Compression garments don’t get the same public attention as new surgical techniques, technologies, and injectable products. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t a critical part of creating beautiful and lasting results. Though you may not have heard of them, compression garments are among the most useful tools in ensuring a safe, quick, and efficient recovery.
During the initial healing process, your compression garment will improve your comfort and support your final results. Dr. Alderman recommends compression for nearly all of our liposuction, body contouring, and tummy tuck patients. In some cases, compression garments can also be quite helpful following a breast lift or augmentation.
Even though it is quite common for surgical procedures to be followed by the use of compression garments during recovery, there are many patients who have questions or confusions about them. So, we’ve explained here how compression garments work and why they’re so useful. In short, these garments promote faster healing, minimize swelling, and support Dr. Alderman’s craftsmanship.
Compression Garments 101
Most patients hear “compression garment” and think of Spanx–the tried and true thick stockings that help with varicose veins and slipping into your favorite pair of jeans. While medically prescribed compression garments do share some similarities with Spanx, they differ quite a bit. Your post-surgery compression garment will be specially made to enhance results and facilitate your recovery.
Compression garments provide three-dimensional stretch to support your tissue and provide added comfort while healing. They work primarily to aid in the reabsorption of subcutaneous fluid (or: swelling) and are made of high-quality, breathable and anti-microbial synthetic nylon or Lycra fabric. These fabrics not only help keep your body safe, but also considerably increase your overall comfort.
There’s a compression garment for nearly every part of the body, in countless sizes, styles, and types. For most body procedures, patients will need a garment that extends from below the upper chest or breasts and fits around the lower body. Your garment will also have openings to allow you to go to the bathroom without entirely removing it.
As for breast procedures, you’ll be given a “surgical compression bra,” which looks a lot like a high-impact sports bra, minus the underwire. Neck liposuction patients will be fitted for and given a compression strap to wrap around underneath the chin and back of the head.
What Does Compression Do?
There’s no denying that compression garments won’t exactly be your sexiest pair of underwear. But, the plentiful benefits far outweigh the lack of fashion.
Compression works to:
- Minimize post-op swelling and pain. Maintaining constant pressure to the healing tissues prevents excess fluid build-up and encourages your body to absorb any fluid that accumulates.
- Speed up results. Less swelling means less time healing. Without compression, post-op swelling lasts considerably longer, meaning you won’t be able to see final results as quickly.
- Improve overall results. Compression also works to help the skin contract to your new body contour–an especially important consideration for liposuction patients. It will also prevent a wrinkled or flabby appearance to the skin after body contouring.
Ensuring the Right Fit
Dr. Alderman will work with you to ensure your compression garment fits properly. In general, your garment should be noticeably snug but never feel “too tight.” As the swelling goes down, garments can become too loose, in which case we’ll fit you for a smaller size. If you feel any discomfort or have trouble breathing, let us know.
During your after-care consultation, we’ll give you a specific timeline for how long to wear your garment. In most cases, patients should wear a compression garment 24/7 for one to three weeks. The exact time frame varies from procedure to procedure. Removing your garment occasionally to bathe or wash it is absolutely okay, but the more you wear your garment during the initial healing process, the more effective it will be.
Following the first recovery phase, you should expect to wear your garment at night for several weeks to promote healing and protect your incision sites.
Questions? Let Us Know
If you’re interested in liposuction, body contouring, or any of our other cosmetic procedures, the best way to learn more is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon. During your initial meeting with Dr. Alderman, we’ll have a chance to listen to your goals and concerns and answer any questions in depth.
To schedule your consultation, please give our North Atlanta, GA office a call at (470) 381-3610 or contact us online today.