Is the Effect of Complex Decongestive Therapy the Same for Primary and Secondary Lower Lymphedema?

Abakay H., Dogan H., Calis H. T., Akbayrak T.

Lymphatic Research and Biology, vol.19, no.2, pp.165-174, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1089/lrb.2020.0023
  • Journal Name: Lymphatic Research and Biology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.165-174
  • Keywords: lymphedema of the lower extremities, physical therapy modalities, quality of life
  • Kayseri University Affiliated: No


Background: The aim was to compare edema and quality of life (QOL) after complex decongestive therapy (CDT) in two types of lymphedema: primary lower limb lymphedema (PLL) and secondary lower limb lymphedema (SLL). Methods and Results: Participants with PLL (n = 20) and SLL (n = 20) were recruited in this prospective single-blinded study. Patients in both groups were treated with CDT for 4 weeks 5 days a week. The amount of edema in their lower extremities was assessed by circumference measurement. The QOL for the patients was evaluated by a Lymphedema Functioning, Disability and Health Questionnaire for Lower Limb Lymphedema (Lymph-ICF-LL) before and immediately following the therapy. There was no significant difference in the volume reductions between the two groups (p > 0.05). Overall initial QOL was significantly lower in patients with PLL than in patients with SLL scores. Post-CDT differed significantly between PLL and SLL groups, QOL was significantly lower for patients with PLL than for patients with SLL scores (p < 0.05). When the changes in both groups were examined, it was found that their QOL increased after the treatment (p < 0.05). Conclusions: While there was no difference in the amount of edema in both groups, the results of patients with SLL were more positive than patients with PLL in terms of QOL. Lymphedema therapists should approach patients with different therapeutic considerations specific to each type of lymphedema before using CDT in clinical practice.