10 years after having a mastectomy, I have developed lymphedema (most likely from a mosquito bite). I just received a compression sleeve garment, and I see in the literature that it should not be worn at night. What is the reason for this? My job requires a lot of handwashing during the day, and it would be most inconvenient if not next to impossible to wear the sleeve during that time. Any suggestions??
The compression sleeve is an active compression device that exerts a prescribed constant pressure on the arm tissues. This constant pressure affects both the vascular system as well as the lymphatic system. During the day the arm is in constant movement allowing the vascular system to circulate without problems of making the arm feel like it is "asleep". However, at night the arm is not in constant movement and often times you will awaken because the arm feels as though it has fallen "asleep" because the vascular system has been impeded by the sleeve.
I am not sure what type of sleeve you have but there are many that do not include the hand which would allow you to wash your hands through the day. If you require a glove to control hand swelling then we suggest using disposable latex gloves.
There are compression devices out on the market that are designed to be worn at night time that will not impede the vascular system (they have no elastic component ). These include using multi-layered compression bandages, the Circ-Aid ,or the Arm Assist.
-Janet Scheetz, PT