The Complete Guide to Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery

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Posted on September 20, 2021 under Cosmetic Surgery

Wearing an appropriate compression garment after your body contouring surgery is one of the most effective ways to ensure you achieve your ideal results. It’s normal to worry about this, though, since wearing a compression garment for the duration of your recovery can seem daunting. Although your plastic surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how long to wear it and when to take it off, here are the basics to know about compression garments and what you can expect at Cosmetic Surgery Associates.

Do I need to wear compression garments after body contouring surgery?

The short answer to this question is a big yes. Wearing compression garments after surgery can have many key benefits to achieving good results- like helping to speed recovery time, having a positive impact on surgical results, and helping to shape new body contours. By wearing your compression garment, recovery time will be shortened, which means getting back to normal life quicker. It also helps support good results, which is the goal of your body contouring procedure.

Compression garments eliminate guesswork

Wearing compression garments helps to remove much of the guesswork that would be needed without them and this leads to increased results. The garments help by stabilizing the new shape of the body, so the contours heal as the surgeon planned. A major benefit of wearing compression garments is helping to reduce pain.

What do compression garments do?

The overall goal of post-op compression garments is to hold tissues in place to help heal in the correct position decreasing swelling. After surgery, for example, a tummy tuck, there is a flap of tissue that is elevated from the abdominal wall, leaving a potential space. This is also true of any lift surgery or liposuction procedure- a gap is formed between the underlying tissue and skin. Compression garments hold the skin and tissue together for faster and more healing. This helps reduce pain and swelling. Additionally, it prevents the buildup of fluids in this space that can negatively impact your results.

The benefits of compression garments

After liposuction, body lifts, and tummy tucks, compression garments provide a number of benefits. These include:

  • Reduced swelling
  • Reduced risk of bruising and bleeding
  • Faster recovery
  • Support for the shape and contour your surgeon intended
  • Reduced discomfort and pain

One way to think of a compression garment is to think of bumping your shin – likely, your first instinct is to rub and press on it. Compression garments work similarly in the sense it soothes pain and discomfort through the use of compression.

How long do I need to wear a compression garment?

You can expect to wear your compression garments for two to six weeks. Your surgeon will advise you in the postoperative period how long. It all depends on your specific surgery and how your recovery is progressing.

It’s normal to experience some discomfort while wearing compression garments. If you notice redness or any sign of pain or blistering, notify us. An adjustment in the garment or how it is being worn may be needed. Having your garment fit properly is important in this case, you should speak with your plastic surgeon to determine the right kind of compression garment for your needs and have it fitted appropriately.

What about using garments purchased online. Many times these are fine as only light compression is needed. More pressure does not equal better results and can in certain circumstances lead to tissue injury. Check with your surgeon if you have questions.


A successful recovery depends on partnering with a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon. To learn more about our body contouring procedures and meet with our team of plastic surgeons, contact our Bethesda office by calling or filling out our online form.

Our Plastic Surgery Associates team includes Dr. Franklin Richards, Dr. A. Dean Jabs, and Dr. Keshav Magge. Each of our plastic surgeons is board-certified, and together they have over 60 years of combined experience. Drs. Richards, Jabs, and Magge are all highly qualified in procedures for the face, breast, and body, and pride themselves in providing excellent results through our state-of-the-art, Quad A certified operating centers