How to Do Lymphedema Wrappings
Wrapping Your Affected Limb
- 1). Choose the proper bandages. The compression bandages used for treatment of Lymphedema are not the same as Ace wraps, according to Marcia S. Beck, APRN, BC, CLT-LANA, of the National Lymphedema Network. The short-stretch bandages used for lymphedema have lower elasticity than Ace wraps.
"Short-stretch bandages have a low resting pressure, and a high working pressure. The high working pressure is to support removal of fluid from the affected extremity and further evacuation of fluid from the extremity during the active time," said Beck. "Compression bandages are essential to the successful reduction of fluid and protein from the affected extremity."
Patients can learn proper bandaging techniques using a variety of materials from their doctor or physical therapist. You should use the types of supplies recommended by your therapist.
- 2). Start with a stockinette. The first layer is a tubular gauze bandage known as a stockinette. This material absorbs excess perspiration and protects the skin from being rubbed by the other layers that are placed on top of it, according to LymphNotes, an online information resource and support group for those with lymphedema and for the family, friends and therapists who care for them. The stockinette is in direct contact with the skin and a fresh piece should be used each time you bandage.
- 3). According to LymphNotes, the next layer is gauze, which is used to wrap the fingers or toes. For fingers, use one-inch gauze; for toes use one-half inch gauze.
- 4). The third layer consists of a felt, or foam-type, of wrapping applied to evenly distribute the pressure. Your therapist will recommend a certain type of protective layer as well as instructions for wrapping depending on your problem. According to Lymphedema Products, it is important that the padding be used under the direction of a trained specialist to ensure a correct and safe fit.
- 5). The fourth layer consists of short-stretch bandages. These are used in different widths depending upon the area being wrapped. When bandaging your arm or leg, start by making the bandage tightest around your fingers and toes, say the experts at LymphNotes. Wrap the bandage more loosely as you move up your arm or leg. A lymphedema therapist can show you exactly how to wrap your limb.