Do You Wear the Compression Garment Directly After Surgery?

I was just trying to picture how the drains and compression garment work together. I'm assuming the drains are right below the garment. My PS said he has patients where the garment directly after surgery... then for about 6 weeks after. thank you

Doctor Answers 9

Do You Wear the Compression Garment Directly After Surgery?

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SInce surgeons each have their own way of dressing post-op incisions, this question is best asked of your own surgeon. Most apply the garment at the conclusion of surgery. We cut a small hole in the garment for the drain tubes. 

Best wishes for your upcoming procedure

Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Compression Garments and Drains After Surgery

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The exact postoperative regimen of drains and compression garments depends upon the surgical procedure performed which was not mentioned in your question.  In general, if drains are used following a procedure, I think of the drains as an internal, vacuum dressing.  The drains establish negative pressure that "sucks" the tissue layers back together.  If drains are not used, compression garments are used to compress or "push" the layers of tissue back together.  However, this compression can impair the blood flow of the overlying skin if the skin is delicate or has been undermined at surgery. 

Here are a few examples.  In tummy tucks, I use drains.  The patient will wear an abdominal binder that is not tight and the drains exit beneath  the binder.   These drains suck the tissue layers back together.  When the drains are removed, I have the patient wear a mildly compressive garment for 3-6 weeks.  If I perform abdominal or body liposuction, many times drains are not used.  I have the patients wear a moderate compression garment from immediately after surgery for 6-12 weeks postoperatively except when showering.  When I perform a facelift, I use drains and leave them in for one week.  I do not use a compression garment due to the delicate nature of the skin in the facial region. 

I would encourage you to discuss your questions with your operating surgeon.  He or she knows the specifics of  what is planned for or has been performed during your procedure and therefore provides the best resource when discussing your concerns.

Philip E. Fleming, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon

Drains are like space bags

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I do not use compression garments until the first post-op day. I always use suctions drains on my tummy tucks. You probably have seen "space bags" advertised on TV. Suction drains work the same way. The belly skin is sucked down onto the muscle layer to obliterate any dead (empty) space. This suction adherence of the drain does what the external compression garment is designed to do.


The tubing for the drain is rigid enough so that it will not collapse with the suction. One constant concern with tummy tucks is skin turning black from gangrene caused by impaired blood flow that is inherent to the operation. If the blood vessels in the skin flap are compressed between the suction tubing and the compression garment, the chance of partial loss of the skin is increased. If the circulation to the skin is OK on the first post-op day, I have the patient put on the compression garment. The drains are left in until the drainage has mostly subsided


John J. Bandeian, MD
Bristol Plastic Surgeon

Garments + Drains

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Drains can be used with a garment. It really that depends on the design of the garment. Your surgeon probably chooses a garment that works well with drains. The garment is usually worn for about six weeks . Good luck on your procedure and best wishes.

Dr. ES.

Compression Garment Directly After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

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Your plastic surgeon will always be your best resource when it comes to receiving specific/relevant answers. Most patients will wake up after tummy tuck surgery with the compression binder on. Below the compression garment will be dressings  and drains/pain pump if used.

 Best wishes.

Garment helps a healthy recovery and a good result

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all patients should wear the garment full time after a tummy tuck since the time the surgery finished until 3 months that will help you to feel better sooner and have a great surgery result.

Ramon Sabala, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon

Drains and Post Surgical Garment

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This is a good question for your surgeon. I do not use drains for my lipo patients unless they are also having a tummy tuck. For those patients, I place a garment after the drains are removed.

Most patients outfitted with a compressive garment on the operating table after abdominoplasty.

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Naturally, different surgeons have different approaches to abdominal dressings. But most plastic surgeons I know place a compressive garment in the operating room.

Do You Wear the Compression Garment Directly After Surgery?

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Dear Emily,

Thank you for your post.  Yes, you wear the garment right after surgery.  In my practice, the nurses put this on you while you are still asleep.  The drains are positioned so they exit the garment as comfortably as possible.

Best wishes,

Pablo PRichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

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