Compression Hosiery & Garments
Compression garments are medically prescribed socks, stockings, tights, wraps or garments for parts of the body suffering from lymphoedema or swelling including Lipoedema. In the UK and many countries compression garments are available on prescription. Compression garments are most effective when worn every day and are advisable from the early stages of Lipoedema.
Compression garments encourage the flow of blood and lymph fluid within the lymphatic system which helps prevent fluid retention/oedema in the tissues and the onset of Lymphoedema. In addition fluid within the tissues is encouraged to move towards the root of the limb, where it can be drained away more easily.
Compression therapy may also reduce the level of pain and discomfort often experienced in the limbs by supporting soft tissues and painful knee joints. In addition they provide support to the loose connective tissues and help improve appearance, streamline and redefine the shape of the limbs.
There are numerous styles and sizes available and wearing compression hosiery is believed to be the single most effective way of slowing down or preventing worsening symptoms of Lipoedema. People with Lipoedema often require made to measure garments which require specialist skills and experience to prescribe. Many of the compression garment manufacturers listed below have recently introduced garments that are specifically recommended for lipoedema.
Garments are usually measured by lymphoedema specialists or practice nurses. To obtain the best fit -different manufacturers require a specific set of measurements on their own measurement chart – so it is essential to be remeasured if you are changing from one type of garment to another.
Help is available from specialist postal prescriptions services who offer a wide range of compression garments and colours – all delivered to your home address. They can also help you set up repeat prescriptions.
Putting on hosiery is easiest first thing in the morning, when the legs are at their smallest. Getting garments on and off may take practice and a pair of ordinary household rubber gloves can help, as can specialist appliances, called donning and doffing aids for anyone with mobility problems.
Always follow the manufacturers recommended guide for washing and drying as this will maintains the shape and support.
When prescribed successfully compression garments should be comfortable, give support and increase mobility. Seek advice if they are too tight or cause pain or swelling.
If you are having problems obtaining garments or with the fit and comfort of your garments, most manufacturers of prescription garments have specialist knowledge of Lipoedema and helplines and advisory services can be accessed via their websites.
Compression Garments and Non-cosmetic Liposuction for Lipoedema
Compression garments are a key component of successful surgery to remove excess fat caused by lipoedema. Different surgeons have different approaches and may ask you to provide your own garments prior to surgery. Others will provide their own garments after surgery. To obtain the best results it is often advised to wear compression garments for at least 6 months prior to surgery.
For the first few weeks following non cosmetic liposuction for lipoedema patients should follow the advice of their individual surgeons. Many patients find that well fitting compression garments help them maintain the long term improvements following surgery, especially during exercise.
Lipoedema UK Research into Compression Garments for Lipoedema
Further Information & Advice
The British Lymphology Society (BLS) maintains a list of UK Lymphoedema Clinics. Lipoedema UK is an associate member of the BLS. www.thebls.com
The Lymphoedema Support Network (LSN) provides information on Lymphoedema and also maintains a list of clinics.
MLD UK, Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MDL) is a specialist technique of draining lymphatic fluid used to treat lymphoedema and other health problems. At present, MLD UK maintains a register of therapists who have gained certification from teachers accredited by the Vodder, Foldi, Casley-Smith, Leduc schools, Klose Training and LTA Fill & Flush. Only these therapists have been adequately prepared to treat people with lymphoedema. Other training methods which purport to affect the lymphatic system may be useful in beauty therapy or for relaxation. Lipoedema UK is an associate member of MLD UK. www.mlduk.org.uk
Click on the logos below to find out more information on the ranges of compression on offer from specialist suppliers and lymphoedema clinics.