Effects of physical activity on the lymphatic system of patients with secondary lymphoedema following breast cancer surgery

Romain Barbieux, Julie Redaway, Pauline De Backer, Caroline Thomas, Mirela Mariana Roman, Olivier Leduc, Albert Leduc, Pierre Bourgois, Steven Provyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Introduction : A good practice of physical activity has shown numerous benefi ts for the patients during and after treatment for breast cancer. However, in the case of lymphedema, physical activity has not been recommended until recently. The
purpose of this study is to observe the effects of physical activity on the lymphatic system in patients with a breast cancer related lymphedema (BCRL).

Methods : 3 phased lymphoscintigraphy exams of both upper limbs of 122 patients with unilateral BCRL were analyzed using evaluation criteria for lymphatic fl ow, development of collaterals and their extension towards the root of the limb.

Results : In 0.8% of cases, the axillary (Ax) lymphatic nodes (LNs) are seen in phase 1 (after 30 minutes in resting condions) vs. 27 % of cases in phase 2 (after 15 minutes of exercise) and 65 % of cases in phase 3 (after one hour of normal
activities). In 58 % of cases, lymphatic collaterals (dermal backflow or particular LNs) are seen in phase 2 vs. 75 % in phase 3. The collaterals are extended to the axilla in 17 % of cases in phase 2 vs. 46 % in phase 3.

Discussion : under certain conditions, maintaining a light level of physical activity could improve the lymphatic drainage in the lymphedematous limb of patients with a BCLR.

Conclusion : the lymphatic flow, the development of collaterals
and the extension of those collaterals seem to be increased
by physical activity.
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)53-61
JournalMains Libres
Volume3
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Lymphedema
  • Physical Activity
  • lymphoscintigraphy
  • lymphatic drainage
  • physical treatment
  • Physiotherapy

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