How Long Does the Average Patient Wear Their Girdle After a Tummy Tuck?

Are there times after the recovery period has ended that a patient may want to wear the girdle again?

Doctor Answers 26

How long does the average patient wear their girdle after a tummy tuck?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Hello! Thank you for your question!. The tummy tuck procedure is an excellent method for contouring of your abdomen, often removing the excess skin as well as tightening the abdominal wall. After nearly all surgical procedures, a potential space is created from where the surgical procedure/dissection was performed. This is especially true for the tummy tuck, in where the abdominal flap is raised off of the abdominal wall and then redraped atop the area to contour the abdomen. The procedure alone promotes swelling and inflammation, which typically lasts for 6-12 weeks. This may even last longer if liposuction has been performed in addition. During this time, a few things may be done to allow adherence of the abdominal skin/soft tissue to readhere to the abdominal wall and close that space. Many surgeons use drains to evacuate the expected serous fluid from building up. Stagnant fluid as such may be a nidus for infection as well as does not allow the tissue to adhere back to its normal anatomic position. Drains usually are removed once output is <30cc/day - usually removed within 3-4 weeks on average, sometimes longer. When this occurs, a seroma may develop - which may require aspiration or surgical evacuation to rid this in order to optimize your result.

This is not an uncommon reason for persistent swelling and/or bulging in a certain area of your belly. Of course, thwarting the development of a pseudobursa, or seroma capsule, is always best, to provide the best result as well as avoid any future procedures for this. This may be a troubling consequence and often compromises your overall result. Thus avoiding this complication, in whatever manner, is the objective. "Drainless" tummy tucks are becoming more popular - basically, the overlying tissue is physically sutured to the abdominal wall to close the potential space. In addition, most surgeons typically restrict vigorous activity/strenuous exercise as well as lifting restrictions of usually <20#, especially the core, for 6-8 weeks to allow healing to continue. Most also often recommend an abdominal compression-type binder or garment, which will serve to provide compression as well as assist to decrease swelling and eliminate the dead-space of the area for at least 6 weeks as well. After the initial binder, many patients like the Spanx garments. Most patients are able to return to most activities within a couple of weeks, provided they adhere to the restrictions.

Overall, this is a procedure with a high satisfaction rate. Discuss the procedure and postoperative instructions/restrictions with your surgeon, as these will vary among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Compression after tummy tuck.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The compressive garment after tummy tuck is necessary for 3 weeks post surgery.  I suggest that a "Spanx" type garment is used for an additional 3 weeks.  After 6 weeks, a mild sports garment may complete the transition.  No active "abs" exercise for 3 months  is suggested.

H. Michael Roark, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

3 weeks...

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Compression garments and abdominal binders are frequently used following abdominoplasty for several reasons. These devices provide compression, which reduces swelling, increases comfort and minimizes the potential for seroma formation.
I generally tell my patients to use a binder for three weeks following surgery. When drains are used, we continue the use of the binder for longer periods of time. It’s interesting to note that when we discontinue the binder, many patients continue to wear it. They feel that the extra support makes them feel more comfortable with activity.

How Long Does the Average Patient Wear Their Girdle After a Tummy Tuck?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Opinions vary. I have had experience with hundreds of Tummy Tucks and stopped using binders-compression garments-girdles in my Tummy Tuck patients.

In MY opinion, not using such garments after a Tummy Tuck  is
- a LOT more comfortable to the patient (Happier patient leads to quicker recovery)
- it allows MUCH easier breathing (less fever and pneumonias),
- easier movement (decreased risk of deep vein clots),
- decreased interference with blood flow in the skin of the lower tummy (with less wound complication due to ischemia - lower blood flow resulting in tissue death)
- NO appreciable increase in swelling
- Saving on the cost of purchasing and maintaining these garments.

In summary, it is cheaper AND leads to quicker recovery to NOT use a compression garment. So what's NOT to love?

Peter A Aldea, MD


Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Compression Garment - TT Post Op

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
I recommend that patients wear compression garment regularly for about 3-4 weeks following a tummy tuck procedure, both day and night (though taken off when bathing). Make sure a snug garment is applied, and is still worn part-time for another two weeks or so afterward so that and excess skin is still reduced. Make sure that compression garment is not uncomfortable or overly pressuring the abdomen, causing activity or sleeping problems.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Three weeks on average

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Three weeks is usually sufficient if muscle repair wasn’t done. It’s up to you whether you’d like to wear it for longer, as many patients become so accustomed to wearing the binder that they continue wearing it for a few more weeks after that.

Garment following tummy tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Thank you for your question.  In our practice, we require patients to wear the compression garment, which we provide, 24 hours per day for one month following surgery.  Many patients chose to switch to a spanx type of garment after one month and continue wearing this for added support and comfort for another month.

Best of luck,

Compression garment

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I recommend using a compression garment for 6 weeks after a tummy tuck.  Many of my patients find them comfortable and want to wear them even longer for that extra "support".  I have a few patients who can't stand wearing them so we monitor the swelling closely and will get them out of the garment and into something lighter such as spanx as soon as possible.  The garment if meant to help reduce swelling and prevent fluid collections from accumulating (seromas).  They are not meant to be torture devices, however.  Good luck!

Tummy tuck recovery, girdle

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Tummy Tuck Recovery

The first 2-3 days after surgery there is a good amount of pressure and tightness from repairing the stretched rectus muscles. The feeling is similar to a hard workout. We usually prescribe pain pills such as Norco (Vicodin) or Percocet and a muscle relaxant such as Soma or Flexeril. You will need help from someone the first 2-3 days. A drain is placed which is removed at approximately 1 to 1.5 weeks. Most people usually go on with light normal activities at that time. No heavy lifting or exercising for 6 weeks. The results will be visible right after the procedure. It takes several months for the swelling to subside.  Generally, patients wear the compression garment 6 weeks and longer if necessary.  

Best of luck, Dr. Michael Omidi

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Wear Your Garment For About 6 Weeks After Your Tummy Tuck

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

You should ask your surgeon about this, however I generally recommend patients wear their compression garment day and night for 3 weeks then another 3 weeks during the day only.

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.