How Important is a Compression Garment in Abdominal Liposuction?

I am 6 weeks out from having ab lipo and wore my velcro-type elastic garment religiously for 2 weeks straight (except for showering), and then switched to only wearing it at nights afterwards. I was pleased results, but when I stopped wearing the garment around-the-clock,I swelled up like a Beluga whale!I also haven't been watching my sodium intake for the last four weeks (not too bad, but I have attended a few cookouts!)If I go back to wearing it, will it help me regain my contour I had?

Doctor Answers 10

Compression garment after liposuction

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The amount of time that one needs to wear the garment differs with different types of liposuction.  You really should check with your surgeon about the recommended time.  With tumescent liposuction, the gentlest type, we have our patients wear the surgical garment 24 hour/day for one week and then a lighter garment, like a Spanx, during the day for 3 weeks.  One thing you could do is try wearing your garment during the day when swelling tends to get worse.  Then when you're lying down at night, you could take off the garment to give the microcirculation a chance to get rid of edema without the compression garment.  But again, you really should just ask your doctor for specific recommendations.  Maybe they will want to see you in the office to be sure everything is okay.

San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Liposuction Garment Necessary for only a few days

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Many years ago, people were advised to wear the lipo garments for weeks. Now, we know that one only needs to wear a garment for 24 hours after the drainage stops. So that means usually just two or three days.  People often like the feeling of support that a softer girdle like Spanx provides, so you may want to transition to something like that.

Using a lipo garment longer means you are using it  as a corset.  The effect is temporary and has no effect on the outcome of liposuction.

T. Wayne Day, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon

Abdominal Swelling Post-Liposuction Normal

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From your description, it indeed appears that your swelling is due to edema, or fluid in the tissues.  It is normal to undergo varying cycles of swelling for the first 3 months after surgery.  This is why alot of women continue wearing some sort of compression as much as possible for three months or more.  Watching your sodium intake can help as well. I have had patients say it took them three months to fully get the swelling to go away for good.  I would just be patient and give yourself some more time.  I hope this helps.

Compression Garments Following Abdominal Liposuction

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The compression garment is helps with swelling during the 6 weeks after the procedure. There is no proof that wearing the garment for longer than 6 weeks will give you better results. It is normal to experience some swelling for up to three months post surgery and, of course, full resolution can occur in 6-12 months. There is certainly no harm in wearing the garment for an extended period of time. Watching your salt intake, diet, and weight is key to maximizing your result.

Swelling After Liposuction

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I generally advise patients wear their garment 24 hours a day for three weeks, removing it only when bathing or washing it. From 3 to 6 weeks, wear your garment in the day only. It helps with easing swelling and reducing the risk of seroma. The garment should fit snugly but not to the point that you can't breathe or are feeling sore. It's best to follow your PS's advice or express your concerns directly to them so that they may respond.

Is a compression garment necessary after lipo?

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It's meant for comfort and swelling management in the short term and won't impact the long term result. The compression garment, AKA girdle, helps to keep swelling under control in the first days and weeks. Some individuals swell more and some swell less. The garment should be worn for the length of time that seems appropriate for each individual. If, after 2 weeks of wearing a surgical garment there is still swelling, then it's OK to continue wearing the garment longer, or to transition into an off-the-shelf garment like a Spanx. There isn't a right or wrong answer about the garment type or length of use. It's best to individualize.

Kimberly Finder, MD
San Antonio Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Garment after Liposuction

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I think the compression garment helps for the first month post operatively. After that, it is questionable. It does take 3 months for swelling to go away and even longer for the skin to bounce back. Some of my patients like to use the garment for a prolonged period of time (it can't hurt).  Keep doing what you are doing with watching the salt intake, exercising, etc.  Also, keep in contact with your surgeon so that he/she sees how things are healing and can give you further advice.

Compression garments following liposuction

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Compression garments are helpful for reducing swelling following liposuction, but they are not critical.  Garments are unlikely to influence your final outcome.  They are most useful in the first month following liposuction.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

How long to wear compression garments after liposuction

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Most patients will wear compression garments for about four weeks after surgery. There is no exact rule as to what is the best duration of time to wear them, as each surgeon will have his/her own protocol.  If the surgery is done properly there is no significant beneft to wearing the garment for excessively long periods of time (ex. 3 months). Some patients continue to wear the garments for longer than one month simply because they like the comfort and support, especially when they resume exercise.However, there are no good scientific studies to suggest wearing a garment longer than one month will give you a better result.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 412 reviews

Liposuction Compression Garment Helpful for Swelling for Weeks

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Thank you for your question. Your experience of swelling after you stopped the garment supports my belief that Liposuction Garments are very helpful at reducing swelling post surgery.

I ask my patients to wear them as much as possible for two weeks after Liposuction and at night for several weeks after that. Spanks garments are a nice day time alternative after two weeks.

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.