Measurement of extremity volume is the most commonly used method for evaluation of lymphedema. However, volumetry would be inappropriate for comparing patients with different physiques, because body-type significantly affects extremity volume. Thus, we cannot evaluate using absolute values. To overcome this problem, we developed a simple index of proportion of the upper-extremity volume to total body volume (upper-extremity volume/total body volume ratio [UVR]) for body type–corrected volume evaluation of upper-extremity lymphedema. The purpose of this study was to compare upper-extremity volume and UVR in nonedematous upper extremities and to establish normative values of UVR in adult women.
Eighty-five normal female subjects were included in this study. The average age was 38 ± 12 years, and the average body mass index (BMI) was 21.4 ± 2.9. Volumetry of both upper extremities using water displacement method was tested in all subjects. Upper-extremity volume/total body volume ratio was calculated by dividing upper-extremity volume by total body volume. Total body volume was calculated by dividing body weight (g) by body density (g/mL). We used linear regression equation (body density = 1.0560 − 0.0005 × age) to calculate body density.
UVR of 170 upper extremities averaged 2.580 ± 0.202%. Although there was significant relationship between upper-extremity volume and BMI, there was no relationship between UVR and BMI.
Although further studies are necessary to establish usefulness of UVR, UVR has a potential to allow better body type–corrected volume evaluation for upper-extremity lymphedema.