Pressure Garment Information for Burn Patients
Pressure garments are worn after a burn to control scarring, to help the scar mature, and to improve the appearance of your injured skin. This is done by putting direct pressure on the skin; thus, the garments need to fit tightly in order to work well. Burn scars mature in 9 months to 3 years. These garments will need to be worn for at least 6 months and perhaps as long as 2 – 3 years. Your doctor will decide when you can stop wearing the garments.
Measuring and Fitting
Custom pressure garments are made to fit each person. This requires exact measuring of the body parts to be covered. Many colors and options exist to help make wearing them more pleasant. Only with a change in height or weight, or when there has been a large decrease in swelling of arms or legs would you need to be measured again with later orders. The Physical Therapist (PT) or Occupational Therapist (OT) should be told if this is needed. A garment that fits too tightly will cause numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain. If any of these symptoms occur, remove the garment and call your therapist. A garment that is too loose will have wrinkles, and will be of little benefit to you. Inform the therapist at once if you think your garments do not fit. Always bring the garments with you to your clinic visits so that we can check their fit.
Wear and Care
Garments need to be worn 7 days a week, 23 – 24 hours daily. They are removed for bathing and if they interfere with therapy. During the first week or two of wearing the pressure garment, it is common to have blisters and skin breakdown over areas of new skin. If this occurs, call your therapist, stop wearing the garments for 2 – 3 days until the open areas heal, and then resume wearing them.
Garments should be washed every day by hand in warm water and mild soap (Ivory®, Dove®, Dial®) and allowed to drip dry. It is a good idea to have two complete sets of garments so that a clean set is always ready to wear and provide constant pressure on the burn scars. Garments often last 2 – 3 months before stretching out. They are of no help if they are stretched out and do not fit snugly. Order new garments 2 – 3 weeks in advance to have good fitting garments at all times. Call us at (608) 263‑8060 to reorder. If you receive garments in the mail that do not fit or are defective, they can be returned and replaced. Most companies will do this free of charge if told of the problem within 7 – 10 days.
It Is Up to You!
If you wear the garments as prescribed, you should have softer, smoother scars. The garments will not make your skin normal, but they will help you achieve the best outcome. Shortly after your burn and until the scar matures, the pressure garment is helpful in reducing scarring. Beyond this time, the garment will not help.
Now is the time to wear garments and gain the benefits from them. We will help as much as we can. The rest is up to you.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 06/14/2013
Copyright © 06/14/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4610
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