Upper Extremity Solutions

Preventive Arm Sleeves

Lymphedema can develop after breast surgery or treatment when there is a change in the path that drains the fluids in the lymphatic system.  It can occur minutes after a surgery or procedure, a few months or years, or not at all.  If you have had a simple mastectomy, radical mastectomy, lumpectomy, lymph node removal or radiation therapy, you could be at risk of developing lymphedema.If you are at risk, discuss with your doctor or therapist if a graduated compression garment is right for you.  It is suggested for prevention to wear a compression arm sleeve when flying, exercising or if doing any continuous movement or putting a stain on the affected limb (i.e. rowing, gardening, baking/cooking, cleaning, golf, etc.)

Flying and Lymphedema

It is important to know that flying presents a challenge for individuals at risk of developing lymphedema and/or individuals with lymphedema.Why?  The decrease in cabin pressure in the plane puts stress on the lymphatic and circulatory systems, which can lead to an increase in swelling

For preventive arm sleeves we would suggest a compression amount of 20-30mmHg(Class 1). Compression sleeves are a prescription item and are covered under most extended health plans.Speak to your Physician, to find out if compression is right for you and to obtain a medical prescription.

Lymphedema Arm Sleeves and Other Upper Extremity Garments

Lymphedema affects the lymphatic vessels, which have the job of transporting protein-rich lymph fluid back into the circulatory system. When lymph vessels or nodes are removed, damaged or impaired, the fluid is no longer being properly filtered or transported and a build-up of fluid occurs. This results in swelling and thickening in the limb, better known as lymphedema.The first step in treating lymphedema is being properly diagnosed. Once a diagnosis has been made, it will be much easier to control and maintain the condition. A therapist trained in manual lymphatic drainage can help open the lymph nodes and move the fluid, resulting in helping to reduce swelling. Therapists can also apply compressive bandaging to help reduce swelling and teach you techniques to do independent massages at home. The best way to maintain the limb after or in between treatments, is to where a medical compression garment.

The Government of Ontario also offers a program for patients who have been diagnosed with Lymphedema (Assistive Devices Program or ADP), which can cover 75% or 100% (if on ODSP, EHSS) of the cost of your compression garments. CertiCare is a registered vendor for the Assistive Devices Program. Speak to your Physician, Therapist or Fitter to find out more about the program and if you would be eligible.A Physician’s prescription is required for all medical compression garments. For lymphedema patients requiring upper extremity compression we suggest a compression range of either 20-30mmHg (Class 1) or 30-40mmHg (Class 2)CertiCare offers the following garments for upper extremity lymphedema:

Prefabricated Arm Sleeves (off the shelf)

Prefabricated Arm Sleeves are available in Class 1 (20-30mmHg) and Class 2 (30-40mmHg) compression and are available in Beige, Black, Chestnut and Seasonal Colours and Tie Dye (call for more information regarding seasonal colour and tie dye options)

Prefabricated Gauntlets and Gloves (off the shelf)

Prefabricated gloves and gauntlets are available in Class 1 (20-30mmHg) and Class 2 (30-40mmHg) compression and are available in beige, black and chestnut. Some prefabricated gloves are also available in blue, dark blue, grey and red (not seasonal colours). Some gauntlets are available in seasonal colours (call for more information regarding colour options)

Custom Made Arm Sleeves, Gloves and Gauntlets (made to measure)

All of our compression garments can be custom made, whether you require a denser, stronger material, or are having trouble with a fit in a prefabricated garment. All custom made garments for upper extremities are available in Class 1 (20-30mmHg) and Class 2 (30-40mmHg). Standard colours for most companies are beige, black and chestnut. Some offer a wider variety of colours, which your fitter will discuss with you once a material to best suit your needs has been chosen.

Night Wear

Some lymphedema patients find that the affected limb reduces it’s swelling overnight, where others will find that the limb increases in swelling. It is often suggested that wrapping the arm with compression bandaging will help reduce or maintain the fluid while sleeping, however there are several products in the market which will provide the same effect without all the hassle. It will also ensure you are receiving the proper amount of compression while you sleep.