What is the effect of treating secondary lymphedema after breast cancer with complete decongestive physiotherapy when the bandage is replaced with Kinesio Textape?

Secondary lymphedema (SL) following breast cancer is a well-known complication following surgery or radiation. SL may result in loss of functional ability, cosmetic deformities, physical discomfort, recurrent episodes of erysipelas, and psychological distress. There is no evidence as to what is the most effective treatment for SL.

This randomized controlled pilot study included 10 patients treated for SL following breast cancer. The patients were included and screened for SL by a physiotherapist. They were randomized to treatment with CDP with Kinesio Textape or bandage for 4 weeks. Endpoints were quality of life, circumference of the arm, costs, and working environment for the physiotherapist.

The two groups were comparable according to baseline data. Outcomes on quality of life, costs, and working environment for the physiotherapist; the treatment with CDP with tape was superior to the CDP with bandage treatment. In regard to reducing the circumference there was no difference.

This randomized controlled pilot study shows that CDP with tape can be an alternative to CDP with bandage. The quality of life is higher, the economy and working environment is better, and the effect measured by circumference is comparable. More RCTs are required to increase the evidence for CDP with tape.

Treating lymphedema with CDP with tape after breast cancer is a good alternative to CDP with bandage and makes it possible to treat more patients with less resources.