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Compression Therapy

Mechanism of action:  By increasing the pressure externally, compression works against fluid build-up internally.  Compression therapy is one of the cornerstones in the treatment of venous and lymphatic disorders and may be applied by various elastic and inelastic materials.

Inelastic materials are much more effective than elastic materials, such as compression stockings.  Due to physical properties, inelastic material (short stretch) is able to exert significantly higher pressure with patient movement.  During walking, the compression exerts a “massage effect”.  The high pressure during standing and walking can overcome the intravenous pressure and temporarily overcome the failed valve mechanism that exists in patients with venous symptoms.

Elastic material (long stretch) gives way to muscle expansion during standing and walking and the pressure increase with exercise is very low.  The exerted pressure is not able to overcome the elevated intravenous pressure in patients with venous reflux and the vein size is not reduced. The resultant effects are therefore minimal.

Compared to elastic, inelastic material is significantly more effective in reducing venous reflux, increasing the “massage effect” of muscle action and reducing the high pressure resulting in fluid build-up.

Compression therapy has proven to be beneficial, over time, in every clinical condition.  Elastic and inelastic materials are prescribed according to the severity of the clinical condition.  Inelastic bandages are indicated in all acute clinical conditions where strong pressure is necessary, such as venous leg ulcers, and following venous procedures, such as after surgery, foam sclerotherapy, endovenous radiofrequency ablation, and superficial and deep vein thrombosis.  Elastic compression stockings are indicated in all chronic stages and after recovery of acute clinical conditions and interventions to maintain the results and prevent recurrence.

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