Lymphedema can be a very serious condition and it is important that you have access to all items that can help. The Plaid Daisy has specialized in compression therapy for many years, offering off the shelf and custom lymphedema garments as well as many wrapping supplies. We work very closely with therapists and physicians to find the best garments for each individual situation. Family Medical has been a leading supplier of this therapy for over 20 years, with The Plaid Daisy focusing on the upper extremities since the division began in 2002.
The Plaid Daisy carries in stock class 1 and class 2 compression sleeves, gloves and gauntlets. We have access to wrap style garments as well as nighttime compression garments. We work with the top vendors of compression therapy, including Juzo, Medi USA, BSN Medical, Circaid, Sigvaris, Solaris, Farrow, Jovi, and BiaCare.
Your insurance may or may not cover compression garments. coverage varies by company and policy. Many insurance carriers who cover compression garments limit the quantity that they will allow. We recommend that you contact your insurance provider to verify your benefits regarding this information. We will also assist you in finding out this information.
There are two main types of compression sleeves: daytime sleeves and nighttime sleeves. Both come in ready-to-wear (or off-the-shelf) and custom versions. Ready-to-wear sleeves are made by the manufacturer in different size, and you, your therapist and our certified fitter choose the size that fits your needs. Custom sleeves are made to fit you specific measurements. A custom sleeve may be needed if your arm is unusually long or irregular shaped, or if the lymphedema is particularly aggressive and/or advanced. Or it may be a good option if you try a ready-to-wear sleeve and it doesn't seem to do the trick. As you might expect, custom sleeves are more expensive than ready-to-wear sleeves.
A daytime sleeve is a tube of strong yet somewhat flexible fabric that extends from the wrist up the and almost to the shoulder. It's tightness decreases gradually as it moves up the arm, and this supports the flow of lymph up the arm to the axillary (underarm) lymph nodes. Depending on the manufacturer, sleeves come in flesh-tone colors (ivory, tan, brown, etc.), neutral colors such as white and black, and more colorful styles and even prints. So you have a choice of trying to have the sleeve blend in with your skin, coordinate with your cloths, or make more of a fashion statement on it's own. Some daytime sleeves come with a glove or gauntlet already attached.
Sleeves also come at different pressure levels, which are described with a numerical classification system that ranges from low pressure to high pressure, class 1 through 4. The amount of pressure is measured in terms of "mmHg", or millimeters of mercury, based on the amount of pressure exerted by one millimeter of liquid mercury. (You're probably familiar with this from your blood pressure readings, which are also expressed in terms of "mmHg.")
- Class 1 sleeves exert 20-30 mmHg of pressure on the limb
- Class 2 sleeves exert 30-40 mmHg of pressure
- Class 3 and 4 sleeves, available as custom orders, exert even higher ranges of pressure (40-50 or 50-60 mmHg)
Generally, more severe cases of lymphedema require a higher-class sleeve, while milder cases require a lower class. Some companies make even lighter pressure sleeves -15-20mmHg- for the mildest cases. Your lymphedema therapist can help you determine what level of pressure is right for you. Over time, you may find that you need to move to a higher-pressure or lower-pressure sleeve, depending on how you symptoms respond.
The cost of a daytime sleeve can range from less than $100 to about $250.
If you find that daytime compression isn't enough to control you symptoms, you may need to wear a compression sleeve at night, too. Nighttime sleeves are larger and bulkier thank daytime sleeves - First, because you're lying down while wearing it, and second, mobility is less of a concern since you're sleeping. Typically these sleeves are made of foam and padded material, and often they have outside straps that can be adjusted to provide the right amount of compression. Example of brands you may encounter are the Chip Sleeve, the Tribute, and the Graduate Armsleeve. Although designed for nighttime use, they can be worn during daytime rest or periods when you don't need to use your arm that much. Your lymphedema therapist can help you figure out what's right for you.
Nighttime sleeves are more expensive than daytime sleeves, ranging anywhere from $200 to more than $1,000. Therefore, insurance coverage may be more of a concern. Check with your lymphedema therapists or your medical supply company to see whether other patients have been successful in getting coverage.