5 Reasons Why Compression Garments Are Important for Recovery After an Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
What Are Compression Garments?
Before diving into details regarding your abdominoplasty, you should know what compression garments are. They’re tight clothes made from elastin, nylon, or any breathable fabric that can provide enough pressure on the body.
In medical terms, compression garments aid people with weak areas in their bodies by supporting the muscles and the organs. For example, they help people with poor blood circulation due to medical conditions.
Compression garments have varying degrees of compression, so your doctor will prescribe you the optimum degree for your condition. And you might start with a tight degree, then opt for a looser one toward the end of your recovery period.
Why You Need Compression Garments After an Abdominoplasty
Now, it’s time to tell you why compression garments are essential after an abdominoplasty. Here are five reasons why!
1. Reduce Seroma Risk and Bruising
After body shaping procedures, many patients develop seroma. A seroma is a buildup of excess fluids under the skin, and it occurs due to disruption of your body’s blood vessels, which causes fluids to exit and move toward other tissues.
Seroma often causes swelling because it prevents oxygen and nutrients from reaching tissues. So, all in all, it’s a common complication that can get better by using compression garments. But how?
Well, compression garments apply constant pressure on the disrupted area of your body. Accordingly, they improve your blood circulation, prevent your red blood cells from breaking down, and aid your body in getting rid of any fluid buildup. They help keep the skin intact, therefore preventing swelling and bruising.
2. Quicken the Recovery Period
Since swelling and bruising are the most common contributors to long recovery periods, compression garments can help you recover faster and better by preventing them. Moreover, wearing compression garments protects the incision area, which means the risk of opening or stretching your wound decreases.
Finally, those garments act as physical barriers between your body and the outside dangers, like bacteria. So, they prevent infection of your incision site, which can significantly lengthen the recovery period. Some compression garments also have specific antibacterial features.
3. Decrease Discomfort and Pain
Abdominoplasty procedures and incisions disrupt your body’s tissues for a long time. Consequently, you might feel discomfort and sometimes pain while moving around because your movements pull at the incision lines and the disrupted tissues.
Luckily, compression garments will bring your discomfort and pain to a minimum as they’ll protect your tissues from moving around by applying pressure on them. And it’s no secret that most people think of compression garments as uncomfortable and bothersome clothes. But they provide comfort after body shaping surgeries.
If you feel uncomfortable in your garment, then it’s probable you’re wearing an incorrect size, or you chose the wrong degree of compression.
4. Enhance Blood Circulation
Enhanced blood circulation will help your body tissues get the nutrients and oxygen they need, reducing the risk of swelling. Those effects will, in turn, make for a comfortable and healthy recovery period.
As we’ve mentioned before, compression garments can improve your blood circulation by applying pressure on weakened areas of your body.
5. Improve Surgery Results
Abdominoplasty surgeries result in a flat tummy, but their effect isn’t magical; it won’t stay the same forever. You’ll have to follow certain dietary limitations, exercise, and wear compression garments to ensure your stomach stays flat.
Wearing a compression garment will help your tissues stay in place. In other words, it’ll reduce skin wrinkling, bumps formation, and the appearance of keloid scars. So, your stomach will look more contoured and won’t have uneven areas like before.
With that being said, if you buy the wrong compression garment for your body, you might be left with indentations. For instance, when the garment is too tight, it’ll leave long line marks on your skin in the place of the seams. So it’ll be best if you get the right fit.
Stages of Compression Garments After an Abdominoplasty
After you go through a tummy tuck procedure, you can divide your recovery period into two stages, requiring different compression garments. So here’s what you’ll need to wear during them.
Stage one garments often have hooks, eyes, and zippers to make wearing and removing them more manageable. Some also have open crotches to help patients go to the bathroom without taking them off. Generally, you shouldn’t take off your compression garments during stage one except for showering.
Although this point ultimately depends on your doctor’s opinion, you’ll probably have to wear your stage one garments for about two weeks or more after your surgery.
You’ll have to wear your stage two compression garments a little longer than your stage one ones. However, you won’t have to wear them all day, like stage one garments.
For most patients, the period ranges from two to eight weeks. Their central role is to support your body’s new contoured shape and ensure it doesn’t return to its old form.
Since you’ll wear those garments long after your surgery, they don’t have zippers, crotch openings, or hooks. Again, you’ll be more comfortable with your body movements and won’t have as much pain as before. Accordingly, you won’t find it challenging to wear and remove them.
How to Choose Suitable Compression Garments
Compression garments have many features and properties that you’ll encounter while shopping before your surgery. Here’s a brief roundup of the features that matter the most.
While most compression garments are manufactured from breathable materials to ensure your comfort, some aren’t. This point is essential because non-breathable fabrics can irritate your skin and give you a constant scratching sensation, especially during the warmer months.
The scratching added to the discomfort and pain of your incision site might affect your mood significantly and bother you. So, if you want to prevent those reactions, you should opt for breathable fabrics, and they’ll keep your skin dry and comfortable, thus ensuring your comfort.
Advances in microbiology throughout the years have led to the development of antibacterial compression garments. They come in handy after surgeries when skin sutures are susceptible to bacterial infections.
Although they aren’t vital for the recovery period, and most people do well with ordinary compression garments, they’ll help you reduce the risk of infections.
Antibacterial compression garments often have silver nanoparticles among their manufacturing materials. Those particles eliminate any bacterial growth around incision sites, thus protecting your skin.
There’s no denying that compression garments cause discomfort, even if they’re the right fit and have the proper degree of pressure. But luckily, garments that get manufactured from moisture-wicking fabrics bring this discomfort to a minimum.
