Measurements are used to quantify the presence and severity of lymphedema and follow the response to treatment. (Woods,2008). Typically limb volume is measured on initial assessment, and two weeks after intensive therapy (Lymphodema Framework, 2006;ILF, 2012). Dominant limbs should be noted, as swelling is considered present where there is a measurable difference of more than 2cm (10% or 20mls).
There are two types of validated surface measurements;
Records the circumference and basic information of differences between limbs, may provide indication for garments, use for continuing evaluation
Limb Volume Measurement
More detailed circumference at 4cm intervals, limb volume determined by entering measurement into lymphcalculator which mathematically calculates excess volume of fluid as a percentage. (Chen et al, 2008; Ng and Munnoch, 2010).
There are many manufactures of garments the CHHC use and some of these companies provide specific measuring sheets for made to measure garments to ensure the correct size, fitting and measurements are taken for each order.
All CHHC therapists record surface measurements in precisely the same way using specific landmarks, spring-loaded tapes, not too tight or too loose, recording exact circumferences.