19th Aug, 2014

Why Wear a Compression Garment after Body Contouring Surgery?

A woman wearing supportive undergarmentsBy definition, body contouring surgery aims to improve a patient’s overall curvature by enhancing the skin and subcutaneous tissues of the body. Some procedures, like a tummy tuck, concentrate primarily on removing excess skin, whereas procedures like liposuction focus on removing excess fat. All body contouring shares one common factor, though: it requires a healthy recovery. After all, the body needs to heal any tissues damaged during surgery as it adjusts to its new form.

Among the various instructions you may be given for your recovery, a common recommendation is the use of an elastic compression garment. This device is intended to make your recovery easier and promote healing, which is especially important for larger, more invasive procedures. Take this opportunity to learn why a compression garment is truly useful after body contouring, as offered by our Santa Barbara plastic surgery office.

What Is a Compression Garment?

A surgical compression garment is a band woven from elastic and cloth, which stretches around an area of the body to apply constant, even pressure. These garments come in a variety of forms, appropriate to the body part that requires healing. If you have undergone a tummy tuck, for instance, the compression garment may take the form of a single band around your abdomen, briefs that extend upward, or a girdle. In any iteration, a compression garment is an important part of the healing process and offers numerous benefits to those who wear it as instructed.

How Long Should a Compression Garment Be Worn?

As with any post-surgical requirements, the duration of use for a compression garment is highly dependent upon your own recovery and your doctor’s instructions. Larger, more invasive procedures will require a longer timeline for your compression garment and recovery in general. The type of surgery may also determine the use of your garment, since some techniques pose greater risks of complication. Typically, compression garments are worn for one to four weeks after surgery, but only your doctor can definitively tell you when to stop or resume certain activities throughout recovery.

The Benefits of a Compression Garment

A compression garment has the potential to improve nearly every facet of your recovery. First, by holding your bandages and surgical dressings in place, it ensures that incisions are kept clean in the early stages of healing, thereby reducing the risk of infection. Additionally, a compression garment aids in the following areas:

  • Improved comfort: Compression of the surgical area minimizes the movement of damaged tissues, helping patients remain comfortable while relaxing or moving.
  • Improved circulation: Compression has long been used to improve circulation, whether post-injury or during physical activity.
  • Reduced bruising and swelling: With improved circulation, fluid retention is minimized, making bruising and swelling from surgery dissipate sooner.
  • Reduced risk of complication: After body contouring, patients face a risk of fluid building up around the surgical site, resulting in a hematoma, seroma, or lymphedema. Compression garments promote fluid passage, thereby reducing the risk of blockage and complication.
  • Reduced risk of skin irregularities: There is always a slight chance of skin healing irregularly over underlying tissues, or those tissues lumping together for an uneven appearance. A compression garment exerts even pressure over the area, improving skin adhesion and healing.

These benefits are even more noteworthy for patients with a history of irregular scarring, healing complications, or other risks that may threaten their final results. By wearing your compression garment as directed, along with the rest of your doctor’s post-surgical instructions, you can enjoy a relatively easy and safe recovery.

Call Our Office

If you have any questions or concerns about an upcoming or recent body contouring procedure, contact our office today. We will gladly help you at every step of the way. Call or email us to speak with one of our plastic surgery professionals or schedule an appointment.

Posted on August 19, 2014 By , in , ,

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