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Cosmetic Surgery Recovery: Why You Need Compression Garments9 min read

Cosmetic Surgery Recovery Compression Garments
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Caroline Hedges

Caroline Hedges is a critically acclaimed researcher, writer and serial entrepreneur.
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So, you’ve done it. You’ve gotten the cosmetic surgery, and you’re in recovery mode, waiting for your surgical side effects to wear off so you can show off your new and improved look. 

Whether you got liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, or another body contouring procedure, we know a secret to support your recovery and maximize your results. Two words: compression garments.

We know, we know. They’re not always cute. But, they can play a key role in reducing swelling, supporting your new shape, and promoting overall healing. 

Remember when you were fourteen and finally got your braces off and were so excited about your new smile, but didn’t want to wear your retainer?

Think of your compression garments as your retainer! If you get through the awkward phase of wearing it, you’ll thank yourself in the years to come. 

Here’s the scoop on compression garments—what they are, how they will benefit you, and where to get them.

What is a Compression Garment?

Post-op compression garments are customized shape wear made of strong, synthetic, elastic material that have been specifically designed to aid in recovery after cosmetic surgery.

The type of compression garment you need depends on the surgery you received, but there are a wide variety of garments available that can be sized to fit your new body shape, applying a constant pressure to the surgically improved areas.

The most common compression garments are legging-like bottoms that apply pressure to the lower half of the body and tops that look like fitted tank tops or high-impact sports bras, which are used after upper body procedures. You might not be a fashionista during the weeks after your procedure, but there are high-quality compression garment options available that will allow you to recover in comfort and (sort of) style!

What is the Difference Between a Binder and a Compression Garment?

Binders are generally broader bands used to wrap around a specific area, often the abdomen, to provide uniform compression.

Compression garments are specialized pieces of clothing designed to fit specific parts of the body, such as the face, arms, or legs.

Binders might be used for initial post-operative phases, while compression garments might be recommended for longer-term use.

Compression garments are usually more tailored and form-fitting than binders, ensuring even pressure across a surgical site.

Compression Garments during cosmetic surgery

What Surgeries Require a Compression Garment?

Several cosmetic surgeries benefit from the post-operative use of compression garments. Some of these include:

  • Liposuction: Helps to reduce swelling and shape the treated area.
  • Tummy Tuck (Abdominoplasty): Supports the abdominal region and reduces fluid accumulation.
  • Breast Augmentation or Reduction: Provides support and helps to minimize swelling.
  • Facelift: Reduces facial swelling and supports the healing tissues.
  • Body Lifts or Contouring: Offers overall support to the operated areas.

Your surgeon will provide you with post surgery care instructions and recommend compression garments that are best suited to your over care. They reduce swelling and bruising and are essential recovery tools.

Why Do I Need Compression Garments During Cosmetic Surgery Recovery?

From a medical standpoint, the purpose of post-procedure compression is to encourage the body to reabsorb the subcutaneous fluid that the body creates after surgery, causing swelling.

In addition to applying pressure, the garments also provide protection for the wound from any environmental factors that might lead to infection as any incision sites are healing. It’s VERY important for your overall health that you follow the instructions of your provider during your recovery period.

From a beauty standpoint, compression garments are helpful because they prevent bruising and scarring. They support the repaired area, holding the skin tight and allowing it to heal in the correct shape while minimizing disruption of the incision site.

By keeping fluid levels down, compression garments also decrease the amount of time it takes to recover from the post-op swelling. Most importantly, your results will look better overall and will last longer.

Compression garments help your body adapt to the surgical changes in a way that allows you to enjoy your beautiful results for years to come!

How Tight Should My Compression Garment Be After Surgery?

Your compression garment should be snug but not excessively tight. It’s meant to support the surgical area and reduce swelling without restricting blood flow. You should be able to breathe comfortably, and there shouldn’t be any pinching or pain.

If you feel numbness or tingling or notice skin discoloration, the garment might be too tight. Always consult with your surgeon or medical team to ensure an appropriate fit.

Is It OK to Sleep in Compression Garments?

Yes, it’s generally safe and often recommended to sleep in compression garments. They help to reduce swelling and bruising while you’re resting.

However, it’s crucial to ensure they are comfortable and not causing any restriction in circulation while you sleep. Always follow your surgeon’s advice on how and when to wear them.

How Long Should I Wear Compression Garments After Cosmetic Surgery?

In terms of recovery plan, the recommended time to wear a compression garment varies by patient and procedure.

For most patients, providers advise to wear your garment 24/7 for the first few weeks after surgery, only taking it off to bathe and wash the garment.

After 3-4 weeks, most patients can transition to wearing their garments intermittently—like only at night—for a few more weeks, since swelling should be reduced by that time.

After that, it’s up to you! Some people are glad to be rid of them after the surgical results have taken effect and the incisions have healed, but others opt to keep wearing them for comfort or added contour.

What Happens if I Don’t Wear My Compression Garment?

Skipping out on wearing your compression garment can lead to:

  • Increased Swelling: The garment aids in controlling post-surgical swelling.
  • Fluid Accumulation: There’s a higher risk of seroma or hematoma formation.
  • Prolonged Recovery: The healing process may be extended without the support and pressure from the garment.
  • Compromised Results: The final aesthetic outcome might be affected, leading to uneven results or increased scarring.

When Should I Not Wear a Compression Garment?

While compression garments play a vital role in post-surgical recovery, there are times when they might not be appropriate.

If you notice redness, itching, or any signs of an allergic reaction where the garment touches your skin, you should immediately stop wearing it and consult your surgeon. 

If the garment is too tight and causes numbness, tingling, or a change in skin color, it may be restricting circulation. It’s essential to ensure the right fit.

Your surgeon will recommend how long you should wear the garment. After this period, its use might not be beneficial and could even be counterproductive.

Where Can I Buy Compression Garments?

You will definitely want your compression garments to be well-fitted to your body and appropriate for the type of procedure you had done. They should be nice and tight but should not cause discomfort. Check out our Aesthetica shop for some awesome options catered toward your needs!

Ready to Become the Best Version of Yourself?

Meet us at 19500 Sandridge Way, Suite 350, Leesburg, VA 20176, or call us at (703) 574-4342 for a complimentary consultation with Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Phillip Chang before moving forward with your procedure. If everything matches up, our team will help you navigate the entire process from beginning to end. Also, remember to check out our blog and social media for more information on cosmetic surgery trends!

Let Us Help You!

Our office can provide you with helpful information, schedule a free consultation, and walk you through the many services and procedures we provide.

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