Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Post Op Tummy Tuck Compression Garment

The post-operative compression garment is a garment that will be used to help you heal after your tummy tuck surgery.

It is important that you wear this garment daily for at least six weeks after your surgery, and possibly longer depending on the amount of scarring you get.

The compression garment helps to reduce swelling, keep the muscles tight, and prevent fluid build-up in the tissues. It also helps to prevent skin contractures (when the skin folds over itself).

By wearing this garment, you will be able to heal faster and more comfortably than if you were not wearing it.

In this post, we’ll provide answers to questions such as why do you wear a compression garment after tummy tuck and how long to wear compression garment after tummy tuck.

Post Op Care After Tummy Tuck Compression Garment

Compression garments are garments that help recovery following most plastic surgical procedures. These garments are an essential part of after-surgery care following plastic surgical procedures such as tummy tuck – abdominoplasty, breast surgery, liposuction and different post-weight loss body surgeries, etc.

Why should I wear compression Garments following liposuction and Tummy Tuck?

As stated above, compression garments are an essential part of postoperative care and recovery. These garments help accelerate the healing process of your body following liposuction or tummy tuck surgery. In addition to accelerating recovery, it also reduces excessive skin sagging following liposuction and helps achieve better contour to your abdomen following a Tummy Tuck. Furthermore, it helps reduce postoperative pain, swelling, and bruising associated with these procedures.

  • Postoperative swelling occurs when excess fluid builds up in the cavities of your abdomen following a Tummy tuck or any site where liposuction is done. This results in you gaining weight. Compression garments can help alleviate swelling by applying appropriate pressure to the affected area by redistributing fluids. The pressure exerted by these garments helps compress lumps and bumps that appear following Tummy Tucks.

Reduces postoperative bruising.

  • The cannula used in liposuction disrupts blood vessels during the fat extraction process during its to and from motion. Compressive garments compress the blood vessels and prevent RBC breakdown and percolation. Thereby reducing bruising associated with the procedure. The chance of postoperative bruising is considerably higher in patients that do not use compressive garments.

Can help reduce postoperative pain.

  • Pressure applied by the compression garment helps keep your tissues in place following the surgery. This helps protect the incision site and inner structures from injury and also reduces the chance of pain and inflammation in the body.

Helps reduce postoperative skin sagging.

  • A side effect of fat removal through liposuction is the creation of loose skin at the sight of fat removal. By using compression garments you enhance your body’s healing. This is due to the fact that compression garments hold the skin to underlying tissues snugly following your surgery.

Helps reduce infection.

  • Compression garments act as physical barriers preventing direct contact of infectious agents with the incision site. Thus reducing the chances of infection.

Maintains postoperative changes in the correct shape.

  • The new contour to your abdomen following Tummy Tuck or liposuction results are kept in the correct shape after the surgery by the postoperative use of these garments. Compression garments maintain postoperative changes in contour.

Promotes circulations.

  • Every surgery has a certain risk of clot formation and migration, including liposuction and tummy tucks. Migrated clots can obstruct pulmonary vessels and cause pulmonary embolism, which is a life-threatening complication. Compression garments promote proper circulation and reduce the formation of clots, thereby preventing clot-related complications.

Allows easy mobility

  • Garments help keep the tissues in place while you move around during your recovery. Thus, allowing you easy mobility and comfort by reducing the chance of straining at the incision site.

Helps in breakdown of keloids

  • Following liposuction and tummy tuck, excess scar tissues may be formed around your healed wound resulting in keloid formation. Compression garments help breakdown this scar tissue.

Why Do You Wear A Compression Garment After Tummy Tuck

Aids in the decrease of swelling.
Swelling is a common side effect of liposuction and other surgical procedures, especially after a Tummy Tuck. You’ll put on weight as a result of this. By applying a graduated pressure to the swollen area, compression garments can help reduce the condition by redistributing fluid buildup. Tummy tuck compression garments work by applying pressure in specific areas to minimize the appearance of any remaining bumps or bulges.

How Long To Wear Compression Garment After Tummy Tuck and Lipo

Among the many body contouring procedures offered by cosmetic and plastic surgeons, tummy tuck surgery is considered one of the more extreme.
For the best results from your tummy tuck, you should wear compression garments for at least 6-8 weeks after the operation.

Timeline for wearing garments

Stage One

The use of stage one garments begins immediately following liposuction or Tummy tuck surgery. They help remove excess swelling due to fluid accumulation caused by body processes increasing circulation at the site of surgery. These garments allow easy drainage of fluids postoperatively. They have zippers, hooks and eyes, which help reduce friction while wearing and removing. Patients will need to wear stage one garments for 1 – 2 weeks or more, depending upon the surgery’s nature. Stage one garments also have an open crotch; this eliminates the need to remove the garment while using the bathroom. Patients that are in stage one garments should wear them 24/7. The only reasons to remove stage garments during this time is for bathing and garment cleaning.

