It’s the ‘Year of Health’ for Heriot-Watt University and here, at the School of Textiles and Design, we work on a number of health related research projects. Our latest project is working with ‘Jobskin’, a garment specialist, who make pressure garments for burn scar treatment, post-surgery and Lymphoedema patients, amongst other items. They are planning a new product line for Lipoedema patients and we are working with them to perfect the product.
Lipoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes unusual deposition of fat, normally in the arms and legs. Patients have an increased tendency to bruise, live with significant skin pain/tenderness and the condition can develop into Lipo-lymphoedema, which is ever more difficult to live with and treat. BBC news recently reported on the difficulties Lipoedema patients encounter when seeking treatment.
Pressure garments for Lipoedema patients are extremely challenging to get right, due to the conflicting requirements of much needed pressure, with tissue pain.
With this in mind Dr Lisa Macintyre, along with fourth year BSc (Hons) Fashion Technology student, Ilka Paling, have surveyed Lipoedema patients to establish what they need from their garments and have spoken to around 280 in total.
Lisa and Ilka are in the process of analysing the data and will be writing up the results soon. It’s a great example of where garments can literally change people’s lives for the better and are constantly being improved upon.
Debbie Wright from Jobskin commented “For me it was your reputation, I had read your pressure therapy/burns/fabric papers, so when we looked at designing a range of garments for Lipoedema, Galashiels was the obvious choice. Ilka Paling is a delight to work with, both personable and professional. This project is very exciting and we are pleased with the progress and look forward to the outcome – we are positive we can make a difference and this is made possible by working in collaboration and bringing our skills together”.
Dr Lisa Macintyre said “This is a really interesting project and a great opportunity for Ilka, who has been brilliant to work with throughout the project. We have the ability to improve people’s lives and that is hard work but a real honour”.
We will be reporting the results of the study soon, so watch this space for further details.