What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is a chronic condition that impacts a large number of cancer patients after surgery or radiation treatments. In patients with Lymphedema, fluid is retained in the tissue and causes swelling (edema), often in the arms or legs but can occur in any part of the body in which the flow of lymphatic fluid is impaired. This swelling occurs when a blockage forms in the lymphatic system that prevents the fluid from draining properly. Secondary lymphedema is the most common and is caused when the lymph vessels are removed or damaged, often by surgery or trauma. Primary Lymphedema is hereditary, and the swelling is caused when lymph vessels are missing or impaired. If left untreated the swollen tissue can become painful, fibrotic (hard to the touch), or infected (cellulitis). In extreme cases the patient's mobility may become impaired and wounds may result. The same types of garments used to prevent or maintain Lymphedema are used to treat venous insufficiency and diabetic wounds as well as other vascular conditions. A Personal Touch Boutiques specialize in finding exactly the right compression garment for your situation.
Ask your medical professional if you are at risk based on the type of surgery you underwent. Self-massage, exercise, and wearing preventative compression garments when flying, exercising and conducting any unusual strenuous activity can help prevent swelling.
Lymphedema therapists use a combination of gentle lymphatic massage (called Manual Lymph Drainage or MLD), and compression wraps to move the fluid out of the afflicted area. They may request that the patient use a sequential compression pump while at home to make their treatments even more effective. A Personal Touch Boutiques provides the compression wraps and many private insurance plans pay for them! Before you use your credit card, call A Personal Touch Boutiques and see if you can use your insurance card instead.
Currently, Medicare does not pay for Lymphedema garments unless you have an open wound. Many other insurances do pay for garments. A Personal Touch Boutiques will be happy to verify your insurance benefits and let you know the details of your coverage.
A Personal Touch Boutiques offers ready to wear and custom garments. Our trained, professional fitters will work with your therapist to decide what will work best for you. Our fitters can custom fit a variety of garment types to prevent the fluid from collecting in the limb after the lymphedema therapy has concluded. We carry every brand and will work on your behalf to get the products you need covered by insurance. Some product categories are:
Custom flat knit garments are the gold standard in treating advanced cases of lymphedema. These elastic garments are custom fit to each patient and seamed. The texture of the fabric and the design creates a gentle massage to keep eliminating fluid.
Circular Knit garments come in both custom and ready to wear for better options to fit most patients. They are easier to get on and off than flat knit and look more like traditional hosiery.
Night time Garments
In-elastic binders are quilted foam garments that have very little stretch. They can be custom or off the shelf depending on your size, and are designed to be worn at night while laying down. These garments have channels and foam chips that will push fluid out of the afflicted limb and break up fibrotic tissue.
Neoprene wraps are used primarily as night time garments but some people like the adjustability and wear them during the day as well. They come in custom as well as ready to wear and push fluid through a series of specially designed straps.
Sequential Compression Pumps are one of the few lymphedema treatment products covered by Medicare. Compression pumps mimic the Manual Lymph Draining massage performed by a Lymphedema Therapist and are often used as an adjunct to the Therapists treatment or for home use when treatment ends.
In order to restrict the fluid from collecting, compression garments fit snuggly and may be difficult for some patients to get on. There are a variety of donning aids to meet the needs of everyone and ensure that you can use the products your doctor ordered.
Fitting Services for Men
Our fitters are trained to understand the unique needs of all of our patients – including men. Men come to us with a wide range of compression needs, including vascular insufficiency, achy legs, varicose veins and healed or open wounds. We offer garments with odor protection and garments that prevent bacteria propagation within the fabric. And we are proud to provide services to active military and veterans through our contracts with the Veterans Administration and TriCare.
Call and schedule an appointment with one of our fitters and get the compression garment you need. Contact us to find the most convenient location.