Using thermal imaging to measure changes in breast cancer-related lymphoedema during reflexology Judith Anne Whatley, Sally Kay
Published Online:8 Oct 2020https://doi.org/10.12968/bjcn.2020.25.Sup10.S6
BRITISH JOURNAL OF COMMUNITY NURSINGVOL. 25, NO. SUP10
Reflexology lymph drainage (RLD) for breast cancer-related lymphoedema (BCRL) may have a positive impact on arm swelling and pain. Thermal imaging is a means of tracking temperature change by visual images. This study aimed to explore the use of thermal imaging in treatment for BCRL. The swollen arms of two participants with BCRL were photographed using a thermal imaging camera during a single RLD treatment. Limb Volume Circumferential Measurement (LVCM) of both arms was taken before, after and the next day. The images were examined for visual changes, and temperature data were extracted. Images showed differences in temperature within the affected hand and arm over 45 minutes. LVCM data indicated a loss of limb volume in the affected arm in both cases, which continued to decrease over 24 hours. Thus, thermal imaging may be useful in tracking temperature change during treatment for BCRL.
Thermal imaging of breast cancer related lymphoedema
What is it about?
We used thermal imaging to track changes in lymphoedema of the arm after treatment for breast cancer. Reflexology lymph drainage was used to help move and reduce retained fluid, whilst thermal imaging cameras recorded changes in temperature.
Why is it important?
A novel approach of reflexology lymph drainage was used which helps to gently move fluid without making contact with the arm, or sites of surgery. Non invasive and accessible treatments are needed to help prevent build up of lymphoedema and maintain functioning of arm and shoulder post cancer treatment.