Consequences of Not Wearing the Binder After Tummy Tuck?

I'm 9 days post op Tummy Tuck. I was asked to wear a binder for 6-8 weeks if not my stomach would get bigger. It it is very uncomfortable and caused my cut to bleed. Is this normal? And if I don't wear the binder will my stomach really get bigger?

Doctor Answers 11

Tummy Tuck

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Not all compression garments are created equal. As with surgeons and surgery centers, you tend to get what you pay for. In my practice we provide the compression garments for abdominoplasty patients (there is no added fee for compression garments), and we have tried out almost every major company’s garments. We have been happiest with Marena’s compression garments as the fabric is very soft, elastic and comfortable yet durable. They are also the most aesthetically pleasing garments we have used. If modified with scissors the fabric does not ‘run’ or split.
If the garments are not pleasant to wear then patients will inevitably discontinue their use earlier than would be ideal. Some practices ask patients to purchase their own garments (I’ve even heard of patients being sent to Wal-Mart for this), which is leaving an important part of the postop care regimen in inexperienced hands. If a practice advises you to purchase your own compression garment, they are probably more interested in controlling costs than your postoperative comfort.

I am not dogmatic about compression garment use. If a patient states that they would prefer not to wear it, or would prefer to discontinue its use early, we allow the patient to do so. That being said, the vast majority of our patients wear their garments for the full four-week protocol, and some use them for longer than four weeks on their own volition. Garment fit and comfort is everything. If the fit is right and the patient is comfortable, then patients feel better, have a more pleasant recovery, experience less edema and more rapidly return to normal activity.

Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
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Consequences of not wearing the binder after tummy tuck?

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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!

Call your surgeon regarding stopping the binder after a tummy tuck

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You should contact your surgeon in regards to the limitations and recommendations after your tummy tuck surgery. Only he or she will have the best idea if compression is essential to maintaining your result.

If you have had an aggressive diastasis repair use of external compression may be supportive in the same way a cast is useful after repairing a fracture. This may provide rnecessary reinforcement when you cough, sneeze, etc.

If however, the diastasis was minimal, you could easily forego the use of the binder.

Wearing binder

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If your lower abdomen was flat at first and now it is swollen this is normal. As you get more active the fluid between the cells, called interstitial fluid tends to accumulate above the scar. The scar works as a dam. It takes about 3 months for the lymphatic vessels to re-form and properly drain this dependent edema. Give it a chance and it will get better. If in doubt discuss this with your plastic surgeon.

Seromas, infection, and wound break down...

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Compression garments and abdominal binders are frequently used following abdominoplasty for several reasons. These devices provide compression which reduces swelling, increases comfort and minimizes the potential for seroma formation.
I generally tell my patients to use a binder for three weeks following surgery. When drains are used, we continue the use of the binder for longer periods of time. It’s interesting to note that when we discontinue the binder, many patients continue to wear it. They feel that the extra support makes them feel more comfortable with activity.
Failure to wear a compression garment in the immediate post-operative period can have significant consequences following abdominoplasty. This can result in the development of seromas, infection and possibly wound breakdown. For these reasons, it important to wear a compression device for at least three weeks following abdominoplasty.

Binder is mainly for support

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Depending on the extent of your tummy tuck, the decision as to how long to wear a binder is determined by your plastic surgeon. If your binder is uncomfortable and causing you to bleed, perhaps it is to tight. If you loosen the binder and still continue to have problems, I would recommend contacting your surgeon to discuss whether you should continue to wear the binder.

A binder should help give you support while you heal not cause you discomfort.

Importance of Binder after Tummy Tuck

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Hi there-

There are tummy tucks, and then there are tummy tucks... What I mean to say is that the importance of the binder to your particular outcome is going to depend on the details of your surgery.

Because this is the case, really the only person who could give you a responsible answer to your question is going to be your surgeon.

I would give him/her a call and ask if the binder is vital to the achievement of your goals, and if there is anything they can recommend to make the binder less uncomfortable to wear. I'm sure they will have the answers you need.

Congratulations on your new body!

Please Wear Garment

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Thank you for your question.

After #tummytuck surgery, most patients will be placed in an #abdominal binder, which they will wear the first week. There is usually a fair amount of swelling and the binder should be opened several times a day so that there are no pressure points. After the first 7 to 10 days the patient is placed in an elastic #garment for compression over the next six weeks.

However, since it is so uncomfortable, you need to contact your #BoardCertified #PlasticSurgeon who may be able to offer you another garment or other advice.

Review it with your doctor

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An abdominoplasty binder is supposed to help, not hinder. We use it to help with swelling and some patients find comfort in its support. It sounds like yours is too tight if it caused bleeding in your incision. A binder that is too tight can cause indentations and affect the circulation. Bring it to your doctor and review the way you are wearing it. Your surgeon may recommend that you discard the abdominal binder, or he/she may want to fit you with one that is looser.

Compression garments after tummy tuck

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Please ask your surgeon regarding your compression garment. It may not be fitted properly if it's causing problems with your recovery. A compression garment is designed to help ease swelling and facilitate your recovery. It also helps your body conform to its new sleeker contours. 

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.