Looking after your child’s compression garment

This page from Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) provides information about your child’s compression garment and gives instructions for wearing it and looking after it.

Compression garments are made of closely fitting Lycra® material, which applies pressure (compressive force) against the body. They are used for the treatment or management of lymphoedema, vascular conditions and hypertrophic scars.

The design of the garment depends on the area of the body where the pressure is needed. Garments are either made-to-measure or ready-made. The degree of pressure exerted on the body will depend on the condition being treated. The doctor or the occupational therapist (OT) will explain the reasons for your child needing a compression garment, and when and for how long to wear it.

It is important that your child wears this garment. If he or she cannot tolerate wearing the garment, please call your OT to discuss this. There may be strategies to improve the situation, by altering the design, pressure or appearance of the garment.

Measuring your child for his or her compression garment

The OT will measure your child for a garment and will then either post the garment or arrange a fitting at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). If the garment is posted for you to try on your child at home, please telephone the OT to confirm that it fits and that your child is tolerating it. It may be necessary to make some adjustments.

Badly fitting compression garments can cause problems during wear or will not have any therapeutic value. Your child will then be provided with replacement garments so that he or she can use a fresh one daily while the other is being washed.

Looking after the compression garment

  • The pressure garment should be washed daily to remove acids and salts absorbed from the body. This not only helps with hygiene, but also helps the garment last longer. Hand wash or machine wash at 30°C using a non-biological soap powder or liquid.
  • Garments should be dried at room temperature. They should never be placed directly on a radiator or near a fire.
  • The average time a compression garment will last is between three and six months, but this will depend on how fast your child grows and how often it is worn. Re-measurements will be arranged with the OT when the compression garment becomes too small or worn out.
Compiled by:
The Occupational Therapy Department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
Last review date:
October 2018