Is my compression garment too tight? Can I just wear spanks? (Photo)

The garmet I was provided is too tight on my sides and press againsty ribs. It hurts more than my Lipo. I'm only on day 3 post op. Is it too soon to switch to spanks

Doctor Answers 9

Please ask your plastic surgeon

Your garment does look tight, and it should generally feel snug but not uncomfortable. I would highly recommend you contact your plastic surgeon and ask if you can get a slightly larger garment or change to Spanx.

Some plastic surgeons are very particular on their postoperative regiment. In my practice, I ask the patients to wear the garments for 48 hours, and then they can wear them on and off as tolerated.

Many patients like wearing undergarments, but that requires them being fitted appropriately.

I know some surgeons who insist on their patients wearing them for six weeks. 

Best of luck,

Mats Hagstrom, M.D.


San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Spanks as Compression Garment

If your garment hurts that much it probably is the right size for you and in most cases Spanx would be fine but check with your doctor.. Compression garments type and when applied varies from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon and not dependent usually on the type of lipo performed. 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 bulging ridges, creases or bands are present above, within or below your garment, then you probably 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.

Compression garments do not need to be tight after liposuction.

 There's no evidence that compressive garments have any effect on the long-term outcome after liposuction. In my practice I asked patients to wear them for about six weeks but they should not be so tight so as to be uncomfortable.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Compression garment and spanx

I prefer a compression garment.  But if it is too tight, it is best to ask your surgeon what he recommends since he is your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Spanx after liposuction.

Every surgeon will have a routine, and our is a compression garment for two weeks followed by a body conformer, and Spanx is a favorite for the next two to four weeks. Ask your surgeon.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Is my compression garment too tight? Can I just wear spanks?

Thanks for your question and photos. It is best to ask your plastic surgeon as every surgeon has his or her own set of instructions. I hope this helps.


Henry Mentz, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Not too soon

While different doctors have different recommendations for the amount of time patients should wear their compression garments post-liposuction, I only require my patients to wear the garment we provide for 48 hours. While the compression garment should be snug to provide support, it should not be uncomfortably constricting. In the first 48 hours, the compression garment is important to allow sufficient drainage of the infiltration fluid thereby reducing swelling. Wearing the compression garment after the first 48 hours may help to reduce short-term swelling, but will not affect your long-term results once the swelling has settled. I generally advise my patients that they should wear the compression garment passed the first 48 hours if they plan to wear a form fitting dress at an upcoming event; however, by three months post-op the majority of the swelling should subside regardless of how long they wear their garment beyond the first 48 hours. In your situation, I would say that it is not at all too soon to switch to spanx. That said you should always consult your doctor for specific medical advice. Best of luck in your recovery.

David P. Rapaport, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Compression Garment Being Too Tight, What Do You Do

My suggestion is that you speak to your physician about his recommendations.  Each physician is particular and too tight a compression can increase swelling and bruising and/or leave indentations.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 167 reviews

Is my compression garment too tight? Can I just wear spanks?

Best to call your operative surgeon for advise to changing to spanks girdle. He/she are the ones who did the liposuction... 

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.