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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Trotter

Compelling Evidence that Kinesiology Tape Can Reduce Swelling and Mitigates Pain

For people with certain types of malocclusion a technique referred to as Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion (SARPE) can be used to prepare the palate for transverse expansion using orthodontic appliances. Not surprisingly, and like any surgery, SARPE results in swelling and pain.

In this particular randomised double-blind study with 21 subjects, kinesiology tape (KT) was used as a treatment modality to determine its effects following SARPE.

The methods of assessment were a Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain done daily for 1 week post-surgery and a 3dMD Face System that measured changes in facial swelling volume from preoperative to days 2 and 7 postoperatively.

The KT was applied immediately after surgery and again at day 2 post-surgery.

A single 5cm wide piece of KT cut into 3 fingers were applied from the supraclavicular nodes (the base of the tape) to each finger ending just below the zygomatic arch but crossing lymphatic points crossing cervical, submental, mandibular, submandibular, preauricular, and parotid nodes.

The stretch applied to the tape was about 20%.

The results were that both pain and swelling were significantly lower in the subjects where KT was applied in the 1-week post-operative period.

The theory for use of KT for the purpose of reducing oedema is that the pressure gradients created by lifting of the skin improves blood and lymph flow in areas of congestion.

This study is more extreme than many clinical conditions of swelling but in being so, underscores how KT can improve outcomes as an inexpensive and non-invasive technique.

1. Ulu M1, Gözlüklü Ö2, Kaya Ç1, Ünal N1, Akçay H1. Three-Dimensional Evaluation of the Effects of Kinesio Taping on Postoperative Swelling and Pain after Surgically Assisted Rapid Palatal Expansion.J Oral Maxillofac Res. 2018 Dec 30;9(4):e3. doi: 10.5037/jomr.2018.9403. eCollection 2018 Oct-Dec.

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