Patients suffering from lipedema present with noticeable buildups of fat cells along the limbs that cause a disproportionate appearance and are often accompanied by painful symptoms. While lipedema tends to stay clear of the hands and feet, excessive fat cell buildup is frequently seen along the thighs, around the ankles, and along the arms. While there is no known complete cure for lipedema, patients suffering from this chronic disease do have treatment options available to them that can potentially ease some of the symptoms. Among these solutions, compression stockings continue to be one of the most popular options that physicians often recommend. It’s not uncommon for compression stockings to be advised in combination with targeted liposuction treatments to both remove some of the stubborn excess fat cells while simultaneously promoting healthy blood flow to the limbs after treatment.
Understanding Compression Stockings
Much as the name indicates, compression stockings are fabricated from a material that’s much like traditional nylon but adheres to the body more tightly. The design of these stockings allows the fabric to apply strategic pressure which keeps blood flowing in the correct direction through the limbs and back up to the heart. Once blood begins flowing more freely, many patients with lipedema experience a noticeable change in symptoms including less pain at the treatment site as well as the potential for diminished swelling in the area as well. While some patients may only need to wear compression stockings for a limited amount of time, the vast majority of patients with lipedema will be recommended to wear these health accessories throughout the day and night to achieve optimum results.
Types of Compression Stockings
While it’s tempting to turn to over the counter compression stockings due to the lower price tag, most patients will be written a prescription for custom compression stockings that are designed to meet their specific needs. The advantages of prescription compression stockings are many. Compared to non-prescription compression stockings, prescription stockings are fit to size and guaranteed to apply pressure to the necessary areas of the limb. There is a noticeable difference in quality between prescription and non-prescription compression stockings as well and patients often find that the more expensive upfront cost of a prescription pair will last much longer over time than non-prescription brands. Additionally, prescription compression stockings are designed to meet a variety of gradient compression standards, particularly important to adhere to for those suffering from severe cases of lipedema. Prescription compression stockings for lipedema can be customized to taste and style and are available to patients in a variety of fabrics including traditional beige and black to more vibrant patterns and designs upon request.
The Five Classes of Prescription Compression
To meet the needs of patients suffering from lipedema that presents in a variety of stages, compression stockings are divided into five classes of compression. The first class is non-prescription grade compression which is categorized as appropriate for those patients suffering from tired and aching legs that often include the development of spider veins. Class I compression is ideal for a patient that presents with mild to moderate varicose veins which are accompanied by mild swelling and show potential for developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Class II compression are prescribed to treat chronic venous disease as well as mild lymphedema in combination with moderate to severe varicose veins. Class III compression is designed for those suffering from moderate cases of lymphedema a well as severe chronic vein disease. Class IV compression is appropriate for those patients presenting with any or all of the above symptoms as well as any swelling or pain not controlled with lower compression garments.
While compression stockings are available in a variety of brands, prescription grades and price points, it’s important to be sure you’re outfitted with the pair that best addresses your medical needs. The team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center is here to help patients understand their options regarding financing and payment plans available directly through our clinic as an added convenience.
Schedule a Consultation Today
When you’re considering the benefits of compression stockings for lipedema or are interested in alternative treatments for lipedema or underlying venous disease, be sure to contact our clinic and set up an initial consultation with Dr. Wright. We’re committed to making sure each of our patients experiences comprehensive care and provides all first-time visitors with a consultation in order to take the necessary time to ask questions, cover options and understand solutions before moving forward with a personalized treatment plan. When it comes to your health, we’re committed to a patient-first focus and can’t wait to take this journey to positive change with you!