Body of Health measures and provides consultation on a variety of lymphedema garments to help reduce swelling and improve skin care. It is important to understand the reason compression garments are so effective and really the main treatment for lymphedema.
Lymphedema is a chronic disease that can’t be cured. Without adequate therapy and treatment, lymphedema can progress and create secondary issues with your health. There are three stages of lymphedema. Stage I is swelling from accumulation of high protein edema fluid. Stage II is when there is fibrosis and reproduction of fatty tissue. Stage III is advanced fibrosis, creasing of the skin, and wound care. The most common treatments for lymphedema are a combination of lymphatic massage, lymphatic exercise, daytime and nighttime compression garments or compression bandaging.
Compression garments are worn by a person following complete decongestive therapy (CDT) to maintain edema reduction and encourage the flow of the lymph fluid. A compression garment may be custom-fit or standard sizes I-IV.
Elastic compression garments are “daywear” and meant to be worn only while the client is active. Elastic compression can be either circular knit (standard sized) or flat knit (custom made). The compression comes in 4 classes: 15-20mmHg, 20-30mmHg, 30-40mmHg, or >40mmHg.
The elasticity of the garment usually only lasts 6 months and needs to be replaced on a regular basis. This type of compression provides a gradient pressure all of the way up the limb or torso. This is much different than compression used for blood flow. Protein enriched fluids act very different than blood and need a specific type of pressure in order to enter the lymphatic vessels and travel up a limb or out of the body.
“Nightwear” garments are designed for inactivity. This compression usually consists of layers of foam and bandaging materials and has minimal pressure. These garments can be cumbersome, uncomfortable and hot. Once lymphedema is under control and the acute phase of bandaging is complete, some clients are able to go into standard nightwear like a ready wrap or tribute. The purpose of the thicker, foam based garment is to break up fibrotic tissue or reduce thickening of the proteins that might settle in the tissues during the night.
It is very important that your garment fits correctly and is made with the proper materials. Trying to cut corners on lymphedema compression will cost you in the long run.
Plastic surgery designed garments are short term garments and are not constructed with lymphedema in mind. Plastic surgery garments have seams, zippers, hooks, etc. that can possibly cause wounds. These garments are not designed with gradient pressure and will cause pooling of lymphatic fluid in the skin.
To provide you with complete lymphedema care, Body of Health provides compression garments and is well versed in the latest materials and devices for lymphedema.
Call (678) 344-0050 to discuss your recovery needs and get you on your way to your best body.