Compression

This is an essential part of lymphedema treatment and without applying external compression to the swollen part of the body, the treatment will not be successful. In the initial stage of lymphedema treatment, the bandaging technique consists of several layers of padding and bandaging which apply pressure to the swelling while allowing full movement and a sense of comfort.

The goal is to help remove fluid that may be stagnating in the deep skin layers as swelling, to prevent excess fluid escape from the small blood vessels (the blood capillaries) into the body tissues and to promote the absorption of excess tissue fluid by the lymphatic vessels.

The expertise of a fully trained lymphedema therapist is essential for the application of the multi-layer bandaging lymphatic to a limb. Excessive pressure or incorrectly applied pressure may cause a tourniquet effect and harm to the skin.

After the swelling is reduced (usually up to 2 weeks) the bandages are replaced by a compression stocking which will maintain the swelling reduction achieved by the bandages. Lymphedema certified therapists also undergo additional training to order compression stockings, sleeves and other garments and they or a qualified fitter will order an appropriate garment when the swelling is reduced. These garments, like and other article of clothing worn daily, wear out and need to be relaced on a regular basis (about every 6 months).