Postoperative care is crucial to a full recovery after any plastic surgery procedure. Following the surgeon’s instructions will help reduce the risk of complications and ensure you get your desired results. Part of post-surgery care often involves compression garments, which are worn during the recovery period. Not everyone is aware of their importance or even what they do. So, are compression garments necessary after plastic surgery? We asked respected Plastic and Cosmetic Surgeon Dr Gavin Sandercoe, from Bella Vista in NSW to weigh in on the subject.
What are compression garments?
A compression garment is a wide, elastic strip of material that hugs a certain body part to apply constant and even pressure. This band comes in various forms to meet the body’s needs for quick recovery. For example, a patient who has undergone a tummy tuck must wear a compression garment that looks like a single band that compresses the abdominal area. Another design for tummy tuck patients looks like a girdle or a pair of briefs. This garment is an important part of the recovery process, and provides numerous benefits to the user.
This garment can help improve your recovery and has various purposes. These are:
- To hold surgical dressings and bandages in place to keep incisions clean, protected and pressured, reducing the risk of infection and helping to minimise scarring;
- Assisting to minimise any movement of the damaged tissues, allowing you to stay more comfortable as you move around;
- Improving blood circulation;
- Reducing swelling and bruising;
- Lowering complication risks – compression garments minimise fluid retention in the surgical site, helping to prevent seroma, haematoma, or lymphedema. They actually assist the body to flush out any harmful fluids;
- Reducing the possibility of skin irregularities (scars) to prevent an uneven appearance.
Dr Sandercoe says he is a fan of compression garments, especially after an abdominoplasty, and requests most of his patients to wear them for up to 4 – 8 weeks after surgery.
He says, “Compression garments after tummy tuck are mostly used for two reasons. The first is to help force any remaining fluid and swelling out of the area, and the second is to support the abdominal musculature whilst the stitching in the midline lays down scar and becomes solid.
“Swelling after liposuction often takes around three or four weeks to completely go away. The stitching in the midline often takes around six to eight weeks for enough scar tissue to be laid down around the sutures to be solid and for the muscles to cope with the additional pull that the oblique muscles will put on the stitching.”
Types of Compression Garments
Compression garments are often recommended to clients who’ve had body contouring, including tummy tuck, breast augmentation, and liposuction. The design might remind you of Spanx because the material is elastic and hugs the body with the right pressure. However, the compression garments used for surgery provide more support and are designed specifically for use after particular surgeries. The design varies depending on the purpose and part of the body that you are having surgery on. Your surgeon should discuss this with you during consultation, but you should have it on your list of questions to ask your surgeon about your recovery.
Dr Gavin Sandercoe is a popular surgeon for any of the aforementioned procedures. If you’d like more information about him or to see some of his patient’s stories, check out the blogs below. Or, if you’d like to arrange a consultation, give them a call on 1300 112 358.