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Control of lymphedema using a cotton-polyester stocking in a patient with a mental disability

Camila Capelozza, Tânia Dias Guimarães, Renata Lopes Pinto, Maria de Fatima Guerreiro Godoy

The objective of this study is to report on the treatment of lymphedema in a mentally handicapped individual using an inelastic stocking made of a cotton-polyester textile. This 23-year-old mentally handicapped male had suffered from bilateral congenital lymphedema of the legs since the age of seven years old. The edema was most pronounced three years ago, but the patient was not submitted to treatment. On physical examination, swelling was observed from the back of the feet up to the region of the knees; the Stemmer sign was positive. The patient was referred to Clínica Godoy for specialist treatment which included counseling for the family on the importance of hygiene of skin wounds to prevent infection and the use of a low-stretch compression stocking made from a cotton-polyester textile. The patient's adherence to treatment was achieved with the help of relatives and the edema was reduced. Special strategies are required to guarantee the successful treatment of lymphedema in mentally handicapped patients. A key feature in this therapeutic approach is a compression mechanism that gives independence to the patient as the garment can be dressed and undressed without professional assistance.

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