Novel body-weight device for compression garment donning in lymphoedema treatment

Background: Lymphoedema is commonly treated using complex decongestive therapy followed by the application of compression garments. These elastic garments are often difficult to pull over the enlarged limb. Aim: To design and build a novel device to assist with the donning of compression garments in a clinic and assess its use in practice. Method: The new device employs gravitational force and lower body strength to don compression garments. Device testing and design optimisation were performed at the university prior to conducting a preliminary clinical study. Patients evaluated three conditions to determine how well the new device performed against medi butler (medi), an existing commercial product, and using no assistive device. Results: The time needed to don the garment was longer when the devices were used in comparison to not using a device. No statistical difference was found in the ease of use of the body weight device versus the medi butler, however individual patients showed preferences towards different devices. Conclusions: The new device was found not to be effective for everyone. For patients who preferred to use an assistive device, however, the body weight device was preferred over the existing commercial product. 

 

Authors

  • Martin Tanaka

    Assistant professor and graduate program director, Department of Engineering and Technology (E&T), Western Carolina University, North Carolina, USA

  • John Jordi

    Physical therapist assistant and clinic director, BenchMark Physical Therapy, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA

  • David DeRoche

    Polyurethane process engineer, International Automotive Components, North Carolina, USA

  • Zachary Sharp

    Quality engineer, Energizer Holdings Inc, North Carolina, USA

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