Which Garment or Binder is Best to Wear After a Tummy Tuck?

This is my 19th day after having a tummy tuck and liposuction. My doctor wants me to wear the 2nd garment he provided for at least 6 weeks for the swelling to calm down but I can't stand the garment is too tight and it bothers me when I do chores, unlike others that prefer their garments for security. I am still pretty swollen but would prefer a garment that will not bother my incisions. I need suggestions from experience people. Is it necessary? What brand or type of garment should I buy?

Doctor Answers 14

Compression garments after 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.
In responses to questions about compression garments, some surgeons have proposed a number of potential negative consequences related to the use of compression garments in abdominoplasty patients: patient discomfort, abdominoplasty flap ischemia (reduction of blood flow), interference with incision inspection and management, etc. These are all problems related to ill-fitting and/or inelastic compression garments. Patients must be carefully measured for a custom-fit garment preoperatively, and garment fit must be carefully monitored postoperatively. If a one-size larger or smaller garment is needed, we discontinue the current garment and have a new one sent by overnight delivery to the patient’s home.
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
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Compression garments after a TT

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A compression garment is required 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.
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 timethen 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.


Binder and compression garment after tummy tuck

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Thank you for the question.  Your plastic surgeon will often provide you with your abdominal binder which he/she will
place at the end of your procedure.  The abdominal binder is often worn for 4-6 weeks.  At that time it may be continued or a compression garment such as spanks or squeem may be worn.  I have found that most patients become accustomed to the abdominal binder and prefer to use it for months after their tummy tuck procedure.  My blog on scottsdaletummytuck.com has an entry from one of my patients regarding a variety of compression garments including the pros and cons of each.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 170 reviews

Garment After Tummy Tuck

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If you are uncomfortable in your garment, discuss this with your surgeon.  Most patients like to wear the garments after surgery, and for weeks afterwards.  I like the Flexie Shape garments as well as the spanx. Best wishes for a fast recovery!

Which garment or binder is best to wear after a 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!

Which Garment or Binder is Best to Wear After a Tummy Tuck?

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When a patients tell me a garment is too tight, that is a red flag to me, and my first reaction is to remove it, either to be replaced with a better fitting one or abandoning it altogether. Spanx is my usual recommendation for light compression following the surgical garment.

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Garment after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question. I always recommend going to any department store & try garments that fits you the best and make you feel more comfortable. Spanx makes excellent garments, so my patients usually purchase these. 

Garment for Post Tummy Tuck

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I typically recommend a Spanx type garment after the initial 2 weeks of being in a heavier, more compressive garment.

Garment too tight after an abdominoplasty

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The binder or garment is usually for patient comfort after the 2nd week.  If your garment is too tight and hurts then ask your plastic surgeon for assistance.  

Compression garments after a tummy tuck

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Personally, I prefer an abdominal binder (with 3 velcro panels) after a tummy tuck.  It's easily adjustable to give some compression without being too tight.

 It sounds like you may need a larger size garment while you are swollen...I'd suggest that you call your surgeon to discuss.  Also, have your surgeon check to make sure you don't have a seroma, as this will add to any lower abdominal swelling.

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.