Lymphedema is a condition that occurs when there is a compromise in the drainage of the lymphatic system.
This can usually happen after the removal of lymph nodes post surgery, when the edematous lymphatic fluids get collected in the extremities. Lymphedema can be treated by minimizing the swelling but cannot be cured.
The treatment for Lymphedema includes lymphatic exercise, lymphatic massage, compression garments, compression bandage, decongestion physiotherapy and many others. The compression garments used for lymphedema are discussed in this article.
Elastic compression garments are prescribed by the practitioners to be worn by patients suffering from lymphedema to reduce the swelling (edema). They have to be comfortable and custom-fit based on the discretion of the therapist. These compression garments should be worn 24 hours a day to compress the edematous fluid to be compressed out of the affected limb.
A poorly fitting compression garment can be a cause for severe discomfort and extreme pain. Hence, proper care must be taken under the direct guidance of a physician or a therapist while choosing the measurements of the compression garments for optimal results. They should be replaced periodically depending on the wear. Ridgeline Medical can assist you in proper fitting.
Compression stockings can be of two types. They are circular knit compression stockings and flat knit compression stockings. The circular knit compression stockings are seamless and are knit around a cylinder and have the same number of rows. It is available directly over the shelf and can be purchased on a physician`s order.
The flat knit compression stockings are custom made and knit row by row. It can be made into a number of shapes depending on the individual needs. They are thicker than the circular stockings and also have a seam. These flat knit compression stockings can deliver a precise amount of compression and provides a pressure gradient. Hence, they can be customized for different body shapes.
People Needing Compression Garments:
Compression garments can be used by a varied number of people for added support. They include:
- Patients who are on post-surgical recovery and those having circulatory issues,
- Pregnant women
- Men and women travelling for a long distance.
- Recovering from an active exercise.
- Construction workers
- People with varicose veins.
- Patients with deep vein thrombosis.
- Patients with venous ulcers.
- Patients with lymphedema.
Compression Bandages and Wraps:
Compression bandages and wraps are also available that can be wrapped around as several layers. Paddings are also available to be placed on the affected area. The compression bandages and wraps are usually used along with complex decongestive therapy for treating lymphedema.
The compression garments may become worn out or lose effectiveness and, hence, have to be replaced once every six months. Also, if the instructions are followed properly the edema will also reduce causing the compression garment to become too wide. Continuous monitoring by the health care provider and changing the garment and the stockings as per necessity is mandatory for optimal care.
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