Compression Sleeves Found to Lessen Arm Swelling in Patients Undergoing Surgery for Breast Cancer

Findings from an Indian report published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggest that the prophylactic use of compression sleeves lowers the risk of arm swelling in patients with breast cancer undergoing axillary lymph node dissection. Women at Tata Memorial Hospital were randomized from February to December 2018 into 2 groups to either use compression sleeves (n = 152) or the control group (n = 149) in addition to routine postoperative care. Those in the compression sleeves cohort were given 2 sleeves to be worn postoperatively until 3 months following the completion of adjuvant treatments. The primary endpoint of the study was the development of arm swelling based on bioimpedance spectroscopy in the first year post surgery.

Arm swelling occurred in 58 patients in the compression group compared with 80 patients in the control group, according to the bioimpedance spectroscopy. The estimated cumulative incidence at 1 year was 42% (95% CI = 34%–51%) vs 52% (95% CI = 44%–61%). A multivariate analysis showed that neoadjuvant chemotherapy (HR = 1.79, P = .004) and older age (HR = 1.04, P < .001) were considerably associated with time to first swelling event. It was concluded that in women at high risk for lymphedema in the first year following surgery for breast cancer, the prophylactic use of compression sleeves lessened and delayed the occurrence of arm swelling vs the control group.

Stenger M. Compression Sleeves to Reduce Risk of Arm Swelling in Women Undergoing Surgery for Breast Cancer.
Published February 9, 2022. Accessed April 26, 2022.

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