Why Compression Garments After Liposuction Are Important

Written by Kristy Hamilton, MD, Board Certified Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon on August 6, 2021 2 Comments

compression garments lipo

Liposuction patients who closely follow the aftercare instructions following their procedure typically experience the fewest issues during their recovery and are generally the happiest with their liposuction results. Often, one of the most important post-lipo instructions given by physicians is the requirement to wear compression garments over the first couple of weeks following surgery.

But what are compression garments, how do you wear them, and for how long do you wear them? In this post we’ll discuss the ins and outs of compression garments and explain why they are vital to successful liposuction recovery and results.

The Importance of Compression Garments

Medical compression garments are much more than Spanx or the tight socks worn by marathon runners. This high-tech, advanced recovery wear is specifically designed to help you heal faster and achieve the best possible liposuction results. Proper use of compression garments after your liposuction surgery may be the most effective thing you can do to enhance your new body contour.

Not wearing compression garments leaves you vulnerable to enhanced swelling and bruising, lax skin and a wrinkled or dimpled appearance.

What Are Compression Garments?

Medical compression garments are made from strong, yet flexible, synthetic fabrics such as lycra or nylon. They are constructed in a manner that allows for graduated, multi-directional stretch, while maintaining pressure throughout the treatment area.

Compression garments come in a variety of sizes to accommodate differently sized bodies and various body parts. Depending on your liposuction procedure, you may be sent home with one or more compression garments for the abdomen, breasts, legs or arms, and neck or chin.

A proper fit will feel snug, but never painful. Your doctor may order you several sizes, to adjust pressure over time as your swelling goes down.

How Do Compression Garments Help Liposuction Recovery?

Compression garments not only make recovery more comfortable, but they reduce swelling and bruising for faster healing. Importantly, they improve the outcome of your liposuction procedure by helping the body adhere to its new contour.

The proper use of compression garments during lipo recover can:

Reduce Swelling

After your liposuction surgery, your body will produce fluids that can build up and become stagnant, causing uncomfortable swelling. By applying even, consistent pressure in the area of your procedure compression garments prevent fluid from accumulating for a decrease in swelling.

Reduce Bruising

Liposuction incurs trauma to the blood vessels just underneath your skin, which results in bruising as blood rises to the skin’s surface. Compression garments diminish the appearance of bruises by keeping blood away from the surface of the skin.

Minimize Scarring

Scarring from liposuction is typically minimal since incisions are small and well hidden. However, compression garments help further reduce scarring by maintaining pressure on the incision site for flatter, smoother skin.

Prevent Edema Formation

During liposuction, fat is removed from below the skin and above the muscle, creating a space where fluids can build up and pool. Fluid accumulation in this area which causes lumps is referred to as edema. Compression garments minimize this space by pressurizing the skin against muscle, minimizing potential fluid accumulation.

Minimize Pain or Discomfort

Many patients say compression garments help them feel more secure after their surgery, and make movement easier during the early recovery period. Compression garments have the ability to decrease pain, improve posture, and increase mindful care of the area impacted by your liposuction procedure.

If your compression garments are causing pain versus providing relief, see your doctor for a better fitting garment.

Enhance Final Results

While it may not feel glamorous to wear compression garments, they will indeed enhance your final results. The supportive compression prevents skin from getting lax or wrinkled and assists in skin retraction for an improved, tighter contour.

How Long Must Compression Garments Be Worn?

Immediately after your liposuction procedure, your doctor will fit you with the necessary compression garments. Expect to wear these garments 24/7 for the first 6 weeks, removing them only for bathing or washing.

After the first three weeks, your doctor will assess your level of swelling and the speed of your recovery. You may be asked to switch to a smaller garment to accommodate reduced swelling.

Compression garments are typically worn for a total of 6 weeks. How long you must wear yours will depend on the specifics of your liposuction procedure, how much fat was removed, and the unique pace of your healing.

How Should Compression Garments Fit?

A proper fit is a snug fit. Your compression garments should not be too tight, nor too bulky. Although you may experience some initial discomfort while you get used to the compression, you should not feel excessive pain or restriction.

As your swelling reduces, your compression garments will fit differently. To maintain their effectiveness, it is important you adjust your garments as needed throughout the recovery process.

What Happens If You Do Not Wear Compression Garments?

When compression garments are properly fitted the benefits far outweigh the risks. Not wearing compression garments at all can prolong your recovery, make the healing process more painful, and may lead to results that are less than ideal.

Compression garments contribute greatly to skin tightness and a smooth body contour after liposuction. For best results, keep them on for as long as your doctor recommends.

Kristy Hamilton, MD

Kristy L. Hamilton, M.D. is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Houston, Texas. Dr. Hamilton offers the full range of bespoke aesthetic plastic surgery including rhinoplasty, eyelid surgery, facelifts and facial rejuvenation, fat transfer, chin surgery, breast augmentation and lifts, body contouring and liposuction, as well as reconstructive facial and breast surgery. She understands each patient’s individual needs and applies her surgical skill with meticulous detail to create a natural and beautiful result.

2 Responses to “Why Compression Garments After Liposuction Are Important”

  1. Avatar Edgar says:

    I had a smartlipo on my flanks and waist area at Westlake Dermatology in San Antonio, Tx with Dr. Malini Fowler and on my 5 day Post-op appointment of my surgery she told me i don’t have to wear my compression garments anymore but my area is still swollen and she saw it, that left me intrigued, what do you have to say about that? Do you agree with her?

  2. WD Staff WD Staff says:

    Hi Edgar,

    Great question! The time a patient needs to wear compression can vary due to many different factors. We always recommend following the directions of your surgeon.

    That said, you can always reach out to your provider to discuss the issue further. Please feel free to call Dr. Fowler’s team to ask further questions on that recommendation.

    WD Staff

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