Swelling worsens without sleeve?

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Question from Karen: If you have LE and don't wear a compression sleeve 24/7, will your swelling irreversibly worsen over time?
Answers - Kathryn Schmitz I think it needs to be known that there is at least one therapist out there who's very popular with patients who think asking women to wear compression garments all the time is an unacceptable state of affairs and that more frequent massage-based drainage can do the same thing as wearing a sleeve, perhaps in combination with pumping. I can also say that opinion, from my experience, does appear to be outlying, that most lymphedema therapists recommend the regular use of compression garments. The question of how many hours a day is truly an individual clinical decision.
Nicole Stout I would add that, if we look at some of the historical work in the literature (I refer specifically to the Casley-Smiths) that lymphedema will progress over time if it's not managed appropriately. So I agree with Dr. Schmitz that it comes down to an individual clinical decision about what is appropriate treatment. Compression garments have been shown to be very effective to maintain limb volume.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Preventing and Treating Arm Lymphedema featured Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.M.,Nicole Stout, M.P.T. C.L.T.-L.A.N.A., and moderator Jennifer Sabol, M.D., F.A.S.C. answering your questions about ways to prevent and manage lymphedema.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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