Compression is an Important Part of Lymphoedema Management
Compression therapy plays a key role in both phases of lymphoedema management. Compression is applied to help move the extra fluid out of the affected limb and to keep it from coming back into the limb. The fluid is helped to move into the lymphatic system as the compression applies pressure from the outside. Once the fluid is in the lymphatic system, it is filtered and the clean fluid is returned to the blood. To understand more about the lymphatic system, click here.
There are a number of different types of products that are used for compression.
In phase 1 (the intensive phase), the aim is to reduce the swelling by decongesting the weakened or damaged lymphatic pathways through manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). The compression types most commonly used are:
- Short-stretch compression bandages applied during multi-layer lymphoedema bandaging
- Wrap compression system
The aim of the long-term management phase (phase 2) is to maintain the results already achieved in phase 1 and by using compression try to prevent any fluid from returning and causing more swelling (known as rebound oedema). The compression types most commonly used are: