The Efficacy Of Complete Decongestive Therapy Versus Low Level Laser Therapy For Lymphedema Treatment

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Review of the Efficacy of Complete Decongestive Therapy versus Low Level Laser Therapy for Lymphedema Treatment Introduction: Lymphedema is a common condition that causes the extremities become swollen due to fluid buildup in soft tissues. Lymphedema progresses in four stages: the dormant stage, stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3. Both the dormant stage and stage one are reversible because they cause no damage to the surrounding soft tissue; however, stages 2 and 3 cause permanent damage. Symptoms of lymphedema include limb heaviness, pain, weakness, and elevated skin temperature.1 No cure exists for lymphedema, therefor constant management of symptoms is needed. Lymphedema often occurs following breast cancer treatments such as radiation therapy or mastectomy, which is referred to as secondary lymphedema. According to Iuchi et al,2 lymphedema treatment success depends on reducing the progression and extent of swelling and improving the affected patients quality of life. Researchers use objective measurements such as water displacement, circumferential measurement, perometry, and bioelectrical impedance to quantify the volume of an affected limb due to swelling. Subjective measures used to assess quality of life (QOL) present challenges in determining the effectiveness of a certain treatment modality. Researchers incorporate standardized questionnaires to try and assess a treatments success subjectively. Complete decongestive therapy (CDT), which includes compression bandaging,

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