Lymphedema Pumps

Written by Zachary Zerries
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Lymphedema pumps can be used at home as part of a lymphedema management routine. The limb in question, generally an arm or leg, will be fitted with a pump so that decongestive therapy can be done in the privacy of your own home. Do not, however, think that at-home lymphedema pumps should be used in place of other decongestive therapies; studies show time and again that these pumps are most effective when used in conjunction with other treatments.

How Do Lymphedema Pumps Work?

Lymphedema pumps consist of a compression garment that's fully wired and connected to a mechanical operating system. This system, generally no bigger than a clock radio, can be adjusted to different pressures. What happens then is the wires cause the compression garment to rhythmically squeeze and release in particular patterns.

The patterns lymphedema pumps follow should mirror the movements of a therapist performing a manual lymph drainage massage. The movements should push accumulated protein rich edema fluid away from the blocked or malfunctioning lymph nodes and toward healthy lymph vessels. The ultimate result is a dramatic reduction in swelling.

A person suffering from lymphedema should use a pump as recommended by their therapist. When first beginning treatment, most therapists recommend using the pump four hours a day, the best time being before bedtime. Once the swelling has decreased, however, the number of hours can likewise be decreased in a gradual manner.


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