How to Choose the Best Compression Garments after an Abdominoplasty

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: February 23, 2024

Undergoing an abdominoplasty is a significant decision that can alter one’s appearance and enhance comfort. While the surgical procedure itself is important, the post-operative care plays an equally vital role in ensuring optimal results and a smooth recovery journey. One of the primary recommendations for post-operative care is the use of compression garments. These specially designed pieces of clothing offer support, reduce swelling and aid in the body’s natural healing process. Choosing the right compression garment can make a world of difference in both the short-term recovery and the long-term results of the surgery. In this blog, we’ll explore the best compression garments available for patients post-abdominoplasty, shedding light on their benefits and helping you make an informed choice for your recovery journey.

Dr Jake Lim is a Sydney Specialist Plastic Surgeon with experience in facial, breast, and body contouring surgery.

Dr Lim’s 2024 Abdominoplasty Guide

Abdominoplasty Guide

What Is Compression Clothing?

Compression clothing, while commonly associated with post-surgical recovery, has a broader range of applications. Not only do individuals recovering from surgeries benefit from these garments but athletes, those with specific medical conditions, and even individuals who spend extended periods standing or sitting also find value in them. So, what is compression clothing? Essentially, it’s a specially designed attire that offers support while promoting blood flow, fitting snugly without being overly restrictive. The mechanism behind these garments is the application of pressure to particular areas of the body, aiding in the reduction of swelling and enhancement of circulation. Beyond the realm of surgeries, compression clothing proves beneficial for athletes, those with circulatory challenges, and anyone in need of that extra physical support during their daily activities.

Which Compression Clothing Should You Opt For?

When it comes to compression clothing, the options can be overwhelming. From post-surgery recovery to enhancing athletic performance, the right garment can make a significant difference. But with so many choices available, how do you determine which one is right for you?

  • Purpose: The primary reason for seeking a compression garment after an abdominoplasty is to aid in the healing process. The garment provides support to the surgical area, reduces swelling, and helps contour the body as it heals. It’s essential to choose a garment specifically designed for post-abdominoplasty recovery to ensure it offers the right support to the abdominal area
  • Fit: The fit is paramount. A garment that’s too tight might cause discomfort and restrict circulation, potentially hindering the healing process. Conversely, a loose-fitting garment won’t provide the necessary support, which is vital in the weeks following the surgery. When selecting a garment, ensure it feels snug around the abdominal area without causing any discomfort. It should offer consistent compression, supporting the healing tissues without causing undue pressure
  • Material: Given that you’ll likely be wearing the compression garment for extended periods, the material’s comfort is crucial. Opt for breathable fabrics that wick away moisture, ensuring that the surgical area remains dry and free from potential irritants. Materials that are too thick or non-breathable can lead to discomfort and may not provide the consistent compression needed for optimal healing
  • Consultation: Always consult with Dr Lim when selecting a compression garment for post-abdominoplasty recovery. He will have specific recommendations based on the extent of your surgery and your individual healing process. Dr Lim can guide you on the best type, fit, and material, ensuring the garment aids in your recovery and enhances the surgery’s final results

Why Wear Compression Clothing during Abdominoplasty Recovery?

Here’s why compression clothing is often recommended:

  • Easing discomfort by managing swelling: Swelling is a common post-surgery symptom. Compression garments can help reduce this swelling, making the recovery process more comfortable
  • Reducing discomfort by preventing extensive bruising and haematoma: Bruising is another common post-surgery symptom. Compression garments can help minimise this by improving circulation and offering support to the affected area
  • Controlling fluid buildup: After surgery, fluid can accumulate in the operated area. Compression garments help in reducing this fluid buildup, aiding in faster recovery
  • Aiding in preventing severe scar types: Scarring can be a concern post-surgery. Compression garments can help in reducing the appearance of scars by ensuring the operated area is kept flat and smooth
  • Accelerating the healing process for a quicker return to daily routines: By offering support and improving circulation, compression garments can help speed up the healing process, allowing you to get back to your daily activities sooner
Extended Abdominoplasty Patient 3 — Side View
Extended Abdominoplasty Patient 3 — Side View

Benefits of Post-surgery Compression Wear for Body Surgery Patients

After body surgery, the body goes through several changes, and having the right support can aid in a smoother recovery. Here’s why post-surgery compression wear is essential:

  • Managing post-surgery swelling: As mentioned earlier, swelling is a common post-surgery symptom. Compression wear helps manage this swelling, ensuring a more comfortable recovery
  • Alleviating nerve-related pain: Post-surgery, nerve pain can be a concern for many. Compression wear can help alleviate this pain by offering the right support and improving circulation
  • Controlling fluid accumulation: Fluid buildup can be uncomfortable and can prolong the recovery process. Compression wear helps in controlling this fluid accumulation
  • Maintaining optimal scar healing temperature: The right temperature can aid in faster scar healing. Compression wear ensures the operated area is kept at an optimal temperature, promoting faster healing
  • Minimising scar formation and stretching: By offering support and ensuring the operated area is kept flat, compression wear can help in reducing scar formation and stretching
  • Offering support to surgical incisions: Surgical incisions need support during the recovery process. Compression wear offers this necessary support, ensuring the incisions heal properly
  • Enhancing skin shaping and contouring: Post-surgery, the skin might need some reshaping and contouring. Compression wear can aid in this process, ensuring the skin settles properly after the surgery

