The Efficacy of Kinesiology Taping in the Treatment of Women with Post–Mastectomy Lymphedema: A Systematic Review

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2018



To examine the efficacy of kinesiology taping (KT) in the treatment of women with breast cancer–related post–mastectomy lymphedema.

Study Design:

Systematic review.


Post–mastectomy lymphedema is a common complication in women who have undergone treatment of breast cancer. Breast cancer–related lymphedema has historically been treated with complete decongestive therapy; however, there is no consensus on a gold standard treatment. Kinesiology taping is an alternative intervention that is currently being explored.

Methods and Measures:

Two database searches and a hand search were conducted. Articles were selected on the basis of the defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. All articles were analyzed for quality on the PEDro Scale and a hierarchy of evidence scale.


Eighty-six articles were retrieved from combined database and hand searches from which 14 articles met the inclusion criteria. Scores on a hierarchy of evidence scale ranged from 1b to 3b and on the PEDro scale ranged from 7/10 to 1/10. The outcomes explored in the articles included upper extremity circumference and volume, range of motion, upper extremity and grip strength, pain and discomfort, quality of life, and cost for the patient.


Kinesiology taping effectively treats symptoms related to post–mastectomy lymphedema, and its use can provide an alternative treatment strategy to be used with patients who are noncompliant or have contraindications to traditional lymphedema treatment. Research is still limited, and future research is needed to determine whether and how KT can replace or complement these more conventional treatments.




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