Compression therapy is a common method for treating breast cancer–related lymphedema. However, no specific evidence exists to guide practitioners on the morbidity of lymphedema, limb volume, and range of motion.
The aims of this study were to compare the effects of compression therapy and routine nursing during the treatment of breast cancer–related lymphedema and to provide a basis for better clinical decision-making.
The PubMed, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, Web of Science, CBM, CNKI, Wanfang, and VIP databases were searched through January 21, 2021. Meta-analysis and description of the outcomes were performed by using the RevMan 5.3 software.
A total of 17 studies were included. A meta-analysis of 13 studies was conducted. The experimental group had a lower morbidity of lymphedema, the difference was significant, and there was no heterogeneity (P < .05; odds ratio, 0.35, I2 = 31%). There was no significant difference between the experimental group and control group in limb volume, and there was significant heterogeneity (P = .44, mean difference = 4.51, I2 = 85%). Regarding range of motion, the standardized mean difference of shoulder adduction, shoulder lift, shoulder abduction, and shoulder extension were 1.37, 0.69, 0.56, and 0.87, respectively, and the differences were significant; there was heterogeneity (P < .05, I2 = 92%).
Compression therapy can reduce the morbidity of lymphedema and improve limb movement, but the effect on limb volume needs to be further explored.
Implication for Practice
In terms of therapeutic effectiveness and limb function, the results provide evidence that physicians can reduce the morbidity of lymphedema, reduce the degree of limb, and increase limb mobility by applying compression therapy.