Why Didn't my Doctor Tell Me to Wear a Compression Garment After Lipo?

Everyone on here was instructed to wear a compression garment after liposuction - why wasn't I instructed? This worries me... I had outer thighs and a little on lower stomach.

Doctor Answers 12

Garments and Liposuction

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It is likely that if small or moderate amounts of fat were removed by liposuction, a garment may not  make  a difference in the long run though I am not aware of a double blind controlled specific study to prove this.My suggestion is try a Spanx which will likely be more comfortable. A compression garment 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.
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. 

Using compression garments after liposuction

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Compression garments will decrease the interval of swelling an bruising after liposuction.  The long term results, however, of wearing or not wearing compression garments is the same.  If you do not wear compression garments, use an Arnica and Bromelain kit to reduce swelling.  I advise my patients to use a Bruise-Stick / Bruise-Pak kit. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Compression garments after liposuction

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Compression garments after liposuction probably do not affect the final result.

So why do we use them? They can help decrease swelling, decrease bruising, and help with the funny nerve sensations you get when your nerves are returning to normal.  The other big reason I like them is they are a constant reminder of your recent surgery, so hopefully you will take it easy.

Lauren Greenberg, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon

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Compression garments after liposuction do not help.

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When doing liposuction in New York City, we hardly ever use compression garments. They do not improve the final result.  Based on a lot of experience.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon


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We frequently use compression garments to help reduce swelling after liposuction. As the areas you describe may be small (outer thighs and small abdominal area) your doctor may not have felt that it was necessary for you to incur the expense and discomfort associated with wearing a garment. The garments can be constricting and warm when worn in the summer time. You should ask your doctor on your next visit why one wasn't prescribed. I'm sure he had a good reason for not requesting it. As an aside an inexpensive alternative to liposuction garments is to purchase a pair of Spanx they can be ordered on-line at spanx.com

Robert Vitolo, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

The Art of Medicine

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What you will find if you look long enough is that plastic surgeons do things differently. Your surgeon must not be a believer in compression garments. I do this with my patients as do many other surgeons. Your surgeon doesn't believe in it and probably has a reason. Why don't you ask him?

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon


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Every surgeon has different guidelines regarding compression garments. Some don't recommend them, and others do. If your surgeon didn't recommend wearing one, then please ask them why. They probably have a valid reason.

Liposuction and compression

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Are compression garments necessary after liposuction?  I am not sure.  There is no literature to support or refute the use. Some docs do not recommend it. I like to use them because I think it is more comfortable and intuitively it makes sense to me to compress the tissues together so seromas do not develop, but that is jsut speculation no outcome studies to support that notion.

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

Compression garment

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When doing liposuction wearing a tight compression garment is very important to reduce swelling and fluid retention. Normally I have my patients wear the garment for six weeks following their surgery date. This ensures a smoother and flatter result.

Jaime Perez, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

The use of compression garments varies for many reasons.

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The use and duration of compression garments varies for many reasons.

1) the amount of liposuction

2) the area of liposuction

3) surgeon preference

4) patient circumstances

Richard H. Fryer, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 299 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.