SF-36 Shows Increased Quality of Life Following Complete Reduction of Postmastectomy Lymphedema with Liposuction

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Arm lymphedema after breast cancer surgery affects women both from physical and psychological points of view. Lymphedema leads to adipose tissue deposition. Liposuction and controlled compression therapy (CCT) reduces the lymphedema completely. Methods and Results: Sixty female patients with arm lymphedema were followed for a 1-year period after surgery. The 36-item short-form health survey (SF-36) was used to assess health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Patients completed the SF-36 questionnaire before liposuction, and after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months. Preoperative excess arm volume was 1365 ± 73 mL. Complete reduction was achieved after 3 months and was sustained during follow-up. The adipose tissue volume removed at surgery was 1373 ± 56 mL. One month after liposuction, better scores were found in mental health. After 3 months, an increase in physical functioning, bodily pain, and vitality was detected. After 1 year, an increase was also seen for social functioning. The physical component score was higher at 3 months and thereafter, while the mental component score was improved at 3 and 12 months. Compared with SF-36 norm data for the Swedish population, only physical functioning showed lower values than the norm at baseline. After liposuction, general health, bodily pain, vitality, mental health, and social functioning showed higher values at various time points. Conclusions: Liposuction of arm lymphedema in combination with CCT improves patients HRQoL as measured with SF-36. The treatment seems to target and improve both the physical and mental health domains.


External organisations
  • Blekinge Hospital
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cancer and Oncology


  • Breast cancer, Liposuction, Lymphedema, Quality of life, SF-36
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
JournalLymphatic Research and Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1
Publication categoryResearch

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