Those fabrics are designed to pull moisture away from the skin instead of absorbing it. Then, the water evaporates; thus, it doesn’t stay on your skin, which might cause irritation, especially during excessive sweating.
So, if your recovery period is during the summer, moisture-wicking fabrics will ensure your comfort and healthy recovery.
Durable compression garments often cost more than others, but they’re essential if you have a lengthy recovery period ahead of you. Believe us; you don’t want to wear a worn-out garment every day for a few weeks.
Most people don’t think about closures when buying compression garments, but they’re, in fact, a make-or-break feature. After surgery, you’ll need closures that can hold the garment well over your body but are also easy to open and close.
Most compression garments have zippers or hook-and-eye closures instead of the usual Velcro. This is because Velcro closures aren’t as trustworthy as others and might not be able to hold your garment in place for long.
On the other hand, high-quality zippers are ideal for recovery periods because they glide smoothly without straining your arms. The same goes for hook closures. So the choice between them depends on your personal preference.
Seams or Seemless?
It’s no secret that your skin will be much more sensitive after the surgery than before, even if it’s for a short period. This fact renders garments with seams less comfortable than seamless ones.
In addition, the seams might uncomfortably press on your incision site and cause you constant pain, which isn’t ideal. So preferably, you should look for seamless compression garments.
What Compression Garment to Wear After an Abdominoplasty
There are many types of compression garments on the market. For instance, there are belts, girdles, bras, socks, bandages, and leggings. So which one should you buy for your abdominoplasty?
While the answer depends on your doctor’s opinion, you should know the different types of abdominal compression garments and their roles. So here are the ones you should consider if you recently had a tummy tuck procedure.
A compression girdle will support your waist and thighs, and it’s a favorite among women who recently gave birth. Those girdles are often made of breathable materials, flexible, and high-waisted to help you improve your posture.
More so, they come with hook-and-eye closures so that you can adjust their size according to your personal preference. Since those garments cover the stomach area, many doctors prescribe them after tummy tuck procedures.
However, they also cover the thighs. While this feature gives patients better support and helps them improve their poor postures, it isn’t necessary and may cause discomfort.
So after consulting your doctor, you should think about what’s best for you. If you don’t want to wear an entire girdle, you can opt for our next on-the-list, compression binder.
A compression binder is a wide belt that goes around your stomach, and it comes in many sizes and materials. Most compression binders have Velcro closures, which might not be ideal post-surgery. However, you can always look for ones that have hook-and-eye closures.
Many people prefer them to compression girdles because they’re easier to wear and remove. Also, they don’t constrict movements as much. But in the end, the decision depends on your doctor’s recommendation and your condition.
What to Expect During Recovery After an Abdominoplasty
Other than compression garments, there are some points you should expect after your abdominoplasty. Here’s a brief roundup about them.
The recovery period might vary from one patient to another, but generally, patients can return to their everyday lives after six or eight weeks from the tummy tuck procedure.
The first week is always the most challenging because of the pain and the swelling. Typically, your doctor might tell you to use ice packs for swelling and pain medications. And you should limit your movements as much as you can during the first ten days.
When the second week comes, you’ll feel more comfortable wearing your compression garments, and the swelling will decrease noticeably. Your doctor will also encourage you to take short walks to improve your blood circulation and quicken the recovery period.
During the third and fourth weeks, you’ll be able to return to your everyday life partially. To elaborate, you can move freely around your house, do light exercises, and take off compression garments for a while. Also, the pain of the incision site will subside.
Unfortunately, undergoing an abdominoplasty will impair your physical activity for a while. For instance, you won’t be able to drive for at least six weeks or more.
More so, you’ll have to sleep on an incline during the first week. Ideally, you should keep your upper body raised slightly and bend your knees. This position will reduce the risk of swelling around the incision site. You can also place a pillow under your knees while sleeping to avoid exerting pressure on your stomach.
That said, those are all essential guidelines that your doctor will talk to you about before you undergo surgery. So you don’t have to worry about not having enough information.
Since the media tends to glamorize body shaping procedures, you might not hear enough about the long-term effects you’ll have to face after surgery. However, that’s why we’re here!
After your tummy tuck procedure, you should expect a pulling sensation around your stomach every time you move. This sensation might stay with you for weeks or even months. However, it’s normal.
You might also experience some numbness in the long term, and it’s nothing to overthink. But if it stays with you longer than what you’re expecting, you should consult your doctor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Tight Should My Compression Garments Be?
Ideally, compression garments should be tight enough to support your body without limiting your ability to breathe comfortably or move freely. If you feel like they’re affecting your breathing, they’re too tight for you. But beware that generally, compression garments are uncomfortable.
Can I Take My Compression Garments Off to Wash Them?
While washing your garments is necessary, you shouldn’t take them off for long periods. That’s why, preferably, you should always have backup compression garments that you can wear while the others are in the laundry
Can I Take My Compression Garments Off Before Sleeping?
Unfortunately, no, you can’t. For the best recovery results, you should wear them 24/7. You’ll only be allowed to take them off during showers.
To Wrap Up
Compression garments are essential for your recovery period after body shaping surgeries. They improve blood circulation, enhance surgery results, and ensure a quick and healthy recovery. After an abdominoplasty, you should either wear a binder or a girdle. The choice depends on your doctor’s recommendation and your personal preference. But before buying a compression garment, you should check factors like closures, durability, manufacturing materials, and seams. This way, you’ll guarantee your comfort during recovery.