Lymphedema

Articles related to Lymphedema

Channel Foam

Have You Tried our Channel Foam yet as part of your Multi-Layer Bandaging Technique?

This convolute grey foam is a half inch thick with quarter inch thick channels cut through it. These peaks and channels create high and low pressure zones and encourage lymphatic flow in a distal to proximal direction while also sinking into and softening fibrotic tissue.....Click here for more details »

Lymphedema Educational Segment shown on CTV

Featuring Canada's Dr. Anna Towers and sponsored by BSN Medical.

 https://www.healthandfamily.ca/lymphodema/

Garment Fitting

What is involved in fitting me for compression garments?

A doctor’s prescription is required for certain levels of compression. Call us for details. We have a private fitting room available, where a fitting may take anywhere from 10 minutes to 60 minutes. Our staff take great care and attention to fit you in the correct product for YOU. We ensure you are able to put it on and off and how to care for your garment. 

How are we qualified to fit and recommend your compression garments? 

We have a registered nurse on staff, who is also a certified expert garment fitter with over 15 years experience fitting and measuring compression garments. We also have a team of certified fitters with over 40 years combined experience in compression garments and therapy.
 
We guarantee the fit of the garment and only sell products from reputable manufacturers who stand behind their products. Having the right fit is the most important aspect. When fitted and worn properly, compression stockings help with your circulation, not reduce or restrict it.

 

Compression Garments

Compression stockings are designed to provide support to the legs and veins, assist with circulation, and minimize swelling. The compression is graduated, with the strongest support starting at the ankles and gradually decreasing towards the top of the garment. This gradual support works in conjunction with the pumping action of the calf muscles, which also assist with circulation.
 
Compression garments offer many benefits, such as reducing swelling, decreasing the chance of a blood clot, and provide post-surgical support. By increasing blood flow, compression garments also assist in flushing harmful fluids out of the body during post-surgical recovery.  
 
The purpose of compression garments for Lymphedema is to maintain the decongestive effect achieved during therapy, to prevent reaccumulation of fluid into the tissues. By providing external compression, fluid is forced in a proximal direction, improving the function of the valves contained in our veins. Compression garments also provide a counterforce on our muscles, thus improving its efficiency. 

Compression Garments for Lymphedema

There is a wide array of compression garments to choose from and deciding which one is suitable can be daunting. Having the right fit is the most important aspect - compression garments are effective only if they are worn consistently and the patient is satisfied. Therapeutic benefit is lost if the garment is stored away.
 
The “grades” for compression are measured in mmHg (millimeters of mercury just like the pressure of a blood pressure cuff):
 
  • 15-20mmHg – no prescription required; preventative; for tired achy legs; good for mild swelling experienced on airplane flights      
  • 20-30 mmHg (class I) – no prescription required; for mild lymphedema in upper or lower extremity
  • 30-40 mmHg (class II) – prescription required; for moderate lymphedema in upper or lower extremity
  • 40-50 mmHg (class III) – prescription required; for severe lymphedema especially of lower extremity
  • 50-60 mmHg (class IV) – prescription required; for severe lymphedema of lower extremity
 

Flat knit vs Circular Knit Material

Circular knit garments are manufactured on a cylindrical knitting machine, which allows for them to be seamless. The same number of needles is used throughout the length of the garment. The size of the needles as well as the degree of pre-stretch of the elastomer, provides for a smaller circumference on the distal and a larger circumference on the proximal portion of the garment.
 
In flat knit garments, the number of needles varies in accordance with the patient’s measurements, which provides these garments with the same density throughout the length of the garment. These garments can be manufactured in any shape or size.
 
Most ready made garments are circular knit and flat knit are generally custom made. 
Higher levels of pressure (>50mmHg) can only be achieved with flat knit garments
Circular knit fabrics are less expensive and cosmetically more attractive because they do not have a seam and can be produced using finer and sheerer materials. Flat knit garments are more dense but provide a more precise fit, and because of their construction when stretched over a limb there are more holes for the skin to breathe.

