A recent Medgadget article discussed a new robotic soft sleeve that treats lymphedema. Lymphedema, aka lymphatic obstruction, is a condition caused by damage to the lymphatic system that results in fluid accumulation in tissues and swelling. It is common in breast cancer patients who have undergone surgical removal of armpit lymph nodes. The wearable sleeve, developed at the University of Waterloo in Canada, applies pressure to the arm via a microfluidic controller and soft robotic components to reduce fluid accumulation.
There are similar compression sleeves on the market to treat the condition, but they typically require a stationary pump to inflate. The new device differs in that it operates without the need of a pump that tethers the patient to a wall. The technology could also have other applications in prosthetics for lower leg amputees making prosthetic sockets more adaptable and comfortable.