Why Wear a Compression Garment after Body Contouring Surgery?
By Constance M. Barone, M.D. on October 05, 2014
When undergoing body contouring procedures such as liposuction or a tummy tuck, there are multiple factors that affect the ultimate results of treatment. Along with factors such as the technique used, surgical skill, and patient body type, the ensuing recovery period is an integral part of the body contouring process. In fact, a patient’s recovery can leave lasting cosmetic effects on the area of treatment, for better or worse. It is therefore in every patient’s best interest to take the right steps toward a healthy and fast recovery.
A commonly recommended practice during post-operative healing is the use of an elastic compression garment, which is worn around the area of treatment for a given time. By using this garment as directed, patients may gain a number of medical and cosmetic benefits. To truly stress the importance of a compression garment and its advantages, our San Antonio plastic surgery center offers the following details.
How Does a Compression Garment Work?
A compression garment is essentially an elastic piece of clothing that is worn around the body, under one’s normal clothing, after surgery. Depending on the area of surgery, the garment can take many different forms. For smaller areas of liposuction, it may only be a sleeve or a band. For breast augmentation, the garment will likely take the form of a bra, not unlike a sports bra. Larger areas of surgery, such as with body lifts, require more complete garments that cover the chest, stomach, or lower body. By applying continual compression around the area, the garment promotes healing, lowers the risk of certain complications, and helps patients enjoy an easier overall recovery.
Medical Benefits of Compression
Compression garments help patients avoid various risks and complications after surgery. First, the garment holds underlying bandages in place and keeps outside bacteria from coming in contact with damaged tissues, thus limiting the chance for infection. This immediately minimizes one of the top concerns for surgery by helping patients keep their incisions as clean as possible.
Additionally, compression promotes circulation and even blood flow in the area, which is essential for proper healing. In turn, patients benefit from:
- Reduced side effects: Bruising and swelling are common side effects of surgery. With a compression garment, blood and fluid can be circulated from the area sooner, reducing the severity and longevity of these effects.
- Reduced risk of blood clots: With facilitated circulation, patients are less likely to form a blood clot in the area. This is doubly true when patients also remember to occasionally get up and walk around a bit (though not strenuously) in the early stages of recovery.
- Reduced discomfort: Patients often cite their compression garments’ ability to relieve some pain and soreness. By keeping the damaged tissues in place, it helps patients move around more easily and comfortably.
With body contouring surgery, there is always some risk of cosmetic irregularities occurring during the healing process. Even when the surgery is successful in achieving the desired changes, it is possible for skin or underlying fat to heal unevenly. This is commonly known a skin dimpling, and appears similar to the effects of cellulite. Although subtle instances of dimpling are a minor concern when compared to the more dramatic improvements of liposuction and similar treatments, patients should still take any possible measures to prevent it. Compression garments are one such way to further prevent dimpling, as they help distribute fat evenly and keep the skin pressed firmly over it.
Furthermore, compression garments can potentially decrease the overall recovery period. By hastening the dissolution of side effects, encouraging circulation, and limiting the chance for complications, patients can experience a quicker recovery, allowing them to enjoy the full benefits of treatment sooner.
Enjoy an Easy Recovery
All patients should expect some degree of recovery time after body contouring surgery, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unduly long or complex. By consulting an experienced surgeon, you can learn the best way to prepare for your surgery and subsequent healing. Contact us to speak with Dr. Barone about your prospective cosmetic treatment.
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