Lymphoedema Research

Lymphoedema Research

Lymphoedema Research Group
Completed Trials
Research Group Members

The Flinders Lymphoedema Research Group focuses on prevention, assessment, treatment and the management of lymphoedemas with the aim of improving patient outcomes by reducing the incident of clinically manifest lymphoedemas. 

The group generally undertakes research related to lymphoedema as a sequelae to malformation, damage or destruction of the lymphatic system, the latter associated with the surgical; and radio therapeutical treatment for cancer. The group also undertakes general research relating to improving our understanding of the structure and function of the lyphatic system with the main aim being to determine and explore ways to improve its functioning. There is a yearly feed in of MD students as well from the graduate entry medical program, who as part of an elective in their course undertake research or review various aspects of the lymphatic system relevant to their interest.

A comparison of IPC for the treatment of chronic unit and bi-lateral Lymphoedema of the legs

This study aims to objectively examine the effect of two different forms of intermittent pneumatic (air based) external compression on lymphoedema of the legs originating from surgical or radio-therapeutical interventions as part of cancer treatment.

The IPC will be used by patients in their homes with regular visits to the Flinders Lymphoedema Assessment Clinic to chart their progression. Objective measurement techniques include: Perometry (which can measure limb volumes and circumferences every few mms), Indurometry (which measures the resistance of the tissues to compression), Bio-impedance Spectroscopy (which measures limb fluid content) and a range of subjective assessments to check their impact on the patient’s quality of life.

This study is in association with Tactile Systems Technology Inc. and managed through Flinders Partners.

Investigators: Jan Douglass, Neil Piller, Marielle Esplin, Malou van Zanten

Impact of breathing and Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) on bags under the eyes

This study aims to elucidate the changes which have occurred in the tissues in the lead up to what is commonly called “bags under the eyes” or less nicely “raccoon eyes” and of the effects of MLD on the face.

This study involves a range of objective assessment techniques, including assessment of skin moisture (Moisturemeter D, transcutaneous fluid loss (vapometer), total fluids (Bio-impedance spectosopy)), skin colour and blood flow (IR imaging and periflux) as well as subjective questioning.

The study is being conducted in collaboration with Proctor and Gamble in the UK and USA through Flinders Partners.

Investigators: Jan Douglass, Neil Piller, MarielleEsplin, Malou van Zanten

Impact of vibration on lymphoedema and associated pathologies

In the exploratory stage, this study aims to determine the optimal way to apply vibration to the superficial tissues to reduce fluid accumulation and to assist the lymphatic system in its removal. Currently the project is at the information gathering stage and the team are working in association with CT Health Care of Queensland.

This project is managed through Flinders Partners.

Investigators: Ms Rachel Dawson, Neil Piller

Lymphoedema Assessment equipment development and validation

For many years an instrument called a “tonometer” was the mainstay of easy and portable objective measurement of fibrotic changes in the superficial tissues. Subsequent to development work in the Biomedical Engineering Department at Flinders Medical Centre (Mark McEwen, Olivia Lockwood and Anne-Loiuse Smith) the team have developed an electronic indurometer, which is easier to use, able to be used in any position and is capable of electronic logging of data.

Aspects of this project, including cross validation with the original tonometer and inter and intra measurer studies are undertaken by Graduate Entry Medical Program, Lymphatics Elective Research students.