How Long Should You Wear Your Binder/garment for After a Tummytuck?

Doctor Answers 159

Compression Garments are NOT absolutely needed after a Tummy Tuck

Regarding:  "How Long Should You Wear Your Binder/garment for After a Tummytuck?"

Not so fast.

First we need to establish is it REALLY absolutely necessary that you wear a compression garment in the first place. I KNOW I am kicking a hornets' nest by saying that  - BUT - I and a growing number of my colleagues do not think so and have given up this treatment for several reasons.

Every treatment should be based on scientific evidence and benefit the patient much more than the doctor and be associated with less complications than potential benefits.

While a compression garment MAY (no proof) reduce swelling and MAY (no proof) reduce drainage it is associated with
- discomfort and tightness
- decreased ability to fill the lungs (IE take full breaths) associated with a high incidence of fevers and pneumonias after surgery
- varying degrees of compression on the tummy skin resulting in decrease of blood flow especially in the distant portions which may result in flap death and or wound disruption
- a definite slowing of blood flow in the leg and pelvis veins which translate into a higher likelihood of blood clot formation (DVT) with possible clots to the lungs (PE).

Furthermore, if the value, timing and duration of compression after tummy tuck were SO clear, WHY do you have so many good Plastic surgeons each coming with his / her own regimen of when to put it and for how long? Does that make sense?

For my part, I stopped using compression garments on my patients years ago. Although grateful to be spared the torture of compression on an already sore post-surgical tummy, they are puzzled and ask me WHY, unlike their friends and what they read on the Internet, they are spared the garment. For my part, I have NOT noticed longer drainage without compression but have seen much happier patients with less complications. So what's there NOT to like?

In answer to your question: "How Long Should You Wear Your Binder/garment for After a Tummy tuck?" - In my opinion - NOT A SINGLE DAY.

Dr. Peter Aldea

Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Compression garment after tummy tuck yields superior results

I recommend to my patients that they should wear the compression garment for 5-6 weeks. During the first week, it is worn 24/7, coming out only of it for showers, bath, change of clothes, etc. It is then worn the majority of the time 10-12 hours per day, especially during exercises and other physical activities. My office staff orders the garments to size. I feel that by controlling the swelling, healing, and scar formation we get smoother skin and superior body contouring results. I hope you find this helpful.

Stephen A. Goldstein, MD
Englewood Plastic Surgeon

Binders after Abdominoplasty

Dear nicole123,


This is an interesting question.  It's interesting because this question falls under the realm of what I consider Voodoo practices.  Every plastic surgeon has a set of practices that they follow based on little or no evidence.  This is certainly one of these practices. The thought behind abdominal binders is that they help reduce post-op swelling and seroma formation.  There is no good evidence to support this.  Nonetheless, most surgeons will swear by their voodoo.  It's best to speak to your plastic surgeon and follow their recommendation.

I have patients wear a binder for about 2 weeks, then transfer them to SPANX for an additional 4 weeks.  I believe it helps my patients, but I can't prove it.  I can tell you, however, that I haven't had a lot of seromas to deal with.



Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)

Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

How long to wear garment after lipo

Thanks for your question.

As with any treatment you have received you should direct questions like this to your doctor.

The concept of compression garments after any form of liposuction are two fold.

First the garment helps collapse the tunnels within the fat that have been formed by the liposuction. This improves the result and that compression needs to be in place until the scar tissue has formed to help hold those tunnels in a collapsed position. This usually takes 2 weeks to a month and in rare cases as long as six weeks.

The second concept of a compression garment is to reduce swelling and edema in the area. This usually only requires about one to two weeks.

In our San Francisco office, there is some variability on length of compression I use depending on the site of the liposuction I have performed. In general if a patient can tolerate the compression garment a little longer the results tend to be better.

I hope this helps.

Steven H. Williams, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Wearing a binder after tummy tuck

Wearing a binder serves several functions.  It is a great comfort to most patients and decreases  the pain of moving around after the operation.  It also compresses the tissue against the abdominal wall to decrease the amount of fluid accumulation (seroma).

Most patients wear the garment for three or more weeks.  After that some patients will wear it for comfort.  Most do not need the garment after the drains are pulled if there is no seroma formation.

All the best,

Talmage J. Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

How long do you wear binder after tummy tuck.

Thank you for your question.  It is clear from some of the answers below people have very different feelings.

In my own practice a generally have patients where a binder for about three weeks.  I feel that gives them a sense of gentle security.  The binder should not be overly tight because if it is too tight pulmonary complications can increase.  The goal is to give gentle compression, helped minimize swelling, and keep the skin sticking to the abdominal wall.

Most of my patients can probably get out of their binders in about 21 days or less but many feel more comfortable keeping them longer.  I usually say stop the binder when after a routine day there's no significant puffiness above to lower abdominal incision.

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

Most patients will wear binder for 4-6 weeks after Tummy Tuck

Most patients will wear some compression for 4-6 weeks following a tummy tuck. Initially, they will wear the abdominal binder provided for the first week or so. Once the drains are removed, we will have our patients switch to a girdle or 'barely there' type of garment.

Sanjay Grover, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 225 reviews

Compression Garments and Binders Explained

Hello and Great Question. I know there is a significant amount of debate on this topic. I feel you should wear both a binder and a compression garment. I also think these should be worn at all times for 6 weeks after surgery. Then, I think you should wear the garment for an additional 6 weeks during the daytime. Why?

  1. My Tummy tucks include liposuction. This really helps to bring in the waist and create that “hour-glass” shape. It also allows me to remove fat from the upper part of the abdomen. This helps to sculpt a 3-Dimensional Torso. Liposuction is a great adjunct, but it causes the remaining fat to swell. The compression garment and binder help to put pressure and reduce the swelling getting you a quicker recovery and quicker final results.
  2. The Tummy Tuck itself involves lifting your tummy skin and tightening. The end goal is getting that tummy skin to be “tight and flat”. Thus, creating a tight and fit tummy. How do we make sure that the tummy skin heals in the area we want it? By utilizing compression garments and binders. In addition, the use of binders and compression garments minimize the length of a drain; and potentially does not require us to utilize drains at all!
  3. Alright, so compression garments and binders are good, but why do they need to be utilized for so long? Because it takes time to heal. The majority of healing takes about 6 weeks and this is why the compression garments and binders are worn at all times, except when showering, for the first 6 weeks. Swelling happens from any surgery. The swelling in a tummy tuck can last for about 3 months and this swelling can “hide” the hour glass figure. This is why you can stop wearing the binder after 6 weeks, but I still want you to continue the compression garment for another 6 weeks during the daytime only.
I hope that helps. Best of Luck!

Matthew J. Nykiel, MD
Ontario Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Garments Helpful In Body Contouring Recovery

Compression garments are helpful for patients in post body contouring recovery.  They help to reduce swelling, bruising and fluid accumulation after surgery.  They also provide support and a sense of comfort for patients.  They can cause problems such as skin injury or contour irregularities if they are too tight.  Firm, comfortable, smooth support is best. While they do not affect the final cosmetic outcome, garments can help to make recovery easier.  If swelling persists or returns after resuming normal activities, compression garments can be helpful in managing the swelling.  All the best.

George Bitar, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Wear binder after tummy tuck for 4-6 weeks

For the first few days after Tummy Tuck, I like to leave the garment loose to prevent too much pressure on the dissected abdominal flaps. Following this, I like to use it for 4-6 weeks.

Hisham Seify, MD, PhD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.