume, pain, and functional disability in patients with BCRL. Background: IRCT, IRCT201310292391N14, registered 03/01/2016.