Last week, I had regular lipo on my upper/lower abs and outer thighs but I was not sent home with a compression garment. I was told to bring in a pair of control top pantyhose and when I woke up I had the hose on along with a rectangular piece of foam over the stomach area. I was told to keep the foam in place until my follow-up next week. Is this another form of compression?
No Compression Garment After Lipo
Doctor Answers 4
Compression after liposuction
There are different post-operative instructions given to patients by different surgeons. The foam under your control-top hose will apply even pressure to that area but may not provide enough compression to some of the areas that might extend beyond the foam. Compression garments tend to cover a wider area. Some surgeons even use foam and compression garments provided there isn't too much pressure. Whether or not compression provides a better long term result might not be studied well enough to have a definitive answer. I see less bruising and faster resolution of that with the use of compression garments and have several patients that have noted they feel more comfortable in garments during the healing process than without the garment.
Compression Garment Recommendations Vary
- 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.
It is common to have weight gain due to edema, serum that collects in the area, and the tumescent fluid that was injected. This will resolve over time. The more you wear the garment initially, the quicker this fluid resolves.
Edema: a condition characterized by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body.
The length of time that the garment should be worn varies depending on the amount of fat removed, the elastic nature of your skin, how much loose skin remains, and other factors. Your surgeon would give you the best advice, however this is the general routine for my patients.
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 so I can confirm that it fits well.
Most important advice is to listen to your surgeon, as he or she knows how much fat was removed, the elasticity that remains in your skin, and amount of skin redundancy.
I recommend that my patients wear their garments for a minimum of three weeks full time then for twelve hours at a time (day or night). If there is not a lot of redundant skin, this continues to a maximum of six weeks.
To be effective, the garment needs to fit snugly—but not too tight as that can make it difficult to sleep or cause pressure problems (inspect your skin when it is exposed if you are uncomfortable). As the edema resolves it is common for patients to switch to a smaller garment that fits. A Spanx-type garment would work fine, rather than ordering one or paying more at your doctor’s office. For Small or moderate amounts of liposuction it probably doesn't make a difference if a garment is used or not.
Are Compression Garments Necessary after Liposuction?
I would expect that your control top pantyhose with the foam should be fine. While most plastic surgeons use some sort of compression after liposuction, there have been some studies suggesting that compression garments may not make any big difference in the long term. I do believe that some compression is helpful, particularly in helping to control theearly posotp swelling that occurs. However, compression garments that are too tight can cause problems with skin irritation. Liposuction garments come in standard sizes, and may not fit each body type as well, so a control top pantyhose can be a good option for many patients. Best wishes.
Michael Vincent, MD, FACS
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Compression garments after liposuction
There are a number of different types of garments available for use after liposuction, and depending on the amount and area on which you had surgery, your plastic surgeon may recommend using a particular one, or none at all. In general, the garments are designed to minimize swelling and improve patient comfort after surgery.