Compression therapy is a science and an art.
The science behind compression therapy has been completely described in ILF's document "Compression Therapy: A position document on compression bandaging - Best practice for the management of lymphoedema - 2nd edition" (Click here to download the document).
But compression therapy is also an art in which specialists practitioners will be able to adapt the treatment to the needs of their patients by combining the 2 main effects which are compression and containment for which we suggest the following simple definitions:
- Action of compressing a limb by applying an elastic bandage or garment around it
- The elastic material will exert a pressure directly proportional to the circumference of the limb
- The main advantage of compression bandages or garments is that they will keep acting even in case of limb volume reduction
- The main inconvenient of compression bandages or garments is that they do not prevent limb volume increase
- Compression bandages or garments usually deliver high resting pressures and low working pressures
- Action of containing a limb by applying an inelastic bandage* around it
- The inelastic material will not exert a pressure on the limb except in case of limb volume increase
- The main advantage of containment is that it will prevent any increase in the limb volume
- The main inconvenient of containment is that it will cease to have an effect in case of limb volume reduction
- Containment bandages usually deliver low resting pressures and high working pressures
* inelastic bandages are often also used for skin protection