The phrase “compression garment” conjures up images of celebrities wearing Spanx, athletes in tight sleeves and leggings and jet-setters sporting special socks on long-haul flights. While they are all examples of compression clothing, the compression garments used in medicine are more advanced, high-tech designs specially constructed to facilitate healing and enhance results.
Compression is a key component of the liposuction recovery process for many of our patients at Advanced Aesthetics. Compression garments offer many benefits to men and women recovering from liposuction and other body contouring procedures and can make a dramatic difference in the surgical outcome. Proper use of a compression garment is one of the best things you can do to shape the sleeker physique you’re hoping to achieve. What are compression garments? Medical compression garments are made from strong, synthetic fabrics (such as nylon and lycra) that stretch and apply pressure to the body when they are worn after a surgical procedure. The garments are made in various styles and sizes so they can be worn by a wide range of patients on many different parts of the body. A girdle-like compression garment would be appropriate after liposuction of the abdomen, for instance, while compression stockings or sleeves would be recommended after liposuction of the legs or arms, respectively. All medical compression garments are designed to provide a level of pressure that encourages healing, not the kind of pressure created by “waist trainers” or other types of shape-wear used for fashion.
Why are compression garments worn after liposuction?
Surgeons recommend wearing a compression garment after liposuction for several reasons related to achieving a comfortable recovery and optimal results:
Compression Garments Help Reduce Swelling
Wearing a compression garment after liposuction helps the body recover and increases your comfort during the healing process. The body naturally produces fluids during recovery. These fluids can accumulate and become trapped, causing swelling and discomfort and prolonging the healing process. Many liposuction patients experience significant postoperative swelling that can last for weeks. A compression garment applies even pressure across the treatment area, preventing excessive fluid buildup and helping your body absorb any fluid that does accumulate.
Compression Garments Can Decrease Bruising
Bruising is to be expected after liposuction. Its severity and longevity will vary from patient to patient, but it can be minimized by wearing a compression garment. Bruises occur as a result of trauma to blood vessels. When blood vessels are injured, blood enters the surrounding tissue and discolors the visible skin above the injury site. The consistent pressure of a compression garment helps stop bleeding and prevents blood from moving toward the skin’s surface to reduce the appearance of bruises.
Compression Garments Can Improve Scarring
Scarring can occur after liposuction, but it is rarely significant. The incisions used in the procedure are small and strategically located to reduce their visibility as much as possible. The degree of scarring experienced depends on a mix of factors, including the technique used and the patient’s genetic tendency to develop scars. If you are concerned about scarring, wearing a compression garment can provide peace of mind. Pressure helps soften, flatten and further reduce the appearance of liposuction’s already discreet scars.
Compression Garments Can Shape Your Final Results
Wearing a compression garment can improve the contour of the treatment area, helping you achieve optimal liposuction results. The support of the garment helps your body adapt to its new streamlined shape and reduces the risk of your skin developing a lax or wrinkled appearance. This can mean smoother, tighter, more attractive liposuction results. Some patients also find that wearing a compression garment improves their posture and facilitates easy movement after a body contouring procedure.
Are there risks associated with wearing a compression garment?
A compression garment is tight by design. Patients sometimes experience discomfort as they get used to the sensation of wearing one, particularly in the early stages when postoperative swelling is at its height. A compression garment is not, however, intended to place excessive pressure on the treatment area. Too much compression can be painful and may increase the risk of developing pressure necrosis or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). An ill-fitting or improperly worn compression garment can contribute to seroma formation or surface contour irregularities. If you have any concerns about your compression garment being too tight or not fitting properly, do not hesitate to contact your surgeon.
How should a compression garment be worn?
Any time you undergo a medical procedure, it is important to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions to ensure a smooth recovery and attractive results. Compression garments play an important role in proper healing after liposuction. They come in a variety of styles and sizes for nearly every part of the body. After the procedure, a compression garment will most likely need to be worn immediately and for several weeks after as the initial recovery process takes place. Your surgeon may reduce your compression in stages, starting with a high degree of compression then switching to a lower degree of compression and gradually decreasing the number of hours it must be worn each day. The length of time you will be asked to wear the garment before it can be discarded will depend on the extent of your procedure and your surgeon’s technique and preferences.
To be effective, your compression garment should fit snugly but not be overly restrictive or bulky. It should cover the full extent of the treatment area; if the treatment area is partially exposed, there may be a visible delineation between the area that was covered and the area that was not. Sizing a compression garment correctly can be challenging. Speak with your surgeon and consult the manufacturer’s sizing charts before making any purchases.
Learn More About Liposuction and Recovery
Despite a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, some stubborn pockets of fat may refuse to budge from your body. Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that can reduce these unwanted fat deposits and reveal the slimmer or more toned physique you’ve been working hard to achieve. If you’re ready to love the way you look and want to learn more about how liposuction can help, contact Advanced Aesthetics today at 770-461-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons.