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The Effects of Clinical and Home‐based Physiotherapy Programs in Secondary Head and Neck Lymphedema

Ozdemir, Kadirhan
Keser, Ilke
Duzlu, Mehmet
Erpolat, Ozge P.
Saranlı, Uluç
Tutar, Hakan
Objectives/Hypothesis: To determine the effects of complex decongestive physiotherapy (CDP) and home programs on external lymphedema, staging of lymphedema, fibrosis, and three-dimensional (3D) surface scanning and volume evaluation in head and neck lymphedema. Study Design: A prospective randomized controlled study. Methods: Twenty-one patients were randomly divided into three groups: CDP (n:7), home program (n:7), and control (n:7). Assessment methods were applied at baseline and 4 weeks later for all groups. MD. Anderson Cancer Center Head and Neck Lymphedema Protocol was implemented to evaluate head and neck external lymphedema, staging of lymphedema, and fibrosis. A 3D scanner and a software were used to determine and calculate the volume of the head and neck region via 3D surface scanning. Head and neck external lymphedema and fibrosis assessment criteria were performed to evaluate visible soft tissue edema and the degree of stiffness. Results: The severity and volume of lymphedema decreased in the CDP program group (P <.05). Besides, external lymphedema and fibrosis at submental region were decreased in both CDP program and home program groups (P <.05). Conclusions: While the benefits of home program are limited, a CDP program may be more effective in the management of lymphedema and fibrosis in patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer. The clinical trial registration number: NCT04286698, date: 02/25/2020, retrospectively registered. Level of Evidence: 4 Laryngoscope, 2020. © 2020 American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society Inc, “The Triological Society” and American Laryngological Association (ALA)