How Important is Compression Garment After Liposuction?

I am wondering, just how important is the elastic compression garment after a Liposuction? It's been just under a week, and the bands seem to be creating lumps where the bandage is not taut. I am trying to minimize sitting or bending over, but the garment is about 12" in height: ribs to hips. Will the lumps affect the outcome? Is there a way to minimize this?

Doctor Answers 5

The bumps should go away.

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 The purpose of the garment is to keep the skin against the muscle. The more inelasticity of the skin the more important it is to wear the garment to keep the skin from sagging. Your lumps are probably due to gaps in the pressure of the garment. Strong spandex will solve your problem.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Bands From Lipo Garment

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A compression garment after liposuction is recommended 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.
If bands are present then you need to change garments - see your plastic surgeon.
It is common to have weight gain due to edema, serum that collects in the area, and the tumescent fluid that was injected. This will resolve over time. The more you wear the garment initially, the quicker this fluid resolves.
Edema: a condition characterized by an excess of watery fluid collecting in the cavities or tissues of the body.
The length of time that the garment should be worn varies depending on the amount of fat removed, the elastic nature of your skin, how much loose skin remains, and other factors. Your surgeon would give you the best advice, however this is the general routine for my patients.
The first garment should be fitted for you in the office prior to surgery and applied in the operating room. Often it will become loose as the edema is mobilized, and then it will need to be replaced. Spanx is a reasonable compression garment if it gives enough support and is the right size. I have my patents bring them in so I can confirm that it fits well.
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 time then 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.

The Importance of a Compression Garment After Liposuction

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Compression Garments are extremely important after liposuction surgery. It helps to decrease swelling, and assists in having the skin re-adhere to the underlying tissues once the fat is removed from that area. If you're having problems with your specific compression garment, your plastic surgeon may allow you to switch into a more comfortable body-sliming under garment. We generally have our patients wear a medical-grade compression garment that we provide for the first 2 weeks after surgery, then we allow them to switch into a body shaper style garment, ie. spanx.

Liposuction Compression Garment Should Be Tight

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A compression garment helps your recovery by doing 3 important things, all related to the pressure that it applies to the treated area:
1. It controls swelling, bruising and discomfort while the body heals. It shifts fluid balances, "pushing" the fluid out of the tissues and encouraging the body to absorb them naturally so recovery is faster.
2. It helps to make a smoother and less noticeable scar, minimizing the chance of developing keloid or hypertrophic scars.
3. It helps to conform the skin to its new position.
The less pressure there is in the treated area, the less effective your garment is, therefore lumps should be minimized. You could wear spanx over the garment to control this, but a better suggestion would be talking to your surgeon about the fit of your garment. There are so many sizes, types and brands on the market today that you should be able to find one that fits better. Good luck!


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Differerent plastic surgeons have different recommendations re post-op liposuction garments.  You should ask your plastic surgeon what he wants you to do and follow doctor's orders.  You should also discuss your concerns re the type of garment you are using.

Edmond A. Zingaro, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

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.