Background: Lymphedema may impact patients' health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The purpose of this study was to evaluate HRQoL after two different treatments to the 12-month follow-up point.
Methods and Results: Study participants were patients with moderate lymphedema in the upper or lower limb who attended a Swedish rehabilitation program (RP) undergoing conservative treatment, or those with severe, chronic lymphedema dominated by excess adipose tissue, who underwent liposuction (LS) combined with controlled compression therapy (CCT) in Australia, Scotland, or Sweden. The patients completed the Lymphedema Quality of Life Inventory (LyQLI) before intervention and after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Mean values and standard deviations were calculated for total limb volume and excess limb volume. Mean values were also calculated for the three LyQLI domains (physical, psychosocial, and practical). To detect and analyze differences in LyQLI responses in the three domains, the Wilcoxon signed rank test was performed. In the RP, 18 eligible patients completed the LyQLI. The results show improvements in HRQoL in physical (p = 0.003) and psychosocial domains (p = 0.002) at 1 month after the RP, with results remaining steady for 12 months for the physical domain (p = 0.024). Fifty-seven eligible LS patients completed the LyQLI. The results show improvements in HRQoL in all three domains (p < 0.001), with results remaining steady up to the 12-month follow-up (p < 0.001). The total volume in affected limb and the excess volume decreased significantly in both patient groups 1 month after intervention (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Treatment with a conservative RP in moderate lymphedema or with LS combined with CCT in severe lymphedema improves HRQoL.