Compression Sleeves or Daily MLD Massage for Lymphedema?

ISolidea Bilateral Armsleevesf you have lymphedema, you are most likely trying your best to get as much treatment as possible. For many, this is a combination of wearing compression garments (armsleeves and gauntlets) and meeting with a lymphedema therapist for manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage.

Treatment can be expensive, though, and many health insurance companies will not cover compression garments or MLD with therapists.  If you are struggling to afford both, there is good news. A new study suggests that compression sleeves, worn without any other treatment, works as well as as combining compression sleeves with lymphatic massage to decrease excess arm volume.

The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, followed two groups of women for a year. One group of women wore compression armsleeves and compression gauntlets for 12 hours a day. The other group of women wore the same armsleeves and gauntlets, but additionally met with a lymphedema therapist every day for one hour of manual lymphatic drainage.

Results show that the reduction in arm volume for both groups of women was similar. Women who wore only the compression garments saw a 23% reduction in volume, while women who used compression garments and had regular lymphatic massages saw a reduction of 29%. The difference between the groups was only a small 6%.

For more information please see Lymphedema Study and Compression bandages work as well for lymphedema as daily massage: study