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What compression products are best for lymphedema?

Within the compression arena, there are two types of compression therapy: elastic and inelastic.

Elastic compression therapy includes circular and flat-knit compression stockings for venous, lymphatic and wound care applications. These products use elastic fibers that enable the stocking to provide compression and allow stretch for easy application.

The elastic nature of the garment provides a consistent or static compression to the limb. Thus, when a patient moves or ambulates, the compression fluctuates very little and maintains a fairly consistent level.

Key Benefits of Static Compression:

  • Precise and accurate compression
  • Maximum wearing comfort at rest and during activity to enhance compliance
  • Fits every lifestyle need with color and pattern choices

How to choose elastic compression garments for lymphedema?

Compression garments for lymphedema should be prescribed by a physician with input from a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. The specific garment prescribed is dependent upon several factors including limb volume, skin condition, garment experience, the stage of lymphedema, and the phase of treatment.

Lymphedema Therapy Concept

What is the lymphedema treatment process?

The medi lymphedema therapy concept is a comprehensive approach in the treatment of lymphedema that provides the right products for each stage of treatment, from the decongestion phase, through the transition phase and finally with the maintenance phase. 

Decongestion Phase Lymphedema: An introduction to treatment plan and limb reduction

The aim is to reduce the circumference of the affected limbs. So, in the first phase of complex physical decongestion therapy (CPD), manual, whole-body lymphatic drainage is performed once or twice a day to promote the return transport of the fluid away from the tissues. A compression is applied after each treatment session and supported by special exercises. When beginning treatment, skin conditions such as fissures or athlete's foot are treated intensively, because an inflammation can cause additional damage. Consistent skin hygiene and care are also important throughout the treatment process. Only pH-neutral cleansing products and creams may be used. 

Compression products used during the decongestion phase include pneumatic compression devices or sequential compression pumps such as the medi PCS, compression bandaging and the use of compression wraps, such as the circaid® reduction kit™.

medi PCS is an offering of pneumatic compression devices that can be used in the treatment of lymphedema and venous-related disorders.  The medi PCS products have patient-friendly features like the self-learning, “fill-to-fit” technology and a multilingual touch screen display. Additionally, the pcs pumps deliver clinical results with use of overlapping chambers and customizable settings to meet each patient’s therapeutic need.

The circaid reduction kit uses Velcro® wrap enclosures to deliver MEASURABLE compression with inelastic Breath-O-Prene® material. The reduction kit is customizable to each patient and can be adjusted throughout the decongestion phase.

Transition Phase Lymphedema: The adjustment from clinic care to self-care

Once the affected limb volumes have plateaued, there is an important period when patients must transition from an in-clinic treatment program to a self-management program.  Education is a key component to an independent life with lymphedema by implementing a manual lymphatic drainage program. Skin care, nutrition and the development of good compression habits are essential to the progression to independence. 

Compression products used in the transition phase are pneumatic compression devices (pumps), bandaging and the introduction to a compression garment like the circaid® juxtafit®.

Maintenance Phase Lymphedema: Long-term independent management of lymphedema

The aim of phase three is to maintain the successes and results gained throughout the clinical treatment process. During the maintenance phase, manual lymphatic drainage should be given at least once a week in winter and twice a week in summer. The additional treatment measures such as special skin care and exercises must not be neglected either during this phase.
At this phase, most patients will incorporate a flat knit compression garment into their collection of therapy products. Flat knit products are perfect for ambulatory patients and can be customized for both therapeutic and lifestyle needs. 

Round (Or circular) knit compression stockings are knitted on cylinder machines and are seamless. The yarns used are pliable and knit to allow two-way stretch both in circumference and in length. Round-knit stockings mold to the shape of the limb and perform well during movement by staying in place. Round-knit products can be purchased in pre-made sizes (off-the shelf, ready-made) or customized to fit the individual.

Flat-knit compression stockings are elastic garments used typically in the maintenance phase of lymphedema. Flat-knit compression garments are usually custom-made and provide the most containment of all the elastic compression garments that can help support lobes and address problems that occur with skin folds. Flat-knit products can be measured to the exact millimeter to provide optimal fit and have the versatility to add special features for therapeutic support, added comfort and aesthetics.

Compression stockings are available by prescription from medi authorized dealers or medical retailers such as durable medical stores, specialty pharmacies, or orthotic and prosthetic centers with trained individuals who take measurements and provide billing options.

medi custom resource center

What types of mediven® flat-knit garments are available?

There are four flat-knit garment product lines within the mediven family to choose your perfect solution: mediven sensoo, mediven mondi, mediven 550 (leg & arm) and mediven mondi esprit.

For stage 1 lower leg lymphedema, mediven sensoo provides a soft and comfortable fabric choice for those with sensitive skin structures who require a gentler option. mediven mondi is a lower leg, flat-knit solution that provides ultimate customization with aesthetic variety for those with lymphedema up to stage 2. Lastly, our most robust garment, mediven 550 for leg, provides high-working pressure to achieve best therapeutic results for patients with skin folds or lobules that require additional support.

For patients with upper limb lymphedema in stages 1 and 2, mediven mondi esprit delivers fashion and effective edema control through customized fit and a variety of choices, ultimately enhancing compliance. The mediven 550 for arm provides another custom option for all forms of edema with plenty of design and color additions to satisfy any patient while providing maximum containment.

How can I maintain my personal style while wearing compression?

To wearers’ benefit, over the years, compression stockings have evolved to be indistinguishable from traditional hosiery to reflect different lifestyles and patient preferences. From a variety of patterns, design elements, transparency levels, and color motifs, modern compression stockings now complement any wardrobe to reflect individual style while improving overall leg health and wellbeing.

The mediven flat-knit family of products contain an array of vibrant color choices, sophisticated patterned design and fashion elements, and even Swarovski® crystal additions that can add a pop of flair to any outfit. Wearing flat-knit compression for health reasons doesn’t mean you have to lose your sense of style.

Brilliant colors: From standard to trend, medi has up to 13 color varieties to match any desire.

Design & fashion elements: For the leg and arm, different design and fashion features from pyramids to sportive, to animal and flower, and even new color combinations of berry and lilac, to name a few, offer plenty of fun options to spice up any wardrobe.

Are there technology features in flat-knit products?

mediven flat-knit products feature unique elements to help with therapy and functionality, providing all-over comfort and compliance.
Knitting Marks & Functional Zones: medi has a special knitting pattern that creates a softer fabric, with a functional zone that provides even more wearing comfort due to its expansion during movement in areas of flexion like the knee, elbow and toe regions.
Anti-slip silicone dots: With no seams, the anti-slip silicone dot features allow for improved stretch of the garment.
Oblique Borders: Providing optimum fit and a better grip, medi’s oblique borders give unimpeded lymph drainage without circular constriction.
Silk-Lining: This feature allows for ease of application and added comfort in troublesome areas.
Levamed: This fabric enhancement provides additional support for small lobes and ankles to help with decongestion around the malleolus.

What are inelastic products?

Also referred to as Velcro® compression wraps, this category is comprised of our circaid® product line for venous, lymphedema and wound care applications. These products use inelastic materials that have limited stretch when the circumference of the limb changes with movement of the body. The resistance of the garment will make compression levels rise and fall, thus creating a DYNAMIC compression system.

Key Benefits of Dynamic Compression:

  • Ability to adjust compression levels of day and night use
  • Ease of application
  • Maximum edema containment
  • Improved venous hemodynamics