Dr Jake Lim’s Preferred Compression Clothing Brands

While there are numerous brands available in the market, some stand out due to their quality, comfort, and effectiveness. Here’s a look at some popular choices among professionals:

How Long to Wear Compression Clothing Post-surgery

The time you should wear your compression garment post-surgery can vary based on the type of surgery and your recovery progress. Here’s a general guide:

  • Typical Duration: Dr Lim recommends wearing the compression garment for a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks post-surgery. This duration ensures optimal healing and support
  • Listen to Your Body: While the above is a general guideline, it’s essential to listen to your body. If you feel discomfort or pain, consult with your medical team
  • Follow-up with Dr Lim: Regular check-ups post-surgery will allow your plastic surgeon to assess your recovery and advise on how long you should continue wearing the compression garment

Remember, the primary goal of wearing compression clothing post-surgery is to aid in the healing process and ensure you get the best possible results from your procedure. Always prioritise your comfort.

What Happens If You Don’t Wear Compression Garments After a Tummy Tuck– Abdominoplasty Surgery?

If you choose not to wear a compression garment after the surgery, several potential complications and issues can arise:

  • Increased Swelling: One of the primary benefits of compression garments is the reduction of swelling. Without the consistent pressure provided by the garment, you might experience increased and prolonged swelling in the surgical area
  • Fluid Accumulation: Compression garments help prevent the accumulation of bodily fluids, such as seromas (pockets of clear serous fluid) or haematomas (pockets of blood). Without the garment, there’s a higher risk of these fluid collections which may lead to infection which may require further medical intervention
  • Delayed Healing: The consistent pressure from the garment aids in promoting blood circulation, which is essential for the healing process. Not wearing the garment might slow down the healing of the surgical site
  • Compromised Results: Compression garments help the skin and tissues adhere to their new contours after the surgery. Without the garment, there’s a risk of the skin not adhering smoothly, leading to uneven or lumpy results
  • Increased Discomfort: Post-operative discomfort and pain are common after an abdominoplasty. Compression garments provide support to the surgical area, reducing movement and associated pain. Without the garment, you might experience increased discomfort, especially during physical activities

FAQs about Compression Garments after Abdominoplasty

FAQs

Why is wearing a compression garment so important after undergoing an abdominoplasty?

  • An abdominoplasty involves significant surgical alterations to the abdominal region. Following the procedure, it’s natural for the body to experience swelling and fluid accumulation. A compression garment plays a pivotal role in managing these post-operative symptoms. By providing consistent pressure across the surgical area, the garment aids in reducing swelling, ensuring the skin and underlying tissues adhere to their new contours, and minimising the risk of seroma (fluid accumulation). Additionally, wearing a compression garment offers support to the healing tissues, reducing discomfort and movement, which can be particularly beneficial when resuming daily activities. In essence, a compression garment acts as a supportive shield, facilitating a smoother and more comfortable recovery journey.

For how long should I commit to wearing the compression garment after my surgery?

  • The duration for which you should wear a compression garment post-abdominoplasty varies based on individual recovery rates and your plastic surgeon’s recommendations. Typically, Dr Lim advises patients to wear the garment continuously for the initial 4-6 weeks post-surgery, removing it only for personal hygiene routines like showering. After this intensive period, you might transition to wearing it during the day for an additional few weeks. It’s crucial to understand that the garment’s consistent pressure aids in optimal healing and contouring, so adhering to the recommended duration can significantly influence the final results of the surgery. Always consult with Dr Lim for specific guidelines tailored to your recovery.

Can’t I just wear regular tight-fitting attire instead of investing in a medical-grade compression garment?

  • While it might be tempting to consider regular tight-fitting clothing as an alternative, they are not designed to cater to post-surgical needs. Medical-grade compression garments are meticulously crafted to provide uniform compression, ensuring that every part of the operated area receives consistent support. Regular clothing, even if tight, might offer uneven pressure, potentially leading to complications like uneven contouring or increased risk of fluid accumulation. Moreover, compression garments are made of materials that wick away moisture and allow the skin to breathe, essential features for post-operative comfort and healing. In short, while regular attire might seem like a cost-effective alternative, it lacks the medical benefits and safety offered by genuine compression garments.

How can I be certain that my compression garment fits me correctly?

  • Achieving the right fit for your compression garment is crucial for both comfort and recovery. A garment that’s too tight can restrict circulation and cause discomfort, while a loose one won’t provide the necessary support. When selecting a garment, it’s advisable to consult with your plastic surgeon or a medical professional who can guide you on the correct size. Additionally, many reputable compression garment brands offer sizing charts and guidelines. When trying on the garment, ensure it feels snug across the entire abdominal area without causing any pinching or excessive pressure. Remember, the goal is consistent, comfortable compression.

Is it safe to engage in physical activities or exercises while wearing my compression garment?

  • Resuming physical activities post-abdominoplasty should be approached with caution and always under the guidance of your plastic surgeon. In the initial weeks following the surgery, strenuous exercises and heavy lifting are discouraged to allow the body ample time to heal. However, light activities like walking can be beneficial and are often encouraged. As you progress in your recovery, your plastic surgeon might give you the green light to gradually reintroduce more intensive exercises. When you do, wearing your compression garment can offer added support, reducing the risk of injury and ensuring the surgical area remains secure. Always prioritise your body’s signals and consult with your plastic surgeon before making any significant changes to your activity levels.

Further Reading about Abdominoplasty Surgery with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Abdominoplasty Surgery

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.