Stage Two

The use of stage two garments occurs during the second stage of wound healing post-surgery. And are worn from the second postoperative week onwards (Usually 2-8 weeks). You will move on to stage two garments once your fluid retention starts to decrease. Unlike stage one garments, stage two garments do not have zippers, eyes or crotch openings. These garments provide similar compression as stage one garments and are ideal for day to day use. You can comfortably wear Stage two garments under clothing. However, they do not need to be worn 24/7.

Post Op Care After Tummy Tuck

POSITION: Because abdominoplasty involves removal of the extra abdominal skin and usually tightening of the abdominal muscles, you will experience some difficulty standing up straight for a week or two or even longer. During this period, you may find it more comfortable to place a pillow or two under your knees while in bed. The tightness will gradually disappear as you heal and progressively use your body muscles for the activities of daily living. Please make no special attempt to stretch or pull the abdomen straight during the first two weeks of healing. You must change your position and walk around the house every few hours to reduce the danger of blood clots.

DRESSINGS: Occasionally, we will place an elastic abdominal binder around your tummy after surgery to provide some gentle pressure, to give you stability, and to reduce swelling. If it feels too tight or causes pain, take it off. We do not want the binder to interfere with circulation to the skin, which could cause blistering or skin loss! You may also remove it temporarily for laundry. EVERY PATIENT DOES NOT GET AN ABDOMINAL BINDER.

DRAINS: Dr. Zubowski will probably place two drains in the surgical area at the time of surgery. These drains evacuate the fluid that accumulates after surgery and enable you to heal faster. When the drain is first put in place, the bulb at the end of each tube will be compressed to create gentle suction. As the fluid collects in the bulb, it will expand. When the fluid accumulation is less than 30 cc in a 24-hour period, we will remove the drains.

DRAIN CARE: Secure the bulb of the drain to your clothing or the abdominal binder with a safety pin. Whenever the bulb fills or expands 50% or more, empty the bulb by opening the plug at the top and pouring out the contents. Do not attempt to remove the bulb from the tubing. Squeeze the bulb to recompress it, and put the plug back into the hole at the top in order to maintain the vacuum. If the bulb fills rapidly after emptying it, or you need to empty it more than 3 times a day. Dr. Zubowski or a nurse will remove the drains 5 to 10 days after surgery, when the fluid begins to turn a clear straw color and/or the amount of drainage diminishes. You may shower the day after your drains are removed. Occasionally Dr. Zubowski will allow you to shower with your drains in place. For a video demonstration on how to care for your drains.

ACTIVITIES: Tummy tucks are probably the most uncomfortable operation we do. You will experience some pain for 10 to 20 days and will not feel like resuming sports or heavy exercise for at least 6 weeks. After the first 2 weeks, you may resume moderate walks for as long as it is tolerable. Too much initial activity can prolong swelling.

SUTURES: The only removable stitches you will have will be around the drain site. The rest of the sutures will dissolve on their own over the course of several weeks. You will have clear strips along the incision lines. You may get them wet and dry them as you do your own skin. If they loosen, it will not hurt to remove them.

EXPOSURE TO SUNLIGHT: We recommend that you protect your scars from the sun for a year after surgery. Even through a bathing suit, a good deal of sunlight can reach the skin and cause damage. Wear a sunscreen with a skin protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 when out in sunny weather.


ACTIVITY/SPORTS: We want you to avoid straining or any aerobic activity for at least 3 weeks after surgery. This is to avoid bleeding, bruising, and swelling. Do not resume strenuous exercise for 3 to 4 weeks. Dr. Zubowski will give you clearance to increase your activities according to the progress of your recovery.

DRIVING: You may resume driving when you feel you are able, but wait at least two days after surgery. Keep in mind that you must have full use of your reflexes. If pain will inhibit them, don’t drive!

SEXUAL ACTIVITY: You may enjoy sexual activity as your body allows with the following restriction: please reread Activity/Sports above and apply the same concept to sex.

SUN EXPOSURE: If fresh scars are exposed to the sun, they will tend to become darker and take longer to fade. Sunscreen can help. Take extra care and precautions if the area operated on is slightly numb — you may not “feel” a sunburn developing.

WORK: Follow whatever plan you and Dr. Zubowski have agreed upon.


TIGHTNESS: Your abdomen will feel tight for a month or longer. If you have had a muscle repair as well (the usual case), you will feel the most tightness down the center of your tummy where Dr. Zubowski has actually repaired your muscles. This hurts more than any other part of the procedure.

HEALING OF SENSORY NERVES: Usually, the skin of the abdomen remains partially or completely numb for several months or longer. Tingling, burning, or shooting pains indicate regeneration of the small sensory nerves. This feeling will disappear with time and is not cause for alarm. It may take as long as two years for sensation in your abdomen to be restored completely.

FEELING OF FULLNESS: You may pleasantly find that you feel full sooner than normal when you begin to eat regular meals.

ACTIVITIES: If your job keeps you sedentary, you may plan on returning to work in 10-14 days, with the understanding that you will still have discomfort with motion. Please discuss this with Dr. Zubowski and the nursing staff. Here again, swelling may indicate too much activity. Do not plan on resuming aerobic or strenuous exercise for about 5-6 weeks after surgery. Let your body tell you what it can do.

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