“Why do I have to use moisturizer on my affected limb?”
Moisturizing the skin helps to retain the elasticity of the skin which helps to avoid cracks/breaks in the skin. This is important because any break in the skin allows bacteria to enter the limb which is at risk for infection because of the lymphedema.
“How long can I keep my garment off?”
Generally, in the first few months of CLT treatment it is not recommended that you remove your garments for more than 30-60 minutes at a time. Again, the skin of a lymphedematous limb is often stretched and will allow edema fluid to rapidly re-accumulate if there is no compression on the skin. The goal after treatment is for the skin and subcutaneous tissues to remodel to the new “smaller” size. This will not happen if the skin is allowed to stretch significantly. Once the limb has remodeled (6-12 months after CLT treatment) you may be able to remove the garment for longer periods without the limb swelling.
“Why do I need to change my compression garment twice a day?”
Compression garments are made of elastic materials that stretch out after wearing for about 12 hours. The areas where a limb bends (knee, elbow) stretch out more than the rest of the garment and then those areas do not receive the correct amount of compression which can allow pooling of edema fluid that can cause constriction at those areas. Some individuals can wear compression garments day and night and do not need to bandage their involved limb at night. These individuals should change their garments in the morning and again in the evening. Others may need to apply compression bandages for nighttime wear or use an alternative device such as a Reid sleeve, Tribute, or Jovi. Consult with your treatment team to discuss which option is right for you.