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Why Do You Wear a Compression Garment After Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty) Surgery?

Thu 31st Aug 2023

After undergoing Tummy Tuck surgery, also known as Abdominoplasty, the journey to a smoother, more toned abdomen begins. An integral part of this recovery process involves the use of compression garments. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about compression garments and their role in the postoperative and recovery journey.

What are Compression Garments?

Compression garments are specially designed medical garments that are worn snugly against the skin to provide support, compression and stabilisation to the body after surgical procedures. These garments are typically made from breathable and elastic materials to ensure comfort while maintaining an appropriate level of pressure on the treated area.

The Purpose of Compression Garments

The purpose of wearing compression garments following a Tummy Tuck surgery, is to reduce post-operative swelling, support the healing tissues and muscles, and improve blood circulation.

  • Reduce Swelling and Inflammation: One of the primary functions of compression garments is to reduce post-operative swelling and inflammation. By gently applying pressure to the treated area, these garments help minimise the buildup of excess fluids and promote the body’s natural healing processes.
  • Support Healing Tissues and Muscles: Compression garments offer support to the healing tissues and muscles by applying gentle and consistent pressure to the treated area. This pressure helps to minimise fluid buildup in the surgical area, reducing the risk of oedema and promoting better lymphatic drainage. By providing this controlled compression, the garments offer a stable environment for the healing tissues and muscles to adhere properly, minimising the risk of complications and facilitating a smoother recovery process.
  • Improve Blood Circulation: Proper circulation is crucial for the body’s healing mechanisms. Compression garments facilitate blood flow, ensuring that oxygen and nutrients are efficiently delivered to the surgical site and waste products are removed.

The Benefits of Compression Garments after Tummy Tuck Surgery

Compression garments offer three main benefits: enhancing comfort, appearance, and the healing process. 

  • Minimise Post-Operative Discomfort: Compression garments can significantly reduce post-operative discomfort by exerting even pressure on the treated area. This pressure helps alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and provide stability to the surgical site. By supporting the body’s natural healing processes and reducing the movement of tissues, compression garments contribute to a more comfortable recovery experience, allowing patients to move with greater ease and experience less pain during their healing journey.
  • Enhance the Appearance of Surgical Results: Compression garments enhance the surgical outcome by shaping and contouring the treated area. Through applying consistent pressure on the surgical site, they mould and support the underlying tissues as they heal by minimising swelling and promoting proper alignment of the healing tissues. Compression garments aid in achieving a smoother, more defined contour, ultimately optimising the aesthetic outcome of the surgery.
  • Reduce the Risk of Complications: Compression garments reduce the risk of complications after a Tummy Tuck by providing essential support to the healing tissues and muscles and increase blood circulation. The controlled pressure exerted by these garments helps minimise fluid accumulation, reducing the likelihood of seromas (fluid collections) and hematomas (blood collections). Additionally, the improved blood circulation facilitated by compression garments supports the efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the surgical site, promoting faster and healthier tissue healing.

Choosing the Right Compression Garment

Selecting the appropriate compression garment after undergoing a Tummy Tuck surgery is essential for a comfortable and effective recovery. Several factors, including style, size and compression level, play a crucial role in ensuring optimal healing and results.

The choice of compression garment style depends on personal comfort and the extent of your Tummy Tuck procedure; common styles include abdominal binder, girdle-style garments and full-body suits. Abdominal binders offer targeted compression to the abdominal area, while girdle-style garments cover a larger area, including the abdomen and sometimes the hips. Full-body suits provide full-body coverage, offering compression to multiple areas simultaneously, which can be particularly beneficial for extensive surgeries or when combined with other procedures (such as a mummy makeover). Appropriate sizing and level of compression are essential for the effectiveness of the compression garment, and the garment should fit snugly but not too tight.

Dr Dona will have specific recommendations based on your individual needs and the extent of your surgery. They will guide you towards the right style, size and level of compression that aligns with your recovery goals.

Rest assured, Dr Dona supplies his patients with compression garments, alleviating any concerns you might have regarding these factors before or after your surgery. He will ensure that the garment is precisely suited to your needs, encompassing the right style, size and compression level for an optimal recovery experience.

When and How Long to Wear Compression Garments

Compression garments come into play immediately after your Tummy Tuck surgery, often while you’re still recovering in the hospital. This initial usage phase is crucial as the garments effectively manage the initial swelling after surgery.

The sutured muscles typically take around six weeks to solidify. To ensure optimal recovery, wearing the compression garment consistently for a minimum six week is recommended, making exceptions only for brief periods of bathing. After this period, patients who wish to discontinue wearing compression garments are generally given the green light. However, many patients choose to wear them longer for additional comfort and support.

As your body’s healing progresses, a carefully guided reduction in dependence on compression garments is essential. Dr Dona will provide tailored advice on how to gradually decrease usage. This phased approach sees you wearing the garment for slightly fewer hours each day or temporarily removing it during specific activities. By progressively decreasing garment usage, your body adapts to the changing needs of healing tissues, ensuring a seamless transition.

Ultimately, the timeline for weaning off compression garments is individualised, influenced by factors such as the extent of the surgery, your body’s unique healing response, your physical and psychological comfort, and your surgeon’s professional recommendations. By closely adhering to your surgeon’s expert guidance and attentively heeding your body’s cues, you can confidently navigate the process of transitioning away from compression garments.

Tips for Wearing Compression Garments Comfortably

To ensure the comfort and effectiveness of your compression garment, it’s vital to maintain cleanliness by adhering to the washing instructions provided. Keeping the garment clean not only promotes personal hygiene but also prevents potential skin irritation or infection. Should you encounter any discomfort or skin-related issues, seeking guidance from your surgeon is recommended, as they can offer tailored solutions to facilitate a seamless healing process. Additionally, adjusting the garment’s fit to strike a balance between snugness and comfort is essential. Avoid excessive tightness to prevent hindrance to circulation and the onset of discomfort.

Caring for and Maintaining Your Compression Garments

To ensure the prolonged quality of your compression garment, adhere to the washing and drying guidelines furnished by either the manufacturer or your surgeon. This practice is essential in upholding the elasticity and overall efficacy of the garment, particularly crucial if you anticipate wearing it for an extended duration. Additionally, to safeguard continued benefits, it’s recommended to replace the garment when signs of wear and diminished compression efficacy become apparent due to the natural effects of wear and tear over time.

Common Concerns and FAQs about Compression Garments

Can compression garments be worn discreetly under clothing?

Many compression garments are designed to be worn discreetly under clothing, allowing you to continue your daily activities with comfort and confidence.

Are compression garments necessary for all Tummy Tuck patients?

Yes, compression garments are an essential part of postoperative care and recovery.

What to do if you experience discomfort or tightness with the garment?

If you experience discomfort or tightness that doesn’t subside, consult your surgeon promptly. They can assess the situation and offer guidance to ensure your comfort and safety.

Request a Consultation with Dr Dona

Dr Eddy Dona has been a specialist plastic surgeon since 2007, and is a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. From your first clinic visit, and throughout your surgical journey, Dr Dona and his team will be there to make it as smooth as possible.
Get in touch with our clinic to request a consultation with Dr Eddy Dona

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