Bioimpedance Spectroscopy for Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema

What is Bioimpedance Spectroscopy for Breast Cancer Related Lymphedema

Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) is a painless test that measures slight changes in fluid levels in the body. The test is done by passing a safe level of electrical current through the body.

In people with breast cancer, BIS is often done to check for an abnormal collection of lymph fluid (lymphedema). This condition can develop in people with breast cancer because the cancer and its treatments can cause the lymphatic system to become blocked or damaged and unable to drain fluid properly. It can cause your arm or arms to swell. BIS may be done to help find lymphedema at an early stage, when it is easier to treat.

When is this test done?

This test may be done:

  • Before you have surgery to remove breast cancer. When the test is done before this surgery, it is called a baseline test.
  • After you have breast cancer surgery. The test may be done every 6 months or at regular intervals to monitor for lymphedema.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • When you last had alcohol, coffee, or tea.
  • When you last ate.
  • When you last drank water.
  • If you have any implanted device in your body.
  • Your exercise habits.
  • Whether or not you smoke.
  • Whether you take medicines that increase the amount of urine that your body makes (diuretic medicines).
  • Your menstrual cycle.

What happens before the procedure?

  • Do notwear metal or jewelry on the day of the procedure.
  • You will need to undress and will be given a gown to wear.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You will be asked to lie down on an exam table.
  • Parts of your hands and feet will be cleaned with an alcohol pad.
  • A pen may be used to mark the places on your hands and feet where sensors (electrodes)will be placed.
  • Several electrodes will be placed on your hands and feet.
  • Wires will be attached to the electrodes.
  • Your arms and legs will be repositioned so they do not touch your upper body.
  • An electrical current will be sent though your body. You will not be able to feel the current.

What happens after the procedure?

  • It is up to you to get the results of your procedure. Ask your health care provider, or the department that is doing the procedure, when your results will be ready. If your test results show an increase in fluid levels in your body, it may mean that lymphedema is starting to occur.

Summary

  • Bioimpedance spectroscopy (BIS) is a painless test that measures slight changes in fluid levels in the body. It is done by passing a safe level of electrical current through your body.
  • The test may be done to help find lymphedema at an early stage, when it is easier to treat.
  • Several electrodes will be placed on your hands and feet.
  • You may have this test done prior to surgery to remove breast cancer. After breast cancer surgery, you may have this test repeated every 6 months or at regular intervals to monitor for lymphedema.
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