Doctors and burn teams commonly use pressure garment therapy (PGT) in burn care to reduce scarring, but there are numerous other benefits too, such as a reduction in pain and itching. Patients who use pressure garments for burns, also called compression garments, during their healing phase may have better overall outcomes.
Your doctor can advise you whether PGT is right for you, what types of compression garments you may benefit from, and how long you should wear them.
What are the benefits of pressure garment therapy?
The primary benefits of pressure garments in burn therapy are to control scarring, improve the appearance of the burned skin, and help the scars mature.
However, they may also help reduce the pain and itching from which burn victims suffer. This works in two ways:
- Pressure garments enhance circulation and offer vascular support, which reduces pain levels, and
- They decrease the activity of the nerve receptors in the area, which in turn prevents the release of the neuropeptides responsible for causing pain and itching, according to a 2013 article in Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters.
According to Regions Hospital, other benefits that burn patients using PGT have noticed include:
- Protection of fragile skin
- The skin stays better lubricated because moisturizers stay on
- An increase in skin length
How long and often should burn patients wear pressure garments?
The University of Wisconsin Foundation recommends that burn patients wear pressure garments essentially all the time, seven days per week, 23 to 24 hours each day, only removing them for bathing. You will need to hand wash your garments daily using a mild soap and allow them to drip-dry. For convenience, most people like to have two sets of garments to rotate every other day.
If blisters form or the skin starts to break down under the garments, you should contact your doctor. She will likely recommend that you stop wearing the garments for a couple of days to allow the skin to heal before resuming.
It is important to ensure you customize your garments to fit your body. Pressure garments must be very snug and formfitting to work properly. If they are too loose, they will not benefit you; if they are too tight, it can cause numbness and actually contribute to – not help – your pain.
In addition, pressure garments tend to stretch out within two to three months. You might need to reorder new garments during your PGT to ensure they keep working. Your therapist will be able to help you get fitted for and order the custom garments you need.
Are there any other therapies that can help with my burn pain?
No treatments promise to totally eliminate burn-related pain, but there are lots of options that can help you manage the pain and increase the quality of your daily life. Speak to your burn care team about your pain to ensure your pain management plan is adequate.
And if another party is responsible for your burn injuries, you may be able to file a claim to recover compensation to cover your expenses, losses, and other damages. Our lawyer referral specialists can help you find a lawyer to answer your questions and file your claim. Call 844-549-8774.