Is It Normal Not to Wear Compression Garment in my Situation?

I had a body lift May 13, 2011 (one week ago today) and I did not have to get any liposuction or muscle tightening. My doctor said there would be minimal swelling and no where to put the drains so I also do not have drains. According to my scale, I am retaining approximately 25lbs of fluid?! Should I at least be wearing a compression garment? I am swollen to the point where I'm afraid my skin is going to begin stretching again =/

Doctor Answers 6

You need to call your doctor

You have too much swelling and I can tell that by the light reflection off your skin. You may have seroma or just swelling. At least you need compression garmet after clearance from your surgeon. Your doctor is in your side and needs to know your concerns.

New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Is It Normal Not to Wear Compression Garment in my Situation

Thank you for your question.  I would recommend you have an examination by your surgeon today.  Follow your surgeon's advise and continue close follow ups.  Best wishes. 

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Compression garment after a 360 body lift? Do I need drains after a 360 body lift?

Hi GK8402,

Congratulations on undergoing a 360 or circumferential body lift. Swelling after a 360 body lift is common if not expected. The procedure is a relatively large procedure with a significant amount of surface area and thus, drainage. There are two types of fluid accumulation. There is fluid in the tissue, which is called edema. Everyone gets this to a certain extent. The analogy that I use for edema is that edema is like a loaf of bread that has been soaking up water. The other type of fluid is fluid that collects underneath the tissue in a pocket. If left to collect, this fluid creates a seroma. The analogy that I use for this type of fluid collection is it is like a jelly filled doughnut; thus, the liquid is collected in the center.

After a 360 body lift, garments help minimize the first type of fluid and reduce edema. The garment squeezes the fluid from "the loaf of bread". After a 360 body lift, drains help to remove the second type of fluid and minimize the fluid that tries to create a seroma. The drains suck the fluid from "the center of the jelly filled doughnut".

Based on your pictures and your history, not physical examination, I believe you have the expected edema AND fluid collection underneath the tissue. I would suggest you consult with your board-certified plastic surgeon. For your edema, I would suggest starting compression garments. For your possible seroma, I would suggest an ultrasound and possible needle aspiration of fluid. If the seroma fluid is extensive, you may require drain insertion. For all my 360 bodylifts, I use 4 to 6 drains. Drains may stay in 10 to 14 days.

J. Timothy Katzen, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

Is It Normal Not to Wear Compression Garment in my Situation?

Thanks for posting the photos. You need immediate drainage either by needle aspiration or insertion of drain tubes. I mean like now! Call your chosen surgeon PLEASE. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Swelling after Body Lift and Compression Garments

There are no hard and fast rules as to wether a surgeon needs to place drains or use compression garments in certain operations.  Some surgeons do and some don't.  It is my preference to use drains after tummy tucks and body lifts since there is a large area of dissection and fluid collections are common.  Drains do not eliminate seromas but do help to drain this fluid during the early postoperative period.  I do not care for compression garments.  Patients find them uncomfortable and sometimes they may get too tight and compromise circulation in the tissues.  Regardless, it is obvious you have a lot of swelling and more than likely a large seroma that should be drained.  Contact your doctor so he can examine you and determine what is best in your situation.

Albert Dabbah, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Post-Operative Seroma Formation

Your history and pictures suggest the presence of severe swelling or possible seroma formation. It's hard to know without a physical examination or further investigative studies. This requires evaluation by your surgeon.

If a seroma is present, it will require drainage followed by the use of a compression garment. If severe swelling is present, a compression garment is indicated for this condition as well. Under these circumstances, it's appropriate to be evaluated as soon as possible by your surgeon to avoid the development of secondary complications.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 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.