Will Not Wearing Compresion Garment the Full 6 Weeks Ruin Lipo Results?

I had abdominal liposuction with closed stitches and general anesthesia. I wore the garment for about a week-and-a-half and due to extreme discomfort took it off. I know the garment helps reduce swelling and recover faster, but if I didn't wear it the full 6 weeks did I ruin the end results. It's been 8 weeks and my stomach has reduced greatly in swelling, but still hard and a little puffy. I don't care how long it takes to recover, as long as I look good in the end. Did I ruin my chances at a nice body?

Doctor Answers 10

Liposuction Garments - Totally Necessary?

The recovery process after liposuction can be 3-6 months for some women, which is why most surgeons insist on some sort of compression for at least 6 weeks.  This just helps get rid of excess swelling and helps retrain the skin to be tighter and firmer.  However, this does not mean the results will only happen with the garment on.  It just means that the results will happen quicker if youa re diligent with teh compression

Barrington Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Compression garment not necessary for most liposuction patients.


When doing liposuction in NYC, we hardly ever use compression garments, because they are uncomfortable and do not improve the final result. Patients who wear garments look better at two weeks, but at six weeks, you cannot tell the difference.  This is a minority view, but it is based on long experience, and other experienced plastic surgeons agree with it.

So do not worry about not having worn your garment for six weeks.  You did not do any harm.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Lack of a compression garment probably will not ruin liposuction

The compression garment after liposuction is there to support the tissue and reduce swelling and bruising, and to reduce discomfort after. If you have been unable to wear the garment for the full six weeks you are unlikely to ruin your results. We use the garment for only the first four weeks and then transition into something more comfortable. If the fatty tissue is removed and contoured with skill, in time the good results will show, compression or not.

Best of luck.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Not Wearing Garment And Final Result

the short answer is probably not. 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

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Not wearing your compression garment 6 weeks won't ruin your lipo results

Compression garments after liposuction are to cut down on immediate swelling and prevent fluid collections.  If it is too tight, then it will hinder drainage but since your doc went "old school" and sutured up your incisions and did it under gen anesthesia, it doesn't matter as much . Trust what your doc says and be sure to follow up with massages or endermology to help get the results faster.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Compression after liposuction

Having watched and participated in liposuction and its postoperative care since it was introduced in the US in 1983, I can tell you from personal experience that the initial recommendation was for three months of compression (taping), then it was two months, then it was six weeks of compression, then it was one month, then it was two weeks, then it was one week. Now I use it for five days, predominantly to control the postoperative swelling phase, but it probably could be avoided entirely. 

The reason for this is no one knows whether there is a cause and effect of compression and ultimate result but experience supports that it doesn't. The reason for this is probably the same as why skin and tissue tone don't matter for standard liposuction as was originally thought. Properly done liposuction doesn't cut any of the connections between the muscle, fascia, and skin, and the tissues are not traumatized as they would be if the fat were cut out and the area had to heal back its connections. This is a factor in tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) but not in liposuction. 

I also leave the compression in place for five days but this is because it's hard to get it off and back on properly. Best to just leave it on for five days. 

Also, full recovery from standard liposuction takes three months just like a sprain and for essentially the same reasons. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Compression garments after liposuction

It is doubtful that wearing the garment for four vs. six weeks will make a difference, but this has not been studied.  It does make some patients more comfortable though, and some wear it longer than six weeks. It may minimize the risk of fluid collections but if you don't have a seroma at this time, than it would be doubtful one would occur once you discontinue the use of the gament.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

You Must Wear Your Compression Garment for 6 Weeks after Liposuction, or else...

Many surgeons ask patients to wear a compression garment for six weeks following liposuction and body contouring procedures, presumably feeling that this compression is beneficial for your result. I am not aware of research that demonstrates a benefit of wearing a garment for 6 weeks, but at the same time it should not cause a problem if the garment fits well.

More important for your result, I believe, is lymphatic and tissue massage performed after surgery. I learned about perioperative massage several years ago (our therapists call it "therapy" instead of "massage" because so many people are afraid that massage is going to be painful after surgery). My patients and I have been so impressed with its effectiveness that we "bough the company." Not really, but we have brought perioperative massage therapy into our office for the convenience it provides our patients.

Just yesterday a patient told me that her therapy was the "best thing in the world" and felt "absolutely amazing." She was 3 weeks out from breast augmentation with silicone implants and because she traveled to Denver for her surgery from Aspen, she even had her first therapy appointment 1 day after surgery. I hear this type of testament from patients on a regular basis.

So, back to the compression garment and the full 6 weeks. Probably won't hurt, but I believe that skilled perioperative massage therapy is more beneficial. For larger areas of liposuction in my practice I commonly require a compression garment for 1-2 weeks, add to this massage therapy and teaching of tissue massage, and encourage patients to consider a light compression garment for comfort following this (such Spanks or similar slimming undergarments).

Hope this helps.

Nick Slenkovich, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

Not wearing compresion garment

Most likely NOPT! But it is a what if question. We will never know if you did wear the compression garment the FULL 6 weeks if your result would have been better.

From MIAMI Dr. B

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

It is almost always best to follow the advice of your surgeon.

Having said that, it may not be necessary to wear the compression garments for 6 weeks.  Liposuction under general anesthesia is generally pretty brutal.  The tissue are very beaten up and tender.  The compression garment help support the tissues as they heal and typically make one more comfortable.  The six week time frame is arbitrary.  No one has done definitive research on how long is best to wear the compression garments.  With tumescent liposuction under local anesthesia, surgery is much less traumatic.  

I advise my patients to wear their garments until there is no drainage plus two days.  This is typically three days after liposuction.  After that the recommendation is wear the garment or don't based on personal comfort.  Compression does reduce movement which contributes to comfort.   Tumescent liposuction is much less traumatic than liposuction under general anesthesia.    However, even with a very traumatic liposuction, after a week and a half, it is hard to image what the compression garments are doing that would make any difference to your outcome.  Please do remember to follow up with your surgeon.  

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.