Benefits of Wearing a Compression Garment after surgery

A compression garment is a post-op clothing garment made mostly out of elastin and nylon, which plays a crucial role in enhancing recovery following surgical procedures. It forms the basis of inseparable post-operative care following various plastic surgical procedures such as liposuction, mammoplasty, augmentative or reconstructive surgeries of your breasts, abdominoplasty, face lifting, neck lifting, etc. These garments are made putting your comfort during the recovery in mind and are essential for safe and early wound healing.

Even though it is quite common for surgical procedures to be followed by the use of compression garments during recovery, many patients have questions about them. Find out how compression garments work and why they’re so useful. In short, these garments can help promote faster healing and, minimize swelling.

Why should I wear a Compression Garment?

The use of compression garments postoperatively is a vital part of postoperative care; it accelerates the healing process and improves your postoperative prognosis. It helps in stabilizing postoperative changes and reduces pain and swelling associated with the procedure. It plays a crucial role in determining the results of your surgery. It makes the recovery process much smoother. Using compression garments may also help in preventing complications related to blood clots and incompetent circulation by promoting effective circulation.

When is a Compression Garment useful?

Coco Ruby Plastic Surgeons commonly use compression garments after

What are the Benefits of using a Compression Garment?

  • It can help to reduce bruising

Compression garments help to reduce the chances of bruising following any plastic surgery. Blood vessels are disrupted during surgical procedures which cause bruising around that site. The use of post-operative garments decreases bruising considerably by preventing your blood cells from migrating towards the skin.

  • It can help to reduce swelling

Post-operative swelling occurs when too much fluid builds up in the cavities or tissues of the affected region which can result in weight gain. Using a compression garment aggressively controls swelling by pressing upon the affected part.

  • It can help to reduce skin sagging

Compression garments by holding skin tightly to underlying tissues help in accelerating your healing process. Following liposuction, excess skin may be left behind; compression garments provide support and hold your skin in place reducing lumping and sagging of your skin.

  • It can help promote blood circulations

Limited mobility following surgery may lead to a lack of proper circulation which results in blood clots developing. These blood clots can be very dangerous and lead to devastating consequences down the line. The use of compression garments promotes effective circulation and reduces the risk associated with blood clot formation. Proper circulation also helps in rapid wound healing and decreased the chances of infection.

  • It can help reduce postoperative pains

Compression garments promote circulation and decrease swelling thus accelerating the recovery procedure. As the recovery process is faster, the inflammatory process in your body is reduced which results in less pain. Additionally compression garments by applying pressure locally to the affected site help in reducing pain.

  • It can help help maintain your new contours and get a better result

Your plastic surgical procedure helps you get the contour to your body that you desired, but compression garments play an important role in maintaining those changes. The use of compression garments is thus vital for aesthetic results following your surgery.

What is the Timeline for wearing your garment?

  • The First Stage

First stage compression garments are worn generally for four weeks immediately following the surgery. These garments should be worn at all times and removed only at the bath. It should be worn immediately after showering. These garments are provided with hooks and eyes which help reduce friction and provide comfort. These garments help reduce post-operative swelling and bruising.

  • The Second Stage

Second stage garments are worn when your body does not create as much fluid at the surgery site. This stage starts about four weeks after the surgery and these garments should be worn for about 2 to 8 weeks. These garments do not have zippers or eyes and are more comfortable for day to day use under your clothes. You will not require wearing these garments throughout the day.

  • The Third Stage

Your newly acquired contours will have been noticeable by this stage. The postoperative swelling will have subsided by three months in most individuals. You may require wearing compression garments if your swelling hasn’t subsided till this period.


What do compression garments do?

  • Compression garments help in reducing any pain and swelling that you may have after the surgery. It prevents skin bruising and makes the recovery process faster and smoother. High-quality garments absorb sweat preventing chances of infection and give you a fresher feel. It helps maintain the contour obtained after your plastic surgery. It improves the results of your surgery and the final result of surgery is appreciated much earlier. It may help reduce excess skin left behind as well without having to undergo surgery.

Can I sleep without my compression garment?

  • During stage one of your recovery, you will need to wear compression garments throughout the day and also while sleeping. These garments should be taken off only while showering. This phase of recovery typically lasts 4 weeks, After four completed weeks you can remove the garments when going to sleep. A thing to remember is that there is no harm in wearing these garments longer than recommended provided they are comfortable.

What are Stage I and Stage II Garments?

  • Stage one garments are those compressive garments that are used immediately following your surgical procedure. It helps to remove excess swelling caused by fluid accumulation. It also helps to reduce post-operative bruising. These garments make it possible for excess fluids to drain away easily. These garments are zippered with hooks and eyes, which help reduce friction and make the recovery process comfortable. Stage one garments are worn for 1 – 2 weeks or more, depending upon the nature of your surgery.
  • Stage two garments on the other hand are those garments that are worn during the second stage of wound healing following surgery. It is worn from the second postoperative week onwards and may be worn up to 8 weeks. It provides support to the newly contoured body. It does not have zippers or eyes and can be easily worn under your clothes.

What happens if you don’t wear compression garments after liposuction?

  • Liposuction is a surgical procedure that uses a suction technique to remove fat from specific areas of the body, such as the abdomen, hips, thighs, buttocks, arms, or neck. Excess skin may be left behind in these areas which were previously supported by the removed fat cells. Compression garments help reduce this sagging by holding your skin tightly to the underlying tissues. Not using these garments may result in excess sagged skins being left behind and give a less than aesthetic look to the results obtained after liposuction.

How long should I wear a compression garment after a tummy tuck?

  • Tummy tuck surgery is one of the more aggressive body contouring procedures performed by plastic and cosmetic surgeons around the world. To get the best possible results from your procedure, you will need to wear compression garments after tummy tuck surgery for at least six to eight weeks during the post-op phase

Do compression garments help tighten skin?

  • Compression garments by holding the excess skin left behind to the underlying tissues after certain procedures like liposuction can help tighten the skin and reduce sagging.

How tight should your compression garment be after liposuction?

  • The compression garment that you wear should be tight enough to provide support to the affected part, but it should not be too tight to cause discomfort. Best compression garments fit snugly and exert adequate pressure on the body part. Wearing compression garments that are too tight can cause more harm than good.

Can compression garments cause swelling?

  • Compression garments are intended to reduce swelling but using tight garments causing excess pressure can lead to fluid build-up and swelling. Compression garments should be worn such that they snugly fit in your body. Wearing a compression bandage too tight causes more harm than good. Poorly fitted garments increase your risk of lymphedema as well.

Does compression help with belly fat?

  • There is no evidence to suggest that wearing compression garments can result in weight loss from your belly in any way. These garments by exerting pressure on your tissues compress them giving an illusion of weight loss but do not cause actual weight loss. On the contrary, studies have shown it to slow down the process of weight loss by causing the support muscles to atrophy under its pressure.

What is the best tummy tuck compression garment after surgery?

  • It is important to choose a high-quality to make the recovery following surgery easier, minimize your post-operative discomfort, and prevent complications. Compression garments should be worn for six weeks following larger surgeries such as a tummy tuck, smaller procedures require only four weeks of wearing these garments – so the more comfortable and useable the better.
    • The quality of a compression garment is very important as you will be wearing it for a considerable period. The quality can vary depending on the manufacturer. Your surgeon will help you in choosing the best material. Some features to consider before buying compression garments include:
    • Materials should have good Antibacterial properties. This helps prevent bacterial growth on the skin thus accelerating the recovery process. Offensive odors caused as a result of bacterial growth are also minimized giving you a better smell.
    • Compression garments should have breathable materials. These high-quality materials reduce sweating and keep you dry making the recovery process more comfortable and more rapid. It also helps reduce bad odor by preventing sweat from accumulating.
    • It should have a durable fabric: Good quality fabrics with plenty of stretches that snugly and comfortably fit your body
    • Compression garments should have moisture-wicking properties: This helps keep your skin dry reducing the bacterial spread and providing you comfort. The moisture-wicking property also helps reduce odors because of its evaporating properties.
    • It should have a seamless design to avoid unnecessary irritation to your skin
    • Compression garments should have zippers or hook-and-eye closures: These help reduce friction and are easy to wear and remove; you need not strain for it. Also, it makes going to the washroom easier as these garments are provided with convenient openings.

Tips to Reduce Swelling Besides using Compression Garments

Swelling is a normal reaction of your body to any surgical procedure but excess swelling can result in complications or could well be an indicator of complications. You should alert your Surgeon about any swelling which you find abnormal.

Few things you can do to minimize swelling and fluid collection after the surgery in addition to using compression garments include:

  • Avoid salty foods: Salty foods potentiate swelling by holding water and preventing its removal from the body.
  • Applying cold compresses using ice packs at the site of surgery post-operatively can help reduce swelling.
  • Avoiding the use of diuretics as diuretics do not help in removing localized swelling
  • Elevating the swollen part above the heart level helps in draining excess fluids and reducing swelling.

Further Reading and Medical References 


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