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Is It True That Wearing a Garter/binder After a Tummy Tuck Helps in Achieving the Perfect Figure?

I've heard of women (who do their surgery's in D.R. anyway) who wear their binders for 6 or more months after surgery, believing that they will heal in that shape, or their bodies will conform to that shape anyway. Is it true the longer you wear it the better?

Doctor Answers (8)

Is it true that wearing a garter/binder after a tummy tuck helps in achieving the perfect figure?

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Hello! Thank you for your question!. The tummy tuck procedure is an excellent method for contouring of your abdomen, often removing the excess skin as well as tightening the abdominal wall. After nearly all surgical procedures, a potential space is created from where the surgical procedure/dissection was performed. This is especially true for the tummy tuck, in where the abdominal flap is raised off of the abdominal wall and then redraped atop the area to contour the abdomen. The procedure alone promotes swelling and inflammation, which typically lasts for 6-12 weeks. This may even last longer if liposuction has been performed in addition. During this time, a few things may be done to allow adherence of the abdominal skin/soft tissue to readhere to the abdominal wall and close that space. Many surgeons use drains to evacuate the expected serous fluid from building up. Stagnant fluid as such may be a nidus for infection as well as does not allow the tissue to adhere back to its normal anatomic position. Drains usually are removed once output is <30cc/day - usually removed within 3-4 weeks on average, sometimes longer. When this occurs, a seroma may develop - which may require aspiration or surgical evacuation to rid this in order to optimize your result.

This is not an uncommon reason for persistent swelling and/or bulging in a certain area of your belly. Of course, thwarting the development of a pseudobursa, or seroma capsule, is always best, to provide the best result as well as avoid any future procedures for this. This may be a troubling consequence and often compromises your overall result. Thus avoiding this complication, in whatever manner, is the objective. "Drainless" tummy tucks are becoming more popular - basically, the overlying tissue is physically sutured to the abdominal wall to close the potential space. In addition, most surgeons typically restrict vigorous activity/strenuous exercise as well as lifting restrictions of usually <20#, especially the core, for 6-8 weeks to allow healing to continue. Most also often recommend an abdominal compression-type binder or garment, which will serve to provide compression as well as assist to decrease swelling and eliminate the dead-space of the area for at least 6 weeks as well. After the initial binder, many patients like the Spanx garments. Most patients are able to return to most activities within a couple of weeks, provided they adhere to the restrictions.

Overall, this is a procedure with a high satisfaction rate. Discuss the procedure and postoperative instructions/restrictions with your surgeon, as these will vary among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!


Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Is It True That Wearing a Garter/binder After a Tummy Tuck Helps in Achieving the Perfect Figure?

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Most plastic surgeons have their patients wear a binder or compression girdle after a tummy tuck for the patient's support and comfort, and to discourage fluid collections under the skin that might require drainage.  After 4-6 weeks, I do not require my patients to wear any garment, but since there is continued swelling that comes and goes for another several weeks or longer, I recommend that they wear a Spanx or other lightweight support garment as long as they feel it is helpful.  There is no evidence that long term garment compression after that has any permanent shaping effect.

Robert M. Grenley, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 71 reviews

A binder after tummy tuck is aa good idea.

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A binder after tummy tuck is aa good idea.

Wear it full time for three weeks. Keep it loose in the first week after surgery and tighter as time goes on.

After a month or so you can switch to compression girdle. The swelling won't be all gone for 9-12 months.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

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Binder after Tummy Tuck for 6 Months or More

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   Most plastic surgeons would recommend a compression garment and possibly drains to reduce the risk of fluid collection and to keep swelling under control.  Wearing the garment for longer than 4 to 6 weeks would be an uncommon recommendation, but there is no study that has demonstrated lack of benefit due to wearing the garment longer.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
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Garment/Binder Important After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

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Thank you for the question.

 No, I do not think that the use of  postoperative garment/binder  plays a major role in achieving the “perfect figure”. Some of the factors that are important  in achieving the best results possible, in my opinion, include having the procedure performed when you have achieved a long-term stable weight,  the  quality of the procedure performed,  and “maintaining” the results postoperatively with healthy diet/lifestyle.

 I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
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Binder Wear After Tummy Tuck

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The role of the circumferential binder after a tummy tuck is for comfort, tissue adhesion and prevention of a seroma. While it has real established benefits in the first month after surgery, use beyond that time is more dubious. There is no medical evidence that better results occur after a tummy tuck from prolonged binder wear.Conversely, there is no harm in doing so and it certainly can not hurt. Based on how you heard of this biner benefit suggests that it is more fiction than fact.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Wearing A Garter After a Tummy Tuck For Over 6 Weeks is Unusual

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It depends on your recovery. Typically, I recommend patients wear a binder, garter or compression garment day and night for about 3 weeks, then just in the day after that for about 3 more weeks. After that, it usually is not necessary unless you are recovering more slowly. However, more than 6 months is unusual. The only way that I can see it beneficial in helping create a “perfect figure” after 6 weeks or so is for one reason: because it applies pressure on the midsection, and specifically your stomach. This pressure on your stomach can help you feel fuller when you eat. Therefore, you won’t eat as much. Of course a healthy diet and exercise regimen are always necessary to maintain your tummy tuck results, but some patients may appreciate this “trick”.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Long term use of an abdominal binder after abdominoplasty

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Thanks for your question.  During a standard abdominoplasty the fascia of the rectus muscle is sutured together with very strong sutures.  It takes many months for the internal scar to heal before there is any strength in the repair.  The use of the abdominal binder keeps the sutures from pulling through the abdominal fascia.  If there is quite a bit of movement during the early months of healing its possible the abdominal sutures and actually tear through the fascia and not make the stomach as flat.  I ask my patients to wear the abdominal corset for up to six months.  By doing so my patients have maintained a flat abdomen that is as tight as the day I tightened them.  This I know because I follow each patient for up to a year and measure their abdomen with each visit.  In addition the compression corset helps to keep the scar from becoming hypertrophic and raised.

Benjamin Chu, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

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.