When you hear compression garment, your mind may immediately go to celebrities in Spanx or athletes wearing copper infused knee compression braces. Post-surgical compression garments, however, are neither of these.
The garments recommended by your surgeon to help you heal from your tummy tuck or other plastic surgery procedure will be a bit different in that they won’t compress quite as much, and they will be made to allow your skin to breathe. Read below to understand your options for the best compression garment for after a tummy tuck.
Remember, the intent is to hold everything in place and provide enough compression to ensure that the skin lifted off of the underlying tissue during surgery is gentle, not forcefully, pressed back onto that tissue.
This allows the skin and the underlying tissue to re-adhere during the healing process without the skin’s visual rippling or waviness.
Post-surgical compression garments will also alleviate much of the pain involved during the healing process and help shape and mold your body and skin into what will be the final result.
Click the “back to the top” arrow after any of these sections to come back to this table of contents.
- 10 Benefits of wearing post-surgical compression garments
- 3 risks of wearing post-surgical compression garments
- How tight should it be?
- How long should I wear it?
- What to look for in a post-surgical compression garment
- Types of post-surgical compression garments
There are many benefits you’ll realize by wearing post-surgical compression garments. Let’s take a look at each:
1. Quicker healing
Holding everything in place and ensuring constant but gentle contact between the skin and the underlying tissue helps to ensure you heal quicker.
The constant pressure provided by compression garments also helps to flush fluids that would otherwise gather around the surgical site, thereby improving the healing rate.
2. Less pain during healing
Swelling and inflammation of the surgical site will cause additional pain during the healing process. Removing or reducing the swelling, therefore, reduces the pain you experience during healing.
Compression garments will keep the excess fluid from the wound area and help reduce the overall pain during your recovery process.
3. Better mobility while healing
As mentioned earlier, you won’t be up and around much for the first few days or perhaps a week after your surgery, but compression garments will help when you are ready to move around. There will be less swelling and less pain, allowing you to get up and about quicker.
Many patients attribute the improved posture from the compression garment to lead to better mobility during recovery.
4. Less bruising and bleeding
The first rule for any bleed is to apply pressure; we all know that. Your surgical site is, indeed, a wound, and pressure helps. A lot.
The gentle and constant pressure applied by the garments is shown to reduce hematoma and postoperative bleeding.
5. Less swelling
The healing process for just about any wound also results in the settling of fluids around the healing site. This fluid slows the healing process.
The pressure from the compression garment will constantly force fluid that would otherwise accumulate away from the wound, resulting in less swelling and, therefore, less pain and quicker recovery.
6. Less chance of infection
Your compression garment will shield your surgical site from germs, much like a bandaid. There will be a time for open-air healing, but before that time, you’ll want to keep the area covered for perhaps up to three weeks.
Continuous wearing of a compression garment during the early recovery period will minimize the chance of infection.
7. Less chance of abrasion or disruption of the surgical site
You won’t be moving around immediately after the surgery, so this is less important right away. But after you gain a bit of mobility, your compression garment will help keep you from bumping your surgical site up against a counter or door, for example.
It’ll be a constant reminder to be mindful of such things, and then, when the occasional slip-up occurs, it’ll provide a bit of padding to protect the wound.
8. Reduced chance of keloid scars
Any wound to your skin will create a scar. Surgical scars from plastic surgery are normally tiny, and the surgeons are experienced at ensuring they end up in discreet and hard to see places.
However, as mentioned, any wound will scar, and poor scar treatment can result in keloid scars, which are unsightly and not what you want. A patient’s genetic makeup can also affect how that person’s body will form scars.
Keloid scars are the result of excessive scar tissue building up over a wound. Compression therapy is considered the best approach to countering the formation of keloid scars.
The compression garment pressure will reduce the chance of scarring as it softens and flattens the wound site.
9. Reduced chance of ripples, waviness, or bulging of the skin
Compression garments give your new body the best chance to heal smoothly and evenly.
Without gentle and constant pressure, small gaps can result between the skin and the underlying tissue during healing, which results in wavy, rippling, and even bulging skin appearance later.
10. Shaping and contouring your final result
Your compression garment pressure will help you achieve optimal results by flattening and forming the surgical site along the intended lines. Without a compression garment, the skin and underlying tissue may not adhere as intended, resulting in a wavy or rippled appearance.
There are a few risks, but if you follow your surgeon’s directions, they are minimized well below the point at which the risks would outweigh the benefits. The overriding primary risk involves wearing compression garments that are too tight.
If you have any concerns at all about how tight your garment is, talk with your surgeon. In all cases, the benefits far outweigh these risks.
1. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
A compression garment that is too tight can restrict blood flow and result in DVT and even pressure necrosis.
This is an extreme result and is often the result of a too-tight garment combined with poor attention to binding points or heavily restrictive garment sections. Worn appropriately, this should not be a concern.
2. Surface irregularities
Again, this is attributed to a garment that is too tight.
When too tight, the skin can be bunched up and not allowed to heal as intended. The result of this can be the lumpy, wavy, or rippling appearance of the skin after recovery. Again, easily avoided by choosing a garment that is not too tight.
