This paper presents the fundamental research of design, development, and evaluation of an active compression system consisting of silicone based inflatable mini-bladders, which could be used in applying radial pressure for the treatment of venous disease. The use of mini-bladders will nullify the effect of radius of curvature and provide a higher resolution to the pressure distribution. They are designed with two elastomeric layers and inflation is limited only to one side. The mini-bladders apply a radial force onto the treated surface when inflated, and the pressure inside mini-bladders could be measured using the concept of back pressure, which provides the flexibility to inflate mini-bladders to a predefined pressure. The 3-D deformation profile of the mini-bladders was analysed using finite element method (FEM) and FEM simulations were validated with experimental data, which showed good agreement within pressure region required for the treatment of venous disease. Finally, the pressure transmission characteristics of mini-bladders were evaluated on a biofidellic lower leg surrogate and the results have shown that the mini-bladders could apply a uniform pressure irrespective of the location on the leg with a 60%–70% of inlet pressure successfully transmitted onto the leg surface, while 40%–50% was available after the fat layers.
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