This systematic review aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the validity and reliability of existing measurement instruments for quantifying head and neck lymphedema.
Out of 3362 unique records, eight studies examined the reliability and validity of five measurement instruments of which one patient reported outcome. The Patterson scale for internal lymphedema and the patient reported head and neck external lymphedema and fibrosis (LIDS-H&N) demonstrated validity and reliability. For external lymphedema, none of the instruments had good reliability for all measuring points.
There is a lack of sufficiently reliable and valid measurement instruments for external head and neck lymphedema. The Patterson scale and the patient reported LIDS-H&N seem reliable for clinical practice and research.
Four databases were searched on January 31st, 2022. The COnsensus-based Standards for selecting health Measurement INstruments (COSMIN) checklists were used for the risk of bias (ROB) assessment.