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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 41

of 'Clinical staging and conservative management of peripheral lymphedema'

Treatment for lymphedema of the arm--the Casley-Smith method: a noninvasive method produces continued reduction.
Casley-Smith JR, Boris M, Weindorf S, Lasinski B
Cancer. 1998;83(12 Suppl American):2843.
BACKGROUND: This paper gives an outline of the Casley-Smith method for the treatment of lymphedema of the arm. It includes a brief summary of the development of manual techniques and the terminology applied to them.
METHODS: The four principles of this method are skin care, manual lymphatic drainage, compression in the form of bandaging and/or garments, and exercise. The massage techniques, especially where they differ from other schools, are described in some detail, as are the principles that apply in compression and maintenance of reduction in lymphedema.
RESULTS: The results of this method have been analyzed both in Australia and in the United States and are discussed briefly. Mention is made of the benefits of the benzopyrones, which have been used for many years, when added to the above treatment. Both benzopyrones and exercise will produce a continued reduction after the treatment course. They are particularly useful in a less compliant patient. It is stressed that the effect of patient compliance, particularly after treatment, makes a great difference to the ongoing success of the regime.
CONCLUSIONS: A comparison is drawn between the efficacy of various current treatments and their cost. This shows that this combined and conservative method of treatment should be considered before recourse to pumps or surgery. The latter seldom achieve the results of decongestive lymphatic drainage, and, in the long term, they are more expensive. Certain preventive measures may be indicated following, e.g., mastectomies. Prevention of the onset of lymphedema is of extreme importance. However, a return to as normal a lifestyle as possible by the patient is also essential. The earlier treatment begins after the onset of lymphedema, the better the prognosis for the patient. Lymphedema can and should be treated.
Lymphoedema Association of Australia, Malvern, South Australia.