post surgical compression garment - featured image

Post surgical compression garments

When you hear compression garment, your mind may immediately go to celebrities in spanx or perhaps 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 plastic surgery procedure will be a bit different in that they won’t compress quite as strongly and they will be made to allow your skin to breath.

The intent here is to hold everything in place, but also provide enough compression to ensure that the skin that has been lifted off of the underlying tissue during surgery is gently, not forcefully, pressed back onto that tissue.  This allows the skin and the underlying tissue to re-adhere during the healing process without visual rippling or waviness of the skin itself.

Post surgical compression garments will also alleviate much of the pain involved during the healing process as well as help to shape and mold your body and skin into what will be the final result.

This article is lengthy so here’s a table of contents to help with your research.  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?

There are number 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 there is 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 rate of healing.

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 therefore help to 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 week after your surgery but when you are ready to move around, compression garments will help.  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 as a factor that leads 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 are shown to reduce hematoma and postoperative bleeding.

5. Less swelling

The healing process for just about any wound also results in 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

You 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 doing much 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 very small 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 pressure of the compression garment 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

The pressure of your compression garment 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.


BRABIC Upper Arm Shaper Post Surgical Slimmer Compression Sleeves

BRABIC Upper Arm Shaper Post Surgical Slimmer Compression Sleeves – click to check price on Amazon

table of contents

back to top

What are the risks associated with wearing post surgical compression garments

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 too tight garment combined with poor attention to binding points or heavily restrictive sections of the garment. 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 lumpy, wavy, or rippling appearance of the skin after recovery.  Again, easily avoided by choosing a garment that is not too tight.

Surface irregularities can also be caused by poorly designed garments.  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 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 and this should not be a problem.

table of contents

back to top


How tight?

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.


Post Surgical Comfort Compression Sports Bra

Post Surgical Comfort Compression Sports Bra from Brilliant Contours – click to check Amazon price

How long should I wear my post surgical compression garment?

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 work done by the plastic surgeon, 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 with the exception of 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.

table of contents

back to top


What to look for in a post surgical compression garment

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 it’s time tested and well understood antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.  You’ll find some of the top-rated post surgical compression garments will often likewise contain elements associated with reducing bacteria and improving healing.

You’ll even find some that are infused with vitamin E to help promote cell regeneration and premature aging of the skin.

2. Latex, non-latex, hypo allergenic, 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.

3. Fasteners

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 seams of the garment are, the less visible it will be though 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.

Post Surgical Comfort Compression Sports Bra

Post Surgical Comfort Compression Sports Bra: Urban Camo Butterfly by Brilliant Contours. Click to see price on Amazon

table of contents

back to top


Types of post surgical compression garments

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 body suit is a great choice.
    • Post surgical compression tights
    • Post surgical waist compression garment
  • Post surgical compression bra
    • A godsend for patients that have breast lifts, breast augmentations, breast reductions, breast reconstruction, or mastectomy surgery. In all cases, the constant pressure as well as the added support will reduce recovery time, swelling, and pain.
    • Look for wireless front closing bras to make it easier on you.
  • Post surgical arm compression garments
    • Patients that have had liposuction or coolsculpting on their arms will find a nice array of compression garments that specifically target arms.  Most of the times these will be worn as a sort of vest that fits around the upper torso and encompasses the upper arms.
  • Leg compression
    • Often recommended and used for patients that have liposuction or coolsculpting on their legs
  • Mens post surgical compression garments
    • It’s usually assumed that almost all plastic surgery information is targeted for woman but with the growing trend of 10% and more of all plastic surgery procedures being done on men, there is a need and therefore a good supply of many of the same kind of post surgical compression garments for men as for women.

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 every now and then.

Post surgical bra with wide adjustable straps. Front closure

Post surgical bra with wide adjustable straps. Front closure – click to check price on Amazon

table of contents

back to top