A prospective study of L-Dex values in breast cancer patients pretreatment and through 12 months postoperatively

Sheila H. Ridner, Mary S. Dietrich, Kandace Spotanski, Jennifer K. Doersam, Michael S. Cowher, Bret Taback, Sarah McLaughlin, Nicolas Ajkay, John Boyages, Louise Koelmeyer, Sarah DeSnyder, Chirag Shah, Frank Vicini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Data regarding pretreatment, bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) L-Dex® values for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer, and longitudinal data 12 months postoperatively are lacking. This study describes L-Dex values at the time of breast cancer diagnosis and maximum L-Dex change within 12 months of surgery.

Methods and results: Patients were enrolled in a parent, clinical trial that compares the effectiveness of BIS for early detection of breast cancer-related lymphedema to tape measurement. A total of 280 women with a pretreatment and at least one postoperative L-Dex measurement (within 12 months of surgery) were included. Pretreatment L-Dex readings were compared with population norms and maximum L-Dex changes within 12 months were examined. An L-Dex U400 device was used to obtain BIS measurements. The documented normative mean value using this device is 0.00, which is at the 49th percentile for this sample. Approximately 6% of patients had a pretreatment L-Dex value of ≥7.0; 1.8% had an L-Dex value ≥10.0. For 12 months, 17.1% (n = 48) of patients had a maximum change in L-Dex value from pretreatment of ≥7.0 L-Dex units, suggestive of clinical lymphedema.

Conclusions: At the time of breast cancer diagnosis, L-Dex values are similar to normative values. Identified maximum changes in L-Dex values 12 months postoperatively suggest that frequent L-Dex measurements during that time frame are of potential clinical benefit. Our findings are consistent with research supporting an L-Dex value of ≥7 as indicative of clinical lymphedema with subclinical lymphedema logically occurring at somewhat lower likely, near ≥6.5

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalLymphatic Research and Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • bioimpedance
  • breast cancer
  • detection
  • lymphedema


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