by Erkan Kozanoglu, et al, Faculty of Medicine, Cukurova University, Adana, Turkey
Objective: To compare the long-term efficacy of pneumatic compression and low-level laser therapies in the management of postmastectomy lymphoedema.
Design: Randomized controlled trial.
Setting: Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation of Cukurova University, Turkey.
Subjects: Forty-seven patients with postmastectomy lymphoedema were enrolled in the study.
Interventions: Patients were randomly allocated to pneumatic compression (group I, n=24) and low-level laser (group II, n=23) groups. Group I received 2 hours of compression therapy and group II received 20 minutes of laser therapy for four weeks. All patients were advised to perform daily limb exercises.
Main measures: Demographic features, difference between sum of the circumferences of affected and unaffected limbs (▵C), pain with visual analogue scale and grip strength were recorded.
Results: Mean age of the patients was 48.3 (10.4) years. ▵C decreased significantly at one, three and six months within both groups, and the decrease was still significant at month 12 only in group II (P = 0.004). Improvement of group II was greater than that of group I post treatment (P = 0.04) and at month 12 after 12 months (P = 0.02). Pain was significantly reduced in group I only at posttreatment evaluation, whereas in group II it was significant post treatment and at follow-up visits. No significant difference was detected in pain scores between the two groups. Grip strength was improved in both groups, but the differences between groups were not significant.
Conclusions: Patients in both groups improved after the interventions. Group II had better long-term results than group I. Low-level laser might be a useful modality in the treatment of postmastectomy lymphoedema.