Off the Shelf/Pre-Made vs. Custom Measure

Custom fitted garments are made for limbs that have an unusual shape such as where the top of the limb is much larger than the bottom, or the limb does not fit into the manufacturer sizing charts – ie. too small or too large. Since the greatest compression needs to be at the distal end (lower arm or leg) of the limb, if the garment fits the top of the limb and is loose at the bottom, this will probably cause the fluid to travel down to the hand or foot. If the limb is symmetrical in shape and fits into the manufacturer size chart, the person may be able to fit into a ready made “off the shelf” garment.
At no time should the garment have a tourniquet effect, which will cause more swelling below the level of the tight area.

 

Care and Maintenance of Compression Garments

To maintain your compression garment, we recommend the following:

  •  Hand wash in warm water daily to maximize therapeutic effectiveness and prolong the life of your garment. 
  • Use a small amount special compression garment washing detergent or another mild soap.
  •  Rinse garment well, roll in a towel to remove excess water, hang to dry.
  • Some Juzo garments may be machined wash and dry, use the lowest permanent press settings. A garment bag is strongly recommended and available in the Juzo® Compression Therapy Care accessory package.
  • Wash dark colors separately from other clothing.
  • DO NOT USE: bleach, chlorine, fabric softeners, or other laundry additives. These may damage your garment.
  • Please refer to the washing symbols on the label sewn into your compression garment.
  • Store your stockings in a dry place at room temperature.

 

Living with Lymphedema

Exercise regularly and eat properly

  • Always check with your doctor first before starting a new exercise program.
  •  Discontinue any exercise that causes unexpected pain. If your arm or leg (on the side where you had surgery) becomes tired during exercise, cool down, then rest and elevate it.

Avoid infections

LYMPHEDEMA INFORMATION

The term lymphadema comes from the lymphatic system, which helps coordinate the immune system's function to protect the body from foreign substances and includes an extensive network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes.
 

Here's how the Lymphatic system works:

  • Excess fluid is collected from the space between tissues in the body and moves through the lymph vessels. The fluid (now called lymph) isn't pumped through the body like blood, but instead is "pushed" through the lymph system as the vessels are compressed by surrounding muscles.
  • Filters called lymph nodes remove certain harmful substances from the lymph fluid, such as bacteria and debris. The fluid from most tissues or organs is filtered through one or more lymph nodes before draining into the bloodstream.

Lyphedema Types

  • Primary Lymphedema can be present at birth, develop at the onset of puberty or in adulthood, all from unknown causes, or vascular anomalies. 
  • Secondary Lymphedema, can develop as a result of surgery, radiation, trauma or infection. Specific surgeries that require the removal of lymph nodes, can result in lymphedema. If lymph nodes are removed, there is a potential risk for developing Lymphedema. Secondary Lymphedema can develop immediately post-operatively, weeks, months or even 20 years later. Radiation and chemotherapy can also contribute to Lymphedema symptoms. 
  • We, at BC Medequip, can offer expertise in compression therapy that can benefit those with primary or secondary Lymphedema.

Lymphedema symptoms can include:

  • Swelling of part of your arm or leg or your entire arm or leg, including your fingers or toes
  • A feeling of “full”, heaviness or tightness in your arm or leg
  • Skin tightness
  •  Restricted range of motion in your arm or leg – decreased flexibility
  • Aching or discomfort in your arm or leg
  •  Recurring infections in your affected limb
  • Hardening and thickening of the skin on your arm or leg
  • Difficulty fitting into clothing in one specific area.
  • Swelling in the arms, hands, fingers, shoulders, chest, or legs. The swelling may occur for the first time after a traumatic event (such as bruises, cuts, sunburn, and sports injuries), after an infection in the part of the body that was treated for cancer, or after an airplane trip lasting more than three hours.
  • Tight-fitting bracelet, watch, or ring that wasn't tight before.

Advice on Lymphedema Pumps

People interested in using or purchasing a sequential pneumatic pump should be aware that not all pumps are equal in design or treatment of lymphedema. Once a doctor recommends and prescribes a pump for treatment of lymphedema it is up to you to make an informed choice. When inquiring about a pump there are important things to consider?....Click here for more details »

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