Working with a patient who has scrotal edema can be a challenge. It can be difficult to get out of bed, use the toilet, get in the shower, or perform any daily routines.
Every activity becomes painful, and the only simple solution is to use a sling. A sling can actually provide support and keep the scrotum elevated. It can also help with positioning in bed and make simple activities such as toileting and bathing feasible.
In this article, I’ll discuss the simple benefits of using a sling and how to make one.
The benefits of using a scrotal sling
A scrotal sling is beneficial for patients with scrotal swelling, so they have less pain and more support at the scrotum. A sling can also help the patient reposition their scrotum in bed and maintain an elevated position.
One of the key benefits of a scrotal sling is functional mobility. A scrotal sling can provide support when walking, sitting, bathing, or using the toilet.
The specific sling mentioned below will allow all these activities without having to be removed.
DIY scrotal sling
The hardest part about making a scrotal sling work correctly is positioning. If you position the sling directly under the patient they may not get the support they need. That’s why I recommend positioning it slightly forward to keep the scrotum elevated and relieve pressure when sitting.
The easiest method is described below. All you need is a pair of postpartum underwear and a way to strap the sling to the gown, neck, or shoulders.
- Put the underwear on vertically, so the scrotum goes through one leg of the underwear. The other leg hole should be above the scrotum.
- Twist the hole once to increase the durability, and use this as a loop to attach the sling to the patient.
- Attach the sling to the patient with a safety pin, velcro, or ace wrap.
I prefer using ace wrap in a figure-8 pattern around the shoulders, but I’ve also had success using a safety pin to attach the sling to the patient’s gown. However, this method may become uncomfortable over time.
Watch the video below for more details.
What to avoid
When making a sling, avoid using any material that isn’t soft. The skin around the scrotum becomes stretched, sensitive, and easily damaged. If they can’t handle the material of the sling, try something softer.
Avoid supporting the scrotum directly underneath the patient. If possible, the scrotum should be supported slightly forward or to the patient’s tolerance.
Do not use any material on the scrotum for an extended period. If the material is cotton, the material will absorb sweat and cause pain and redness.
Scrotal lymphedema techniques
If you want to educate your patient, caregiver, or nurse on lymphedema management for the penis and scrotum check out my other post here. This page discusses some simple manual lymph draining techniques and provides a simple PDF for your patient or caregiver.
Managing scrotal edema isn’t easy. A simple task such as getting out of bed or sitting in a chair can be unbearable. I hope this article was helpful. Be sure to check out my posts on therapy techniques and how to use the toilet and shower with scrotal edema.
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David is the lead editor of OT Focus. He has been practicing as an Occupational Therapist since 2013. He specializes in acute care, hand therapy, and ergonomics.