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Why do you need to wear a compression garment after surgery?

Patients are required to wear a compression garment following cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, breast lift, and liposuction. Usually, the surgeon provides this garment once the procedure has been completed. In some cases, you may be asked to purchase a replacement in an ordinary drugstore. Many people are not sure why this is necessary. Even as you adhere to your plastic surgeon’s aftercare instructions, it is important that you understand what role this garment plays in the recovery process. 

Keep the surgical area intact

The treatment area should be protected from interference in order to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted recovery. This is where the recovery garment comes in. It keeps tissues that have been affected by the surgery relaxed and firmly in place. For instance, in the case of a patient who had breast enlargement surgery, the garment helps keep implants in the desired position in order to prevent malposition and other complications during the recovery process. 

Minimize swelling 

Swelling is a common side effect of surgery. This happens as the body produces excