Lymphedema occurs when there is a localized accumulation of excess lymphatic fluid resulting from an obstruction of venous vessels. This causes painful swelling of the soft tissues in the limbs, which could lead to open sores and infection
Pneumatic compression devices are available to help move the excess fluid from the affected extremity (arms, legs, or both) to prevent the serious effects of uncontrolled lymphedema. One of these devices, the lymphedema pump, is effective in treating people suffering from the disorder when combined with practices such as elevating the affected limb whenever possible and regular massaging to improve circulation.
A pneumatic compression device such as the lymphedema pump consists of a garment or sleeve that is wrapped around the affected limb, and a pneumatic pump that inflates the sleeve with compressed air. The sleeve is inflated and deflated intermittently at varying intervals and pressures.
The squeezing action allows blood and lymph fluid to flow more easily and circulate in the affected area. Repeated cycles of this procedure help reduce swelling caused by lymphedema. Another term for the lymphedema pump is intermittent pneumatic compression system.
Before you decide on buying a pneumatic compression pump, here are the three most important things to keep in mind:
1. Compression pumps are obtainable only with a prescription. As with any compression therapy, you must be in consultation with your doctor. Get a prescription before you start shopping for one.
2. As compression sleeves are pre-sized, have the measurements that you will need before making the purchase. If used for the arms, you need to measure the length of the entire arm from below the armpit to the wrist, and the circumference (thickness) of the bicep at its maximum, the forearm, and the wrist. If for the legs, measure the length from below the crotch to the ankle, and the circumference of the thickest part of the thigh, the calf, and the leg at the ankle.
3. Be sure to get an extra supply of the sleeves. Inflating and deflating these accessories will eventually result in wear and tear while the pump is still functional. These sleeves are exclusive for a particular machine and having spares will benefit you in many ways.
If lymphedema goes untreated, it can result in more serious health problems. Compression pumps are extremely useful in controlling the disorder and would serve as preventive measure against further complications that lymphedema will cause.