More than 90% of patients who have knee or hip replacement surgery experience postoperative lower extremity swelling (edema). Last year we wrote about Spryng’s battery-powered pneumatic wraps designed to apply rhythmic pressure to the lower legs to prevent swelling when people are confined to bed. Post-op edema after hip or knee replacements can continue as long as three months.

U.K.-based medical devices company Sky Medical Technology recently announced Firstkind Ltd.’s geko wearable. The Geko is a disposable device designed to prevent lower limb edema build-up in post-surgical orthopedic patients. The geko resembles a wristwatch and is worn just below the knee. The battery-powered device uses neuromuscular electrostimulation to stimulate the peroneal nerve just below the kneecap. The peroneal nerve activates calf and foot muscle contractions, which in turn increase blood flow in the deep veins in the calf.

The wearable is intended for use in the hospital and runs for up to 30 hours on a nonchargeable battery so it must be replaced daily. Plus and minus buttons on the device face adjust for 11 stimulation levels. The geko wearable has no leads or wires, which allows patients to move about with no tripping hazard. The stimulation pulses that occur once per second (1 Hz) can increase blood flow up to 60% in the deep calf area, compared with walking.

In addition to post-surgical patients, according to Firstkind, the geko device can also be used to increase local blood circulation, stimulate calf muscles in non-surgical patients at risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE), and reduce edema that arises from other causes.