Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Blood Circulation of Upper Limb With Lymphedema After Breast Cancer Surgery

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The purpose of this study was to assess blood flow after manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) in women who had received surgery for breast cancer and had post–axillary lymphadenectomy lymphedema.


Sixteen volunteers (mean age 64 ± 11.44 years) were divided into 2 groups. Those in group 1 received MLD without upper limb elevation, and those in group 2 received MLD with elevation of 30° of the upper limb. Blood flow velocity of the brachial vein and artery were measured using Doppler ultrasound before, immediately after, and 30 minutes after MLD, with and without 30° of upper limb elevation as defined by a random crossover design and an interval (washout) of 7 days. Comparison of data before and after MLD was evaluated by the Friedman test.


There was a significant increase of blood flow velocity in the brachial vein after the therapeutic procedure with upper limb elevation. However, after 30 minutes the data returned to the pretreatment value.


This preliminary study indicated that MLD promoted increased brachial vein velocity flow in the short term.

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