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A randomized control study of treating secondary stage II breast cancer-related lymphoedema with free lymph node transfer.

TitleA randomized control study of treating secondary stage II breast cancer-related lymphoedema with free lymph node transfer.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsDionyssiou, D., Demiri E., Tsimponis A., Sarafis A., Mpalaris V., Tatsidou G., & Arsos G.
JournalBreast Cancer Res Treat
Date Published2016 Feb
KeywordsAdult, Breast Cancer Lymphedema, Combined Modality Therapy, Female, Humans, Microsurgery, Middle Aged, Physical Therapy Modalities, Surgical Flaps, Treatment Outcome

Microsurgical techniques are increasingly used for treating severe lymphoedema cases. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of free vascularized lymph node transfer (LNT) in stage II breast cancer-related lymphoedema patients in comparison with non-surgical management. During the last 3 years, 83 female patients were examined at our lymphoedema clinic. Finally, 36 cases were included in this study and randomly divided in two groups: group A patients (n = 18, mean age 47 years) underwent microsurgical LNT; followed by 6 months of physiotherapy and compression, while group B patients (n = 18, mean age 49 years) were managed by physiotherapy and compression alone for 6 months. Patients of both groups removed their elastic garments after 6 months and were re-examined 1 year later. All the 36 patients had detailed evaluation of the affected extremity including limb volume measurement, infection episodes and scale scoring of pain, feeling of heaviness and functional status both at baseline and 18 month. Limb volume reduction was observed in both groups; mean reduction was greater in group A (57 %) than in group B (18 %). Infection episodes in group A were significantly reduced compared to those in group B patients. All group A patients reported painless and feeling of heaviness-free extremities with overall functional improvement, while the corresponding changes in group B patients were no more than marginal. Moreover, the LNT procedure was estimated as cost effective compared to conservative treatment alone. LNT represents an effective therapeutic approach for stage II lymphoedema patients; it significantly reduces limb volume, decreases recurrent infections and improves the overall function.

Alternate JournalBreast Cancer Res. Treat.
PubMed ID26895326


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