Lymphedema Pumps in Lymphedema Therapy
Lymphedema is a serious medical disorder in which a compromised lymphatic system causes large amounts of lymph fluid into the bloodstream. This fluid results in localized, extremely uncomfortable fluid retention and swelling, typically in the extremities. This swelling can often be accompanied by infection and limb deformity if left untreated, making lymphedema a potentially life threatening condition. Luckily, though there is no cure for lymphedema, there are a number of treatments that are effective at controlling the worst of the symptoms. Chief among these treatments is a technique known as Intermittent Pneumatic Compression (IPC) therapy. IPC therapy works by utilizing lymphema pumps, devices that use compressed air to progressively inflate a sleeve or band which is placed around an affected area.
Lymphedema Pumps & IPC Therapy
Lymphedema pumps enable IPC therapy through inflatable, pneumatically controlled sleeves that are placed around the area affected by fluid retention. Within the sleeve is a series of overlapping cells which, when filled with air from the lymphedema pump, inflate and thus apply pressure to the area. This pressure, which is applied sequentially and in a controlled manner, allows excess fluid to be drained from the surrounding tissue which reduces swelling and enables proper lymph drainage. Of course, a complex issue such as lymphedema can't be managed through a single technique, and so lymphedema pumps are generally used in conjunction with a complete decongestive therapy to ensure that the flow of excess lymph fluid does not make its way to other areas of the body.
Other methods of therapy that are combined with lymphedema pumps include therapeutic bandages that apply pressure and resistance to veins. This added resistance gives lymph vessels a sort of crutch which allows them to work harder, thus enabling proper fluid draining. Combined, the techniques of lymphedema pumps, therapeutic bandages, and complete decongestive therapy have been shown to greatly improve the condition of lymphedema sufferers.