Poorly designed garments can also cause surface irregularities.
Any garment that doesn’t stay in place as intended falls into this category. If it “rolls up” or binds, this is a problem as it will inhibit proper healing and can even cut off blood flow to the surgical site. An improperly designed garment can do more harm than good.
3. Wound breakdown
A poorly fitting garment or a garment with a poorly designed structure can rub or abraid the wound area, causing the wound site to break down and not heal quickly or properly. Ensure the garment has no ribbing or zippers that will interfere with the wound healing, which should not be a problem.
Not too tight. What you’re looking for here is a snug but comfortable fit.
This is where off-the-shelf sports compression braces and such fall short of what you need as they will normally be too tight. If the compression is too strong, you can actually constrict blood flow, which is counterproductive to the healing process.
Tight garments can also bunch up rather than lay flat against your skin, which will result in less than optimal results.
Your surgeon will most likely advise that too tight is worse than not tight enough. The results can be wavy skin or other surface irregularities, which is not what you want after spending thousands of dollars and weeks of recovery time on this procedure.
This will depend on the surgical procedure you are recovering from. You should expect a time frame of at least one week but most likely as much as three.
This will also depend on the type of surgery, the extent of the plastic surgeon’s work, and your own body’s rate of healing.
So there’s no definite answer, but 1-3 weeks is not an unreasonable expectation, and it could very easily end up being more like 4-6 weeks.
You should also expect to wear the garment as much as possible, 24×7, except for bathing, etc.
Keep in mind that the garment is intended to help you heal for the best results of your surgery, so although perhaps inconvenient, you should view wearing the garment as an integral part of the overall plastic surgery procedure. Considering it optional or unimportant is a bad decision.
If you look online, you’ll find an almost dizzying array of offerings. Your surgeon will undoubtedly make recommendations, and, of course, you’d do well to follow them.
But if you are interested in what is out there and what is worth looking into, here’s what you’ll find.
1. Antibacterial properties
Surgical scrub suits and other medical garments are often impregnated with silver due to time-tested and well-understood antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. You’ll find some of the top-rated post-surgical compression garments will often contain elements associated with reducing bacteria and improving healing.
You’ll even find some infused with vitamin E to help promote cell regeneration and premature aging of the skin.
2. Latex, non-latex, hypoallergenic, cotton, etc.
This, of course, will depend on your personal allergies. You can find pretty much the same garments in any of the above. Also, ensure the material is flexible and will conform to your body comfortably.
You’ll find a wide variety of fasteners on post-surgical compression garments, and what works best for you will depend on the type of surgical procedure you’re recovery from and your own preference. Zippers, velcro, hook, and eye, etc. – these are the different fasteners you’ll find, so look for what type you prefer.
4. Flat seams
You’ll want to wear your compression garment under your normal clothing, so the less noticeable the garment’s seams are, the less visible it will be through your outer clothing.
5. Moisture wicking
Materials designed to pull moisture away from your skin to keep your skin dry will help promote faster healing and also make the compression garment more comfortable for extended wear.
You’ll see a wide array of garments to choose from based on the type of surgery you are recovering from. Below we’ll outline the most common ones you’ll see. Click on any of the links to find the specific types of garments on Amazon.
- Liposculpture garments
- Post-surgical compression girdle
- Post-surgical compression bodysuit
- Patients that have liposuction in multiple areas will find a compression bodysuit to be the right garment. As an example, it’s not unusual to have hip, back, and waist liposuction at the same time. For multiple areas such as this, a compression bodysuit is a great choice.
- Post-surgical compression tights
- Post-surgical waist compression garment
- Post-surgical compression bra
- A godsend for patients with breast lifts, breast augmentations, breast reductions, breast reconstruction, or mastectomy surgery. The constant pressure and added support will reduce recovery time, swelling, and pain in all cases.
- Look for wireless front closing bras to make it easier on you.
- Post-surgical arm compression garments
- Patients with liposuction or cool sculpting on their arms will find a nice array of compression garments that specifically target arms. Most of the time, these will be worn as a vest that fits around the upper torso and encompasses the upper arms.
- Leg compression
- Often recommended and used for patients that have liposuction or cool sculpting on their legs.
- Men’s post-surgical compression garments
- It’s usually assumed that almost all plastic surgery information is targeted at women. Still, with the growing trend of 10% and more of all plastic surgery procedures being done on men, there is a need and a good supply of many of the same kinds of post-surgical compression garments for men.
In addition to specific garments for specific types of surgeries, if you prefer a specific brand, you can find them on Amazon as well:
- Carefix specializes in post-surgical compression bras and stabilizer bands.
- Truform offers the highest rated surgical compression stockings.
- Gotoly offers a full range of compression garments for men and women.
- Brabic offers a full line of undergarments with a specialized line focusing on post-surgical compression garments for the entire body.
- Paz Wean offers unique compression garments.
- Brilliant Contours offers a variety of fashionable, stylish, and functional post-surgical compression bras.
I hope you found the information above useful. We’ll be updating this page over time, so be sure to check back in now and then.