Just Wondering......

Do you have to wear a compression garment if you have a TT without lipo? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 12

Use of Compression Garments After Tummy Tuck

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Although there are many posts here, I decided to add one since I was struck by what others had written, and since my practice is somewhat different. It appears that most are using a dedicated compression garment. I have my patients wear an abdominal binder, placed snug but not tight, across the lower abdomen and upper hips for about 2 weeks post-op; at that time patients usually find it too bothersome to continue with it. I also use closed suction drains for about 5-7 days post-op. Knock on wood, I have not had problems with seromas. I use a binder because it is easier for patients to take on and off, and to avoid excessive compression from a poorly fitting (too tight) garment. My patients heal well with comparable results to other surgeons.

Following tummy tuck surgery, seroma formation is likely due to some combination of the amount of undermining, the use of topical sealants, the use of drains, the use of compression garments, patient activity and motion, and other factors. In a quick search of the literature, I do not find anything that directly supports a decreased incidence of seroma related to compression garment use after tummy tuck. Nor do the written statements posted here by other physicians definitively state that compression garments reduce seromas.

PRS 117:1797, 2006 published the results of a national plastic surgery survey of abdominal contour operations. They report a hematoma rate of 1.4% with full abdominoplasty but did not address the rate of seroma formation. PRS 59:513, 1977 reports on a survey of abdominoplasty surgeries where only 5% of surgeons did not use any type of dressing, but 43% had to drain a seroma or hematoma from at least one patient. And PRS 83(6): 997, 1989 discusses abdominoplasty combined with other major surgical procedures, and reports a seroma rate of 2.5%; a comment about post-op compression was not made. Lockwood did not use any compressive dressing initially, following his HLT abdominoplasty with liposuction, but did place a binder for several weeks after the drains were removed at day 5-7 (PRS 96(3): 603, 1995).

Intuitively, it makes sense to think that compression will reduce seroma formation by eliminating the potential space that would otherwise be present. And I personally prefer compression garments after liposuction procedures. I know of surgeons who do not use compression of any kind following tummy tuck and do not have problems with seromas. We use them because we “think” they help, and certainly decreased swelling and improved patient comfort are other good reasons to support their use.

I welcome other comments.

Garments after Tummy Tucks

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Very important to do this, especially for your own comfort.  Most women find the support of the garment very helpful following a tummy tuck.  It makes you feel more secure.  It should not be too tight -- that may harm the abdominal skin -- but it should be snug, somewhat compressive.  You will feel better in the garment as long as you have soft tissue swelling after the tummy tuck -- 2-4 weeks.  Try it, you'll like it!

Robert H. Gotkin, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Compression After Tummy Tuck

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The use of compression devices following tummy tucks varies among different plastic surgeons.  I personally encourage all of my patients to wear an abdominal binder or some other compression device for 3-4 weeks except when bathing.  I feel that this compression leads to a lesser incidence of seroma formation and earlier drain removal.  In fact, many of my patients continue to wear these devices for a time after I tell them that they can stop.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

Compression Garment after Tummy Tuck

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I recommend most of my patients to wear a surgical garment or SPANX for at least two weeks after surgery.  In addition to the compression, the garments tend to also help with comfort. 


Good luck.

Do you have to wear a compression garment after a tummy tuck?

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Each surgeon probably has a different opinion on almost every aspect of postoperative care, but I do have my patients wear a compression garment after a tummy tuck without liposuction.  In the early weeks, I think it may help discourage a fluid collection (seroma), and I also feel that it may keep swelling down.  I usually tell my patients to wear some supportsuch as a lipo garment for a few weeks, and then suggest that they may wish to wear an optional lightweight support garment such as a Spanx for a few more weeks to help keep the swelling to a minimum.

Compression Garment after Tummy Tuck?

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Thank you for the question.

The use of compression garments will vary from one surgeon to another;  there is no science that it is helpful from the avoidance of complications standpoint. However, I do suggest the use of these garments because I feel that it helps to manage swelling of the tissues that can occur as patients become more active. I find also the patient's often feel more “secure” with the use of these garments.

I hope this helps.

Compression post TT

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No it is not necessary but if you still have swelling it will help to get rid of the swelling and prevent fluid from accumulationg.

Tummy tuck garments.

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In my practice, I advocate the use of compression garments with or without liposuction. The binder allows for less "shear" of the healing skin flap to the underlying muscle decreasing seromas and hastening the recovery from postoperative swelling. Length of time varies, but on average, I encourgage the use of a compression garment for 3-4 weeks.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Tummy tuck

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Most plastic surgeons advise their patients following a tummy tuck or liposuction to wear a compressive garment post operatively. This may vary form surgeon to surgeon, but four to six weeks is what I recommend.

Compression garment can speed healing

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I ask most of my patients to wear a compression garment for 3-4 weeks after a tummy tuck.  I think this not only helps with postoperative discomfort, but I think it also helps to reduce seroma formation and decrease swelling in the postoperative period. Some of my patients actually prefer to wear it even longer due to the added comfort.

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.