Best Compression Garment for Body & Tummy Surgery Patients
What is a Compression Garment?
A compression garment is a special clothing item designed for a range of physiological issues and is a standard part of post-operative care for those who have undergonetummy tucks/ abdominoplasties. After undergoing an abdominoplasty, it is normal to experience a range of symptoms associated with the surgery, such as swelling, bruising and fluid retention. A compression garment (sometimes referred to as a surgical binder or girdle) can help in reducing these symptoms and finding the right one for you can make all the difference in your abdominoplasty recovery.
What type of compression garment should I use?
Although the types of compression garments can vary depending on what they are being used for and how they are manufactured, there are design elements common to the majority of compression garments for tummy tuck – abdominoplasty patients.
These include the use of an elasticised (or stretchy) material, seams that are incorporated into the garment to avoid any areas directly affected by surgery, and other features that promote recovery. The types and sizing of compression garments used for post-tummy tuck – abdominoplasty procedures also vary, depending on how far you are along with your abdominoplasty recovery.
Your surgeon will discuss different options with you and help you select the best compression garment for your post-operative care.
Download Dr Carmen’s Guide to Tummy Tuck Surgery – Abdominoplasty
Why is a compression garment needed for Body surgery and tummy tuck – abdominoplasty patient recovery?
There are a number of reasons why compression garments are worn after abdominoplasty surgery to assist with your recovery period. These include, but are not limited to:
- Minimalising your discomfort by helping to control swelling. Swelling is a normal phase of post-operative recovery, but it can cause some discomfort. A compression garment helps to alleviate some of this discomfort by assisting in controlling the amount of swelling a person experiences after their abdominoplasty.
- Minimalising your discomfort by helping to prevent bruising and haematoma. Some bleeding is expected, but a compression garment can help reduce this by helping with circulation and pressing down on areas that are susceptible to developing haematomas or intensive bruising.
- Minimalising fluid retention. Compression against the skin helps the body to absorb the excess fluid that normally develops after an abdominoplasty procedure.
- To help prevent hypertrophic or keloid scarring. A compression garment helps to keep the surgical scar flat and smooth.
- Promotion of healing to get you back to your daily activities a little bit faster!
How you wear your compression garment will depend on the individual manufacturing of the garment itself. Because compression garments designed for tummy tucks/ abdominoplasties will avoid the area directly affected by surgery, the opening for these garments is usually found at the side.
Why are Post-operative garments important for body surgery patients?
Most body sculpting surgery requires the post-operative support provided by a specifically designed compression garment.
Garments provide support in these seven different ways.
1. Reduction in post-operative swelling.
Swelling is very normal following body contouring surgery and generally affects the area close to the incision site, although initially patients can experience swelling of the hands, feet, and face within the first few days of surgery, this quickly settles but the skin closer to the incision sites often increases in swelling and/or bruising during the first few weeks after surgery. This is expected and a natural process of healing following body contouring.
Persistent swelling is often more pronounced to abdominal or limb suture areas. Due to the effects of gravity and your body’s ability to absorb and remove internal fluids. This swelling can take weeks or months to fully resolve.
The cause is as a result of the actual operation, where skin is moved or removed altogether and liposuction or liposculpture is used to contour body tissue to create the desired effect. It is a normal response as the body struggles to understand the cause of this sudden trauma and retains fluid in an effort to facilitate healing. Swelling is uncomfortable causing bloating, pressure or even burning pain.
2. Reduction in nerve pain,
Reduction in pain related to bloating or general bruising, haematoma, or underlying skin swelling. Some bleeding within the skin tissues is expected following cosmetic surgery (you feel this – tender areas or firm rounded swelling and see it – in bruised, discoloured skin). (burning or shooting occasional unpredictable pains). Swelling can cause pressure on the narrow channels that nerve fibres travel through such as the elbow or groin, reduction in swelling helps to reduce this occurrence or severity.
A firm compression garment can reduce risk and control this by providing firm pressure at the wound site by compressing the skin firmly and therefore improving circulation within the body.
3. Reduction in fluid retention
Compression encourages the body to reabsorb additional fluid from the dermal layers whilst compressing the skin firmly to discourage additional fluid build-up.
4. Warms the scar lines which encourages blood supply for healing
The thick and elasticised structure of the garments provides an optimum healing temperature to the skin
5. Reducing scarring and scar stretching
wearing garments to support scar lines enhances timely healing which in turn reduces the risk of scarring due to keloid scars or suture line breakdown, by keeping the scar line flat and smooth.
6. Provides support for your incision
in the same way your seatbelt gives support and driving without it makes you feel unsafe and unsupported, your garment provides support to your body, reducing the movement of skin that needs additional support.
7. Promotes skin retraction and contour
Body contouring surgery is a highly skilled procedure, shaping the internal contours whilst also ensuring enough skin remains to provide a pleasing result, this often relies on the body’s ability to facilitate skin retraction in relation to the gentle but firm pressure of a fitted garment.
