Should I Have Multiple Different Size Compression Garments As Opposed to Just One?

I read on some forums that there should be different size compression garments worn for each stage of liposuction. ie. as you get smaller from the decreasing swelling. However, my surgeon only provided me with one. Will I end up not having the best results possible because of this?

Doctor Answers 4

Compression Garment Size

Years ago people were wearing compression garments for a month after liposuction. Now, we are down to three to five days for most cases.

I tell people to wear the garment for 24 hours after the drainage stops. Any additional time is just for a person's comfort. You can wear other "department store type" supportive garments after the initial 3-5 day period. There are many lines of elastic undergarments that can help provide support and many people really rave about them.

However, wearing a compression garment longer will not improve the final results.


Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Multiple Compression Garments

The short answer is most likely as when your swelling decreases your garment will be too loose. Compression garments type and when applied varies from plastic surgeon to plastic surgeon and not dependent usually on the type of lipo performed. In my practice, A compression garment placed in surgery immediately after liposuction (steristrip protects the sutures) 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 bulging ridges, creases or bands are present above, within or below your garment, then you probably 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.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Compression Garments Following Liposuction

There is no scientific evidence that compression garments affect the long-term results following liposuction.  However, most plastic surgeons recommend some type of compression garment following liposuction to reduce post-operative swelling.  Often the garment used in surgery can be replaced with a new garment 7-10 days later that fits better and is more comfortable to wear on a daily basis.  Often the surgical garments are more limited in size and style and may not provide the perfect fit for everyone.  The garment provided by your plastic surgeon may not be ideal for longer term use and a department store replacement might be more comfortable.  The exact garment type or style will not have a long-term impact on your result.

Steven L. Ringler, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Compression Garments After Liposuction

My coordinator will order two garments for post liposuction patients. There is something called a stage one garment which has a zipper or hooks for easier on and off after surgery. This could be one size larger than the stage 2 garment but doesn't have to be. The stage two garment is usually slip on (without hooks or zipper). We order two for our patients so they'll always have a clean one as I ask that my patients wear their garment for 10 days full time and second 10 days for 12 hours.

David Amron, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 62 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.