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Occasionally compression pumps are used to treat lymphoedema of the arm or leg.
If your specialist recommends this, you may be shown how to use one at home. It may be possible to borrow a pump from your local hospital as they’re expensive to buy – your lymphoedema specialist can give you more information.
The pump uses electricity from the mains, and is made up of a power unit and an inflatable sleeve, which you put on your arm or leg. Various sizes of sleeve are available. When you switch it on, the sleeve will gradually pump up for a few minutes, then deflate for a few minutes. Your lymphoedema specialist will advise you which pressure to use. Don’t use higher pressures than advised as this could make the swelling worse.
Before you use the pump, it’s important to carry out simple lymphatic drainage massage (SLD)| or have manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD)| to your body (trunk) and at the top of the affected limb. This is to drain lymph from these areas before the pump moves more fluid out of your affected limb.
Content last reviewed: 1 March 2013
Next planned review: 2015
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