What is compression therapy?Compression therapy is the most commonly-used and effective method of lymphedema management. It applies pressure to the affected area with layered bandaging or garments, which help the lymphatic system to keep fluid moving into the bloodstream while stopping it from collecting in the affected area. By stimulating the flow of lymph fluid through damaged or faulty lymph nodes or vessels, compression therapy can help reduce existing swelling and prevent further swelling.
How compression therapy helpsThere are several kinds of compression therapy used to manage lymphedema. The type of compression depends on different factors, including whether the goal of treatment is to reduce or maintain existing swelling.
- 3M Coban™ 2 bandaging is a two-layer compression system that is applied to the affected area. The first layer has a soft foam surface, which is applied directly to the skin to prevent slippage. The second layer is applied on a stretch to keep the first layer snugly in place. Together they form a sleeve that your muscles work against to reduce the swelling.
- Another effective method is to wear compression garments that support the lymphatic system in the affected areas, even when you’re sleeping. These include day and/or night compression sleeves, gloves, socks or full leg garments. Compression garments are used when the goal of lymphedema management is to maintain the current size of the affected area and to prevent an increase in swelling.