Dini D, Bianchini M, Massa T, Fassio T.
Treatment of upper limb lymphedema after mastectomy with
escine and levo-thyroxine
Minerva Med. 1981 Sep 22;72(35):2319-22. Italian

Lymphoedema of the upper limb is the most serious and most crippling
complication of mastectomy. An account is given of the factors possibly
responsible, and a classification of the different forms is proposed.
When fibrosis has set in, treatment is followed by very disappointing
results, being at best able to bring about a partial,
but transitory reduction in limb volume and consistency. Reference is
also made to results obtained in 70 cases with two substances,
1-thyroxine and escine (somatoline), applied by massotherapy in postural
drainage, ionophoresis, and pressotherapy, according to the requirements of
each case. The results were distinctly satisfactory, though the
outstanding fact was the maintenance of the response throughout many
follow-up controls. It is felt, therefore, that somatoline can be usefully
given in cyclic form, both in cases treated in an early stage,
and also in all patients were lymphoedema is a likely risk after mastectomy.