Compression therapy involves the use of compression garments and bandages to treat lymphedema, swelling, varicose veins and venous disease. Your therapist will choose the best compression option for you. Here are the options available.
Multi-Layered Compression Wrap
Short Stretch Bandages are an important part of controlling lymphedema. These special bandages have very little elastic in them which allows the swelling to be ‘wrapped’ in a shell that safely pushes lymph fluid in the desired direction, especially when combined with specific exercises.
Your therapist will teach you how to bandage yourself and this will become a vital daily skill in keeping your lymphedema under control. You will always use more than one layer of short stretch bandage. This is how safe and comfortable compression gradient is built up. Practice makes perfect, so keep bandaging daily and you will start to see results.
These brown short stretch bandages can be washed and re-used for up to 8 months. It is important to wash them regularly so that the threads in the bandage spring back and continue to give evenly distributed pressure.
They are available in 4 sizes, 6cm | 8cm | 10cm | 12cm. Your therapist will show you which sizes are needed depending on which part of the body is being treated.
Beneath the short stretch bandages is a layered system of cream, stockinette, cotton roll, foam and/or Juzo SoftCompress Roll. Each layer is important for skin health, protection, gradient and maintaining the correct pressure over a period of 24-72 hours. Stockinette can be washed and reused but foam, cotton and finger bandages must be thrown away and replaced when they show signs of wear and tear. The Juzo SoftCompress Roll is fully washable and reusable. It has the added benefit of stitching that directs lymphatic fluid in the desired direction.
It is important to keep all bandage items clean to reduce the risk of skin infection.
Stockings, sleeves, gloves, chin straps … you name it, there is a garment for each part of the body affected by chronic swelling. These garments are more highly elasticated than the bandages and are for daytime use. It can be dangerous to sleep in a sleeve or stocking so discuss this with your therapist before doing so. The compression strength of a garment (Class I, Class II or Class III) and the size are carefully ordered according to your needs. A poorly fitting garment is uncomfortable and does not give optimum results.
Always give yourself some time to become accustomed to wearing compression, it will new a new sensation at first but over time it becomes easier. If possible, start with 2 hours daily and build up slowly until you are wearing your garment all day.
Even a well fitting garment can irritate sensitive spots like the inside elbow and behind the knee. Using a little corn flour to dust this area before donning your stocking or sleeve can help. Moisturising the skin well with a low pH lotion or cream before applying your night-time bandage will sooth the skin over night.
A huge amount of research and development is going into adjustable (Velcro) garments. These garments can, in some cases, replace the need to bandage. They can be worn during the day or night and, although higher in cost, they make life easier and reduce the time spent ‘wrapping’. They are a fantastic quality of life item for a lymphedema patient, often allowing a patient to care for themselves more independently. They need to be replaced every 8-12 months depending on use.
Custom Made Compression Garments are made specifically for a patient after taking careful measurements. Consider ordering custom made compression if you have an unusual body shape or if you find shop bought compression uncomfortable and ill fitting. When ordering custom made, you will have a choice of fabric, colour and border. Your therapist will discuss all options once measurements are taken. Please always ask for a quote before going ahead with a custom garment order.
These items are not kept in stock, they need to be ordered for each patient according to measurements and takes 2-4 weeks to arrive on the island.
Featured here is JUZO ACS.
You can view compression products here https://islandmedicalmu.com/product-category/compression-therapy-garments