Can I use Spanx instead regular compression garments during my recovery from liposuction?
Liposuction Recovery Using Compression Garments or Spanx?
Doctor Answers (44)
Good Post-Lipo Compression Garment is a MUST!
Take it from a plastic surgeon who has done more than 1000 liposuctions. A good Post-liposuction Compression Garment is a must! this is because it helps to
- Reduce excessive swelling
- Reduces incidence of seroma or fluid collection.
- Give abdominal and support for posture.
- Reduces bruising.
I found spandexes to be usesless and if you are going to wear a spandex, you might as well not wear anything.
Compression garments after Liposuction
I always recommend compression garments for my patients after Liposuction. Typically, I supply two sets of garments, so that the patient will always have one clean garment to change into each day, and I recommend that they are worn continuously, 24/7, for the first three weeks, except to shower. I find that the commercially-available medical compression garments are easier to put on during the early stage of the recovery process, and provide stronger support and compression, than Spanx or other non-medical garments. Occasionally, I have patients apply an additional layer of Topifoam compression inside the garments, which would not be as effective with Spanx or pantyhose.
During the second three weeks, I allow patients to wear the garment 12 hours a day, at their option. After six weeks, the patients can wear Spanx, pantyhose, or no compression, but I find that many patients feel "insecure" without the support garments, and continue to wear them for several months after the surgery.
Spanx are fine for liposuction patients
For most liposuction patients, I stopped using regular compression garments several years ago. They are uncomfortable, cumbersome, and they don't improve the final result. If you wear a compression garment, you will look better one week after liposuction, but after three weeks, patients who wear garments look the same (in terms of bruising and swelling) as patients who do not wear garments. I have made this comparison.
For some patients who have liposuction of the stomach, and for ALL patients who have any liposuction below the knees (ankles, etc.) compression garments must be used.
I see that you are getting conflicting answers, which is very confusing. But I have been doing liposuction for over 20 years. I want the best possible results, and this is my experience.
Best of luck!
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Liposuction Compression Garments or Spanx ?
Compression Garments after Liposuction Surgery Guidelines - Is Spanx a reasonable product:
My personal opinion is that the first garment should be fitted for you in the office prior to surgery and applied in the operating room. Often it will become loose as the edema is mobilized and then it will need to be replaced. Spanx is a reasonable compression garment if it gives enough support and is the right size. I have my patents bring them in and confirm that it fits well.
Most important advise is to listen to your surgeon's advice as he best knows how much fat was removed, the elasticity that remains in your skin and amount of skin redundancy.
I recommend my patients wear their garments for a minimum of 3 weeks full time then for 12 hrs (day or night). if not a lot of redundant skin following liposuction to a maximum of 6 weeks. To be effective the garment needs to fit snug but not too tight as to cause pressure problems (inspect your skin if discomfort and when skin is exposed), or prevent you from sleeping. As the edema resolves it is common for patients to switch to a smaller garment that fits - A Spanx type garment would work rather than ordering one or paying more at your doctor;'s office.
Liposuction requires compression garments for three main reasons:
it restricts the amount of edema that forms and hastens its resolution by mechanical pressure
It decreases the amount of bruising
It assists the loose skin in retracting or shrinking
Post-liiposuction compression: do what works.
By far, the two most important considerations regarding the results of your liposuction are the skill of the surgeon and how good of a candidate you are for the surgery, particularly with respect to the elasticity of your skin. It is important to follow the instructions of your surgeon religiously after surgery but the garment that you chose to wear is not really all that critical as long as it provides smooth firm support. Beware of anything that buckles and forms a crease as this can result in a permanent indentation in your skin. Never rely on something like an Ace wrap for post-liposuction compression.
I like tight compression. Docs vary on this however.
What you will find is that docs vary on the issue. I like tight compression believing that it tends to mold the remaining fat nicely. It also tends to limit the swelling somewhat. Spanx are more comfortable but do not compress as much.
John Di Saia MD
Alternative compression garments besides surgical garments can be utilized, but check with your surgeon . I recommend at least 20% spandex or lycra in the garments fabric to get satifactory and uniform compression on the treated areas.
Choosing between spanx or compression garment
I usually prescribe compression garments but some of my patients use Spanx. I feel that the results are similar in both cases. Furthermore, the garment should be able to extend above and below the liposuction site. When I do localized liposuction (one or two areas), I will always recommend a garment. However, when I do a lot of liposuction, I tend to avoid garments altogether. The reason is that bunching is very hard to control with a very large garment. Good luck with your procedure.
For best results, use the compression garments your physician provides
While it may be tempting (and more affordable) to buy a non-medical garment, I believe that you should wear a medical grade compression garment for at least the first 4 weeks after surgery. Medical garments provide more compression post surgery, and further guarantee the best possible results. Thanks for your question, and I hope this answer helps!
Stephen A. Goldstein, MD, FACS
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.