How Does a Compression Garment Help After Liposuction Surgery? (photo)

There a lots of references in the stories posted on Real Self about compression garments post-op. Don't really understand how a compression garment "works" and makes a difference. What if you didn't wear one, what happens? Are all compression garments the same quality, or are some brands better for healing--like spanx? Thank You VERY much.

Doctor Answers 14

How Does a Compression Garment Help After Liposuction Surgery?

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Great question! I personally have my liposuction patients wear the garment 24/7 except to shower for 4 weeks post op for 3 main reasons:

1.) Controlling swelling: the compression on your tissues helps your body to reabsorb the edema fluid that accumulates in the tissues after any procedure. This can take quite some time to happen without help from the compression garments

2.) Improving contour: the compression helps to keep the tissues adherent to the underlying structures while healing, this can help prevent the wrinkled skin appearance that can happen when the tissues heal in ways we don't want them to.

3.) Improving scarring: pressure has been shown to improve the appearance of scars. A tummy tuck scar is quite long and right on the front of your body so anything that can help make it flatter, softer and less visible is to your advantage.

For those reasons many of us would argue that the compression is as important as, if not more important than, the method of liposuction used in determining the final outcome. While a commercial product like spanx will be ok later in the healing process, the surgical compression garments your get from your surgeon have a higher level of compression and should be worn for the first 3-4 weeks at least. Hope that helps!

Compression garments after liposuction

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When liposuction is performed, a wide array of tunnels is created in the fat.  The compression garment obliterates these and prevents them from filling up with fluid and healing more slowly.


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I generally advise patients wear their garment 24 hours a day for three weeks, removing it only when bathing or washing it. From 3 to 6 weeks, wear your garment in the day only. It helps with easing swelling and reducing the risk of seroma. The garment should fit snugly but not to the point that you can't breathe or are feeling sore. It's best to follow your PS's advice or express your concerns directly to them so that they may respond.

Use of compression varies from patient to patient.

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It’s not unusual for surgeons to recommend the use of compression garments following liposuction.Although the majority of plastic surgeons recommend some type of compression, there are surgeons who don’t always recommend compression.It’s important to understand that every patient is unique, and for this reason the use of compression varies from patient to patient.

The importance of compression garments depends upon a variety of factors.These might include the amount of fat removed and the patient’s baseline skin laxity, to name a few.In some cases, not wearing a compression garment may have no significance.In other cases, it might be the difference between an excellent result and an average result.

Compression minimizes swelling and decreases post-operative pain.It helps to remodel the soft tissue by collapsing tunnels created by the liposuction cannula during the procedure.Compression contributes significantly to the contour improvement that’s seen with this procedure.

Swelling and water retention following tumescent liposuction can be reduced with compression, massage, exercise and low-salt diets.These maneuvers ultimately improve the post-operative experience by minimizing swelling and discomfort following this procedure.

It’s important to discuss this issue with your surgeon before proceeding with surgery so you have an understanding of why post-operative compression garments are important for you.The majority of plastic surgeons utilize compression garments in most liposuction cases and feel that it positively impacts the final surgical result.

Compression garments help patients feel more comfortable often, after liposuction

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Compression garments may minimize bruising, and by the pressure on the surgically-treated area, they may facilitate having less of a risk of a hematoma or even a seroma. The end result with or without a compression garment may be the same, but many patients feel less sore by wearing the compression in the first several weeks after liposuction.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Compressive garments are an important adjunct to liposuction

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Compressive garments absolutely make a big difference, however, not all garments are the same.  There are different "weave" technologies in the type of garment design and quite frankly some work better than others.  We have done scientific research in our practice in regards to the type of "weave" technology and found it makes a difference.  The idea with compression garments after liposuction is to encourage resolution of swelling and facilitate skin retraction after the contour improvement.  Garden variety "spanks" are not the as specialty garments designed for liposuction/body sculting.  We also utilized special foam technology in order to "target" certain areas for enhanced skin retraction after liposuction.  Compression garment are no good without a well trained team of post-lymphatic massage specialists.  There is a need to have compression as well as the appropriate massages in order to facilitate the shrinkage and contour improvements but without getting untoward scar tissue.  We typically use our garments for three weeks 24 hours a day, followed by three weeks at night only.  I hope this helps!


James F. Boynton, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Reason for #LiposuctionCompressionGarment

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How does a Compression Garment help after Liposuction?
If you have had suction of the knees, thigh, or abdomen, the doctor will have put on a compression garment at the end of the surgery. The extra pressure this garment provides helps reduce swelling and discomfort. You should not remove this garment at all until the second or third day after surgery. After that, feel free to remove the garment temporarily for laundering. We want you to have circumferential pressure for 4-6 weeks, but you may switch to an exercise garment (Lycra or Spandex) whenever it feels comfortable to slip it on or off, as you will have to do so in order to go to the bathroom. See the below link for a more fuller explanation and general advice.

Compression garments and lipo

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Not all doctors have patients wear compression garments after liposuction. I have my patients wear them because I think that it helps with decreasing the risk of seroma and allows better adherence of the skin.. I think that patients are also more comfortable with them on.

Liposuction Garments

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Compression garments are not absolutely necessary but they do make patients more comfortable.  Studies have shown the end results depend on the surgery skill, not the garment.  In very large liposuction I feel it is important to wear garments for the first week to prevent fluid shifts and imbalance.   Most patients like the garments, feel better in them, and tend to wean off them as they desire for maximum comfort.  Some like some compression for 3 to 4 months.  In the end the results are the same, wear or not.  Some are allergic to garments but that is rare with latex avoidance.  Happy Valentines.

Garments after liposuction are very helpful for recovery...

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After liposuction a garment is worn to help with healing and recovery, which does make them necessary after surgery.  A good result from liposuction depends on the skin contracting and the garment helps the skin to do that after surgery.  Also, garments help reduce swelling and help promote the flow of body fluids which decreases swelling.  Compression garments also moderate your body temperature and absorb any perspiration that may develop.  Your doctor will typically recommend a brand with which he is familiar, and one that is also comfortable.  If you are interested in liposuction surgery, then I would make an appointment with a board certified plastic surgeon.  There you will be advised of all post op instructions including garment wear.

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.