Compression Pump – A Choice for Patients With Lymphedema


Compression pumps can be used on the arms or legs and they are portable and easy to take along wherever you go. They can reduce pain and swelling by moving excess fluid from the limb or limbs that are affected and returning it to the cardiovascular system. This is handy for patients who may need this treatment several times a week, allowing them to perform the therapy at home rather than making the trip to a therapist.

There are two phases required for using the compression pump. The preparatory phase is first. This prepares the lymphatic vessels for receiving fluid transported by the pump. If this part of the therapy is not completed correctly, it can cause damage to other tissues. In the home setting, self massage is the best method preparing these vessels.

The compression pump is available in two types which are recommended for treatment of lymphedema. The Sequential Gradient pump is used primarily for legs. It has an automated pump that pushes the air into a sleeve that is placed on the affected leg. The settings of the pump will allow the sleeve to inflate and then release, which is similar to the natural flow that is normally created by the body. Pushing the lymphatic fluid from the end of the leg and into the body where it can be returned to the cardiovascular system, the patient is relieved of the pain and pressure of the swollen area.

A FlexiTouch pump will perform both the preparatory phase of the treatment as well as the actual pumping that is used to return the lymphatic fluid to the body. They may be used on the arms or legs and the patient sets or reclines in the recommended position. The pump is turned on and once the preparatory phase is completed, the pump automatically begins the drainage phase. It is vital that both phases be completed at the same time. This procedure takes approximately an hour per day.

Lymphedema is a fairly common affliction from which approximately 3 million people in the US suffer. Often it is developed after a patient has radiation treatments or surgery for cancer. The most common are breast, bladder, prostate and uterine cancer. It may also develop after treatment for melanoma and lymphoma. It may also be the result of deep vein thrombosis or trauma.

When a lymph channel becomes blocked due to damage because of surgery, the lymphatic fluid can not go through the lymph vessel. This causes the fluid to build up and it does not drain properly. The compression pump helps by helping to stimulate the lymphatic fluid to drain by the use of channels that are incorporated into the garment worn. The gentle inflating and deflating helps to move the fluid back into the body.

The pump is so quiet when working that patients can read or watch television. They deliver a continuous flow and are cost effective. The control panel is simple to use by following the directions included with the compression pump. Before using the pump it will require that the garment and the pump settings be adjusted. They are different for each patient and should be adjusted according to the instructions of the patient's therapist. If you order your pump, the machine may or may not be customized to your specific settings.