Do You Have to Wear Compression Garmets After Tummy Tuck?

Doctor Answers 6

Do you have to wear compression garment after tummy tuck?

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Hello! Thank you for your question!. The tummy tuck procedure is an excellent method for contouring of your abdomen, often removing the excess skin as well as tightening the abdominal wall. After nearly all surgical procedures, a potential space is created from where the surgical procedure/dissection was performed. This is especially true for the tummy tuck, in where the abdominal flap is raised off of the abdominal wall and then redraped atop the area to contour the abdomen. The procedure alone promotes swelling and inflammation, which typically lasts for 6-12 weeks. This may even last longer if liposuction has been performed in addition. During this time, a few things may be done to allow adherence of the abdominal skin/soft tissue to readhere to the abdominal wall and close that space. Many surgeons use drains to evacuate the expected serous fluid from building up. Stagnant fluid as such may be a nidus for infection as well as does not allow the tissue to adhere back to its normal anatomic position. Drains usually are removed once output is <30cc/day - usually removed within 3-4 weeks on average, sometimes longer. When this occurs, a seroma may develop - which may require aspiration or surgical evacuation to rid this in order to optimize your result.

This is not an uncommon reason for persistent swelling and/or bulging in a certain area of your belly. Of course, thwarting the development of a pseudobursa, or seroma capsule, is always best, to provide the best result as well as avoid any future procedures for this. This may be a troubling consequence and often compromises your overall result. Thus avoiding this complication, in whatever manner, is the objective. "Drainless" tummy tucks are becoming more popular - basically, the overlying tissue is physically sutured to the abdominal wall to close the potential space. In addition, most surgeons typically restrict vigorous activity/strenuous exercise as well as lifting restrictions of usually <20#, especially the core, for 6-8 weeks to allow healing to continue. Most also often recommend an abdominal compression-type binder or garment, which will serve to provide compression as well as assist to decrease swelling and eliminate the dead-space of the area for at least 6 weeks as well. After the initial binder, many patients like the Spanx garments. Most patients are able to return to most activities within a couple of weeks, provided they adhere to the restrictions.

Overall, this is a procedure with a high satisfaction rate. Discuss the procedure and postoperative instructions/restrictions with your surgeon, as these will vary among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Garments after Tummuy Tuck (Abdominoplasty)

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Typically, a abdominal binder is worn for several weeks following tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) procedure.  In addition, drains are usually used for approximately one to two weeks. 

Craig Mezrow, MS, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

How Long Do I Wear The Compression Garment After A Tummy Tuck?

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Dear aamalfi,    We have our patients wear an abdominal binder for 2 weeks. We then have them switch to a panty girdle or Spanx type garment for an additional 2-4 weeks. These garments are more comfortable and are easier to wear as you return to work. The reason for post operative compression is to minimize swelling and seroma formation. Many patients also tell me that they like the "security" the garments give them. We also use external ultra sonic massage at 2 weeks to reduce swelling and increase lymphatic flow.


Douglas L. Gervais, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

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Use of compression after tummy tuck

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My patients use a binder for 1-2 weeks, then switch to Spanx.  This is not only for greater comfort, but also to minimize swelling.

Michael Leff, MD (retired)
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon

Compression After Tummy Tuck

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It is usually beneficial to have some sort of compression in place after tummy tucks.  I always have my patients wear an abdominal binder which works well and less expensive than a compression garment.  This is important since a large space is created between the abdominal apron and underlying muscle during the procedure.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Compression after tummy tuck is a good idea

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We like to use an abdominal binder after tummy tuck to suppport the muscle repair, hold the dressing, and to keep the area still and quiet to reduce fluid or seroma, and reduce pain and discomfort in the area. You may not have to wear it, though we feel it does help.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 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.