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A review of the evidence for adjustable compression wrap devices

02 April 2017
Volume 1 · Issue 2


Compression therapy is a key component in the effective management of people with lower limb problems associated with venous, lymphatic and fat disorders such as lipoedema. Individuals with lymphoedema, venous ulceration and lipoedema often require long-term compression therapy to prevent and manage problems such as chronic ulceration and skin changes, persistent swelling and shape distortion. Challenges remain in achieving acceptable, safe, effective and cost-efficient compression therapy choices. Adjustable compression wrap devices using hook and loop fasteners, commonly called VELCRO brand fasteners, present new opportunities for improving treatment outcomes, supporting patient independence and self-management in the use of compression therapy. This paper reports the findings of an evidence review of adjustable compression wrap devices in people with lymphoedema, chronic oedema, venous ulceration and lipoedema.

There is a relatively wide choice of compression therapy products and devices currently available in the UK.1 These include a variety of elastic and inelastic compression bandaging systems, circular and flat-knit hosiery, and adjustable compression (VELCRO) wrap devices. A skilled person-centred assessment underpins treatment choices in compression therapy, taking into account the pathophysiology of a condition, symptoms experienced by the person, their social and personal context, and the treatment aims. Compression therapy has various pathophysiological effects such as reducing capillary filtration, minimising accumulation of tissue fluid and inflammatory processes, enhancing venous return and improving lymphatic transport capacity.2 Compression therapy promotes venous ulcer healing.3 It also reduces limb volume and enhances physical functioning in those with lower limb lymphoedema.4 Individuals using compression garments are less likely to report pain, numbness and poor range of movement than those not using compression.5,6 Self-application of compression is reported as providing greater independence, self-efficacy, and a sense of control for people with lymphoedema.7

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