Graduated Compression Garments Mainstay of Treatment
Compression garments (or sometimes referred to as ‘stockings’) are considered to be the mainstay of treatment for people with lymphoedema. These medical compression garments are mostly used during the long-term management phase to maintain the swelling reduction achieved in phase 1. Not everyone with lymphoedema is required to have intensive treatment and may well be given a compression garment when they are first diagnosed. Compression garments can be effective in controlling early signs of swelling and help to prevent the oedema from worsening.
How do graduated compression garments work?
Graduated compression garments apply external pressure and compress the swollen limb which prevents the fluid from building up and also helps move it to an area that is draining well. They provide support which allows the muscles to pump fluid away more effectively. Compression garments provide graduated compression which means the pressure is stronger at the lower end of the limb (for example the ankle) and decreases as you move up the limb. This encouraging fluid to drain.
What types of compression garments are available?
There is a wide choice of compression garments available and your health care professional will take many factors into account when selecting your compression garment. In general, compression garments are knitted in two ways either ‘flat-knit’ or ‘circular-knit’ and manufactured in ‘custom-fit’ or ‘ready-to-wear’ designs. It may help to become more familiar with these terms when discussing the best option for your lymphoedema treatment. Compression garments should be worn every day from when you get up in the morning and until you go to bed at night therefore it is important that your garment fits well and is comfortable. They are available in many different styles and for many areas of your body such as arm, hand, leg, foot and torso. In addition, there are specific compression garments that can be worn at night.
For more detailed compression garment product information, please click here.