Incidence and risk factors for lower limb lymphedema after gynecologic cancer surgery with initiation of periodic complex decongestive physiotherapy

Imari Deura, Muneaki Shimada, Keiko Hirashita, Maki Sugimura, Seiya Sato, Shinya Sato, Tetsuro Oishi, Hiroaki Itamochi, Tasuku Harada, Junzo Kigawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Lower limb lymphedema (LLL) is one of the most frequent postoperative complications of retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy for gynecologic cancer. LLL often impairs quality of life, activities of daily living, sleep, and sex in patients with gynecologic cancer. We conducted this study to evaluate the incidence and risk factors for LLL after gynecologic cancer surgery in patients who received assessment and periodic complex decongestive physiotherapy (CDP). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 126 cases of gynecologic cancer that underwent surgery involving retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy at Tottori University Hospital between 2009 and 2012. All patients received physical examinations to detect LLL and underwent CDP by nurse specialists within several months after surgery. The International Society of Lymphology staging of lymphedema severity was used as the diagnostic criteria. Results: Of 126 patients, 57 (45.2 %) had LLL, comprising 45 and 12 patients with stage 1 and stage 2 LLL, respectively. No patient had stage 3 LLL. LLL was present in 37 (29.4 %) patients at the initial physical examination. Multivariate analysis revealed that adjuvant concurrent chemoradiotherapy and age ≥55 years were independent risk factors for ≥stage 2 LLL. Conclusions: To minimize the incidence of ≥stage 2 LLL, gynecologic oncologists should be vigilant for this condition in patients who are ≥55 years and in those who undergo adjuvant chemoradiotherapy. Patients should be advised to have a physical assessment for LLL and to receive education about CDP immediately after surgery involving retroperitoneal lymphadenectomy for gynecologic cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-560
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 11
Externally publishedYes


  • Complex decongestive physiotherapy
  • Gynecologic cancer
  • Lower limb lymphedema
  • Lymphadenectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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