How Do You Determine Proper Fit for Compression Garments & What Are the Consequences for Coming out of One Too Early?

I want to know what standard measure is there for the fit. They are suposed to be tight but what is "tight" and what is "too tight". What are the consequences for coming out of the garment too early?

Doctor Answers 4

Compression garment after plastic surgery!

Great question! Whenever we recommend compression garments after surgery (all liposuction patients and many "lift or tighten" operations), we provide them at the time of surgery, and my nursing staff has a huge selection of sizes and types of garment in stock. Since we often include bandages and pads as part of the post-op care, we feel it is our responsibility to select the best "fit" for the patient, rather than having them try to "guess" what may be necessary.

Too tight is cutting off circulation, or acting as a tourniquet.

Taking off compression too early is a huge NO-NO! Not only can the surgical areas fill with blood or fluid, leading to increased scarring, swelling, ripples, dents, and other undesired contour deformities, once the garment is off, swelling increases IMMEDIATELY, and the patient finds that they cannot get the garment back on! (Yes, even for a super-quick shower, or laundry session for the garment!) Then we get a phone call from the anxious patient who wants to know what to do. Unfortunately, the answer is too late: "Don't remove the garment for any reason!"

So even if the garment is bloody, has fluid leakage on it, or if you inadvertently pee on your garment (or worse), leave it on! Clean it as best you can, but leave it on. After one week, we remove the garment (and any sutures), replace the pads, and put it right back on (since the swelling has had time to go down a bit). You may now remove the garment to shower yourself and launder the garment, but will continue to wear it for a total of about 3 weeks (or until all bruising is gone).

After that, complete resolution of swelling takes 4-6 months or more, and a compression garment of your own choosing (like a Spanx or equivalent) will help your shape and swelling, but is not required. Follow your surgeon's recommendations, for it is he or she you will go to if your results are not what you wanted, and perhaps it may have been your fault if you take off the garment too soon, or get the wrong size. Good luck and best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Compression garments following surgery.

Sizing of compression garments is done preoperatively during the consultation. The garments should be tight enough to prevent fluid collections and to minimize shearing of the operative sites. They should feel snug, but they should not cause pain. Creases and folds should be minimized as they can cause damage underneath. In the first few weeks after surery, they are very important to minimize swelling and improve the early scar formation. After about a month, they can help with long-term contouring but if taken off, are unlikely to result in issues such as seromas.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Compression garment fit

We measure the patient and then try to select a garment that fits their body shape and offers the appropriate amount of postop compression.  The garment should not feel like a strait-jacket but if it is too loose, will not provide the adequate compression.  In the first few days after surgery, when the swelling is at its peak, the garment should be tight and loosen after that.  Frequently, I provide patients with a second garment if the initial swelling stretches the garment so that it doesn't provide the necessary amount of compression afterwards.  Patients are switch into a compressive panty like Spanxx after two weeks but should continue to wear a compression garment for about a month.  If you are attending a special event, there is no harm in removing it for a few hours but, having invested time, money and effort into surgery, you want to follow the postop regimen to achieve the best possible result. 

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Compression garments

Most of the better companies will have service reps who can help you if you are ordering on your own. We have out nurse take your measurements and order accordingly. The garment should fit snug but not tight that it causes indentations. I have my patients wear the garment for three weeks after lipo and six weeks after tummy tuck.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

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.