Do I Have to Continue Wearing the Foam Under Compression Garments?

I had liposuction of my upper and lower abs 9 days ago. I'm still in the level one compression garments. I have been wearing the foam underneath the garments, but it makes me look pregnant. Do I need to continue wearing the foam? What about in a week or so when I switch to the level 2?? My doctor wants me to wear compression garments 24/7 for three months, which seems a like a lot based on other people's experiences. I can't imagine looking 3 months pregnant for the next three months.

Doctor Answers 3

Post-op routines after lipo

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Every surgeon has a slightly different post-op routine.

The foam is helpful early on, but by 9 days out, you can certainly remove it, and just use your binder / compression garment.

I usually recommend wearing the stage 1 garment 24/7 for the first 2 weeks.  After that, you can go into the secondary garment.


Hope that helps!


Foam Under Compression Garments

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Foam padding works well to prevent initial bruising. I usually have my patients remove it after 3 days when they shower and wash their garment. You selected your surgeon for a reason so I would ask him/her for their rationale. Compression garments type and when applied varies from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon and not dependent usually on the type of lipo performed. I would recommend following your plastic surgeon's advice. In my practice, A compression garment placed in surgery immediately after liposuction (steristrip protects the sutures) is recommended and beneficial after liposuction because:
  1. It restricts the amount of edema that forms and hastens its resolution by mechanical pressure.
  2. It decreases the amount of bruising.
  3. It assists the loose skin in retracting or shrinking.
If bands are present then you need to change garments - see your plastic surgeon.
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.

Do I have to?

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definitely sounds like something you should have thought about before surgery. at this point you need to stay on the horse as you are midstream. ultimately, the decision is yours. knowing myself, i wouldn't wear it but, then again, I am a notoriously bad pt. from a plastic surgery point of view, the opinions will be all over the place. most of us have abandoned foam. good luck

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

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.