Rehabilitation Practice and Science


Background: Breast Cancer Related Lymph edema (BCRL) is the progressive swelling of the affected upper extremity and adjacent trunk complication following breast cancer surgery. Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a novel therapy, going beyond conventional rehabilitation modalities, that is effective in BCRL recovery. However, most of the current studies on the efficacy of ESWT assess skin thickness by skin fold caliper and subjective visual judgment, which makes it difficult to measure the true thickness of the tissue. The present report evaluates the clinical effect of ESWT treatment on the arm circumference via skin fold caliper, thickness of skin, subcutaneous tissue, and muscle by sonographic technique. Case: We focus on a case of a 45-year-old woman with s progressive development of edema of the left upper extremity after the modified radical mastectomy, who showed dramatic improvement in range of motion, a decreasing difference in arm circumference, subcutaneous tissue thickness and skin thickness between the two sides after two months ESWT treatment. We found that ESWT is effective in reducing arm circumference, skin thickness and lymph edema and facilitating ROM and ADL for patient with chronic Lymph edema (LE).