Many MDs Recommend Frequent Massages After Lipo, Yet Also Recommend Constant Wearing of the Compression Garment. What Do You Say

Many MDs recommend frequent massages after lipo, yet also recommend constant wearing of the compression garment. So how often and for how long can the compression garment be off? Also, i am fairly incontinent, so will have to remove the garment every 1-2 hours to go to the bathroom. Will that be a problem?

Doctor Answers 6

We recommend wearing the garment and post-operative massage

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Hello and thank you for your question!  In my practice, we build in two post-operative massage treatments into our surgical packages.  We have found lymphatic massage to be very beneficial to reducing the amount of swelling post-operatively.  These massages are an hour long and take place at our one week and two week follow up appointments.  We have found that we have less seroma formations (or collections of fluid under the skin) with this protocol.  I also have my patients wear their garment for 3-4 weeks, day and night, unless they are laundering their garment.  The garments we order are "crotch-less" for their convenience.  The feedback that we receive from most patients is that they actually prefer wearing their garments due to the support it gives them, as well as the minimization of tingling post-operatively. I hope this helps.  Best of luck!

Lone Tree Plastic Surgeon

Massage and Compression Garment after Liposuction

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Massage if comfortable and after the first several days could only help. Removing garments to go to the Bathroom should not be a problem. 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 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. For Small or moderate amounts of liposuction it probably doesn't make a difference if a garment is used or not.

Both massage and compression may be unnecessary

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Although most plastic surgeons recommend a compression garment after liposuction for comfort, control of swelling and shape, it is not mandatory for a good result.  Therefore,  the only problem with removing the garment frequently is having to reapply it which can be uncomfortable early postop.

Typically it is worn for the first 3-6 weeks.

Similarly, although massage after liposuction may help to control swelling and bring some comfort, it is also not mandatory for a good result.  Therefore, it is OK to have the garment off as needed for massage or using the bathroom without any worries. 

David J. Levens, MD
Coral Springs Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Garments and massage after lipo

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Every surgeon is a bit different. Some do not recommend garments--I do.  Some recommend massage-- I do not usually.  Best to follow the advice of your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Garments post-liposuction

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I have my patients wear compression garments for at least 24 hrs after liposuction until the leakage stops. then the patients are supposed to wear compression stockings that are of a certrain pressure anywhere from 20-40 mm Hg. the level of appropriate compression is determined at the time of consultation. I like a pantyhose style with graded pressure from feet to the mid abdomen. such type of graded compression is not only comfortable but is helps the patients to heal fatser

Misbah Khan MD, FAAD, FACMS
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Garment Suggestion after Lipo

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Good news. The garment is bottomless, so it does not have to be removed to go to the bathroom.

Plan on wearing it for three to five days. You wear it for 24 hours after all the drainage stops.

Regarding massage, there is no specific requirement.

We have had patients who have done no massage and had excellent results.

Good luck and God bless.

T. Wayne Day, MD
Nashville Dermatologic 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.