What is the best compression garment for me?
There are many different compression garments available for people who have undergone a tummy tuck – abdominoplasty procedure. Your surgeon will have their own recommendations on the best garment for your abdominoplasty recovery and discuss these with you to help you make an informed choice on the best-suited one for you.
Like other garments, compression garments come in a variety of different brands, shapes, sizes and designs. The most important thing your surgeon will consider when recommending a compression garment for your abdominoplasty recovery is the fit of it on you. It should cover the areas it needs to cover adequately, feel snug but not too tight, and be easy for you to put on and take off once you’re able.
Which compression garment brands do surgeons prefer?
The brand of compression garments that comes highly recommended by plastic surgeons is Marena.
Marena compression garments stand out as they are made using fabrics that contain anti-bacterial properties, which can assist in preventing infections occurring and are designed in a way that minimises irritation to the skin during the recovery period. They are surgical-grade compression garments that come in several different binder options covering the different stages of recovery and levels.
A stage 1 surgical grade compression garment will offer pressure across your entire abdominal area, along with your sides and lower back. They’re simple to put on, have a fully adjustable side closure to avoid your tummy tuck/ abdominoplasty incision, and often they are treated with an anti-microbial treatment.
These garments will also help stabilise your shape and new contours and can be great for assisting with skin retraction after your abdominoplasty surgery.
If you have never worn a compression garment before, the sensation can take a little while to get used to. They are designed to put pressure against the skin and can sometimes feel a little tight and uncomfortable during the initial recovery phase when swelling is still present.
Although the thought of this may seem a little unpleasant, a compression garment is made to help you heal the best you can, and give you the best possible results after your tummy tuck – abdominoplasty surgery.
How long do I wear the compression garment?
Your surgeon will discuss with you how long you will need to wear a compression garment after your abdominoplasty. The length of time can vary from person to person but typically you will need to wear your compression garment for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks following surgery. Although this may seem like a long period of time, it is to promote healing and to ensure you gain the best possible results. In some instances, you’ll only be required to wear a compression garment for a much shorter period of time.
From a surgical post op perspective, the most beneficial effect will be achieved from wearing your garments day and night for the full 6 – 8 weeks post-surgery. The longer the better.
It may feel very unnatural or constricted at first if you are not used to wearing compression garments. You may be swollen and very likely sore from your recent surgery.
It does take a little while to get used to the firm feeling of compression. Please persevere as the more the garment is worn the faster you will heal, the lower the risk of skin healing complications such as scarring or suture line breakdown and of course the less swelling you will experience.
You have invested a lot of time, thought, and indeed money into your surgery, it just makes sense to use all the tools available to ensure the very best outcome is achieved.
‘Not all garments are created equal’ There is no doubt that garments are costly, but they are well designed, surgical grade compression, using shaping to graduate the fitting and are made with extended zips or closure devices and using the very best materials available.
Garments are carefully crafted to avoid the ridged effect of fluid collecting, instead extending the pressure to several centimetres away from suture lines. The garment needs to be snug but not too tight (not forcing surrounding skin to bulge or chafe). It also needs to be relatively easy to out on and take off once you have recovered from the initial days following surgery.
They have external seams and tags to ensure as little skin irritation as possible whilst also providing a smooth surface to the skin. The wider surface area of pressure achieved by a specifically tailored garment provides consistent and uniform pressure, helping to prevent pockets of swelling developing. When you also consider the function of such a garment in the overall control and management of swelling it is money well spent.
Here at Aesthetik Profile we highly recommend and measure for Lipoelastic, Marena and Design Veronique. It is important to have a range of different garments available as everyone is differently shaped and each surgical goal is individually tailored to your needs.
You will be measured for your surgical garments by a member of our highly skilled team, a few weeks prior to your surgical date. There is a lot of skill involved in measuring garments with regard to predicted surgical skin loss but likely fluid collection (swelling).
The garment not only needs to fit well but be fit for purpose – do you have a support person to help you at home or will you need to put the garment on by yourself? Do you have underlying health considerations such as joint stiffness which affects your flexibility? The good intentions and positive outcome of purchasing an amazing garment are useless if you do not wear it.
We commonly get asked “how long do I need to wear this garment”? Our response is always – as long as possible.
Many clients choose to wear their garments much longer than surgically necessary and often step down into supportive undergarments or firm leggings.
Dr Carmen and Aesthetik Profile focusses on the whole patient experience and the fitting and management of surgical garments is an important part of that process.
Further Reading about Body Procedures with Dr Carmen
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about Compression Garments after Body Lift
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about How Can I Reduce Swelling and Bruising After Body Lift Surgery
- Read Dr Carmen’s Blog about How to Reduce Scars after Body Lift Surgery