For a century-old problem, edema and its treatment have gone remarkably unnoticed by the biomedical community. Given the prevalence of lymphedema and its debilitating repercussions, there is an acute need for both efficacy-based measures and clinical standards to guide compression garment design and therapeutic application. This review outlines the current state of the art in compression treatment and suggests an integrated biomedical engineering approach going forward. Characterizing the pressure gradient profiles of commercial compression sleeves is necessary to better understand the role of compression treatment in the mitigation of swelling. Integration of pressure sensor technologies with advanced materials design and manufacture provides a critical path not only to elucidate the mechanisms of but also to improve on current compression-based therapies and associated therapeutic devices.