Lymphedema affects up to 50% of all breast cancer survivors. Management with pneumatic compression devices (PCDs) is controversial, owing to the lack of methods to directly assess benefit. This pilot study employed an investigational, near-infrared (NIR) fluorescence imaging technique to evaluate lymphatic response to PCD therapy in normal control and breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) subjects. Lymphatic propulsion rate, apparent lymph velocity, and lymphatic vessel recruitment were measured before, during, and after advanced PCD therapy. Lymphatic function improved in all control subjects and all asymptomatic arms of BCRL subjects. Lymphatic function improved in 4 of 6 BCRL affected arms, improvement defined as proximal movement of dye after therapy. NIR fluorescence lymphatic imaging may be useful to directly evaluate lymphatic response to therapy. These results suggest that PCDs can stimulate lymphatic function and may be an effective method to manage BCRL, warranting future clinical trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics