An abdominal binder is an elastic wrap-around rectangular band with Velcro that allows precise compression of the abdomen after tummy tucks. Compression garments come in various styles to allow compression of body areas after liposuction and/or tummy tucks.
Some surgeons and medical staff use these terms interchangeably but they are somewhat different. Both apply gentle pressure to an area that has been operated on (i.e. Liposuction or Tummy Tuck) to help decrease swelling and help the soft tissues reconform to their new contours. Binders usually are elastic, wrap around the body part and and have velcro straps for closure- they can be tightened or loosened as swelling develops and recedes. Compression garments are usually elastic or spandex, more variable as they can conform to different body parts and are more like pieces of clothing (i.e. bras, girdles, vests, leotards or leggings). Compression garments are usually used with liposuction but can also be used for Facelift, Necklift, Armlifts, Breast surgery, Tummy Tuck or Buttock Augmentatioin (BBL). The garments can have a binder built into them and be easily used for Tummy Tucks as the area arond the abdomen opens and closes with the binder on the front and gentle compression is used for the rest. In BBL, the garment provides compression over the areas of liposuction but it has no compression over the buttocks to avoid pressure on the microfat grafting and help it survive better. It depends on what on what type of surgery you have as to which is better suited for you and whether you need a binder or compression garments as well. Surgeons vary as to their prefernce for using them or not.
Both terms are used loosely by different surgeons. In my practice, the abdominal binder, is the white garment that we use after tummy tuck surgery or liposuction to the trunk. It usually has Velcro and is worn for 4-6 weeks.
The compression garment is the long "corset-like" pressure clothing that extends beyond your trunk. It is usually used when other procedures are combined with trunk surgery such as llipo of the back, hips, thighs, BBL....etc
You may be asked to wear both depending on your surgeon's aftercare protocol.
A binder is an adjustable waist wrap that goes around the lower body, attaching to itself with velcro.
It can be tightened or loosened.
When too tight, it is a common cause of pain and trouble breathing after a tummy tuck - it should be slightly supportive, not tight.
A surgical compression garment is a snug girdle - often with zippers - for compression of the entire surgical area.
I use both after tummy tucks - the garment for general support, the binder for extra support for instance when coughing or deep breathing - and also for support when the garment is being washed.
Also some patients find the garment intolerable - but the binder easy to use.
Some surgeons use only the binder, others only a garment and some, like me, use both for patient comfort.
A binder is more like a cinch that circles the trunk. A garment is more form fitted and comes in specific sizes and styles. If you are having a BBL most plastic surgeons would prefer a garment designed for this operation that will also give compression to the abdomen.
For tummy tucks a binder is better because it can be loosened. A garment may be too compressive.
Immediately after tummy tuck I apply around the abdomen a binder because of its ease of application on a patient still under anaesthesia and also the ability to modify and adjust the compression as needed. As the patient 's recovery progresses we can switch it to a compression garment which requires a more "active" patient for its application. When having a double surgery ,TT/BBL, I apply a bra and abdominal binder as the patient emerges from anesthesia, but in the follow up visits we fit the patient into the single compression garment.