Jenna Fortner

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Symons


Donald P. Shiley School of Engineering


Lymphedema is a medical condition associated with venous insufficiency that causes swelling in the distal limbs, generally starting at the ankles. Lymphedema affects roughly 4 million Americans today and can be caused by a number of factors, including injury, aging, diabetes, and pregnancy. The severity of lymphedema is classified into four stages, and the more severe the stage, the higher risk of experiencing additional side effects including infections, skin ulcers, and reduced locomotion capabilities in the afflicted limb. Depending on the severity of lymphedema, various treatment options are available, including exercise, elevation, and compression for lower stages and surgery or diuretics for more severe stages. Current compression methods directed towards alleviating the symptoms of lymphedema include compression stockings and inflatable trousers. While compression stockings allow the user to be mobile, they are difficult to put on and take off, and the constant pressure application can cause skin ulcers and intertrigo, or rashes. On the other hand, inflatable trousers provide sequential or alternating pressure, which reduces the risk of developing ulcers; however, they require immobilization of the user. Therefore, the scope of this project was to design and develop a wearable and mobile device that could supply sufficient sequential pressure to the leg. The team opted to use airbags as the medium to apply the required pressure.


Lymphedema; Edema; Biomedical engineering; Medical instruments and apparatus

Publication Information

ME 483H-A Senior Honors Project

Copyright for this work is retained by the author.

Document Type

Student Project