Post-Op Support Garments—What You Need to Know

Q: I am having a cosmetic surgery procedure next month. When my best friend had a similar procedure, she had to wear a compression-style type of garment and it didn’t sound very comfortable. I am in good shape and am very healthy. Do I really have to wear one?

A: Without knowing the type of procedure you are scheduled to have, we can’t answer for certain. However, for many common procedures, chances are good that you will need to wear one for at least a few days to a few weeks.

While the term “support garment” sounds unsexy and possibly “un-fun,” most of our patients are satisfied with their experience wearing one. That’s because these compression garments help to promote and speed healing and discourage swelling and fluid accumulation.

Wearing a support garment is actually far more comfortable than the side effects you’d experience if you didn’t wear one as directed. Swollen, tight, creased skin with fluid build-up is the opposite of comfortable, and can actually be miserable. Additionally many patients appreciate the extra layer of support these garments provide.

And, after you’ve had a cosmetic surgery, you’re ready to see your beautiful new results as soon as possible. Wearing your support garment as directed helps you progress more smoothly and swiftly toward seeing the full effects of your surgical procedure. And that’s always a good thing!

Keep reading for descriptions of the support garments used after some of our most popular procedures.

Compression Bra. We do many breast surgeries at Southern Surgical Arts every year, so this support garment is a staple. With three-row adjustable hook and eye shoulder straps, a three-row hook and eye front opening, and a one inch elastic band, this bra provides outstanding support and compression for those healing from augmentation, implant exchange, mastopexy, and implant removal procedures. How long you’ll have to wear one depends on your condition, type of procedure, and surgeon preference.

Face Wrap. When you’ve had a facial procedure such as a full face lift, you want to heal as swiftly and smoothly as you can, with as little visible swelling and bruising as possible. Wearing a facial wrap constructed from soft elastic with adjustable closures will provide excellent support of the face, neck, and jowl areas and limit swelling. Your surgeon will typically require you to wear a face wrap for 24 hours a day for the first week, and then nightly for a prescribed number of days.

Male Vest. This compression garment is designed to support male patients after liposuction, abdominoplasty, panniculectomy, and gynecomastia. Patients usually find this sleeveless vest with adjustable Velcro shoulder straps, a padded zipper front closure, and a wide elastic band at the bottom to keep it from rolling up to be comfortable as well as supportive. Our surgeons will typically have you wear it for one week, after which you may switch to a tight compression exercise top.

Body Garments. Body garments are an integral part of healing from procedures on the abdomen. They come in 2 stages, with Stage 1 above-the-knee garments featuring adjusting shoulder straps and padded zippers, with legs extending to just above the knee. These garments have accessible crotch opening to make bathroom visits quick and convenient. If you have had liposuction, liposuction-assisted abdominoplasty, or a panniculectomy, you may have to wear a Stage 1 garment for about a week post-op.

Stage 2 garments are zipperless girdles with slide-adjustable shoulder straps, leg coverage to just above the knee and an accessible crotch opening. Patients should wear their stage 2 garments for two weeks to four months to ensure smooth healing and to reduce the chances of developing abdominal creasing, which can be permanent. Your surgeon will advise you how long you need to wear your stage 2 garment for the best outcome.

The items listed above are just a few of the important supportive garments that play an important role in your healing and health following a surgical cosmetic procedure. If you’d like to learn more about supportive garments or cosmetic procedures in general, please call Southern Surgical Arts at 423-266-3331 to set up a free consultation. Dr. Carey Nease, Dr. Chad Deal, and Dr. Vincent Gardner will be happy to discuss your options with you, and address any questions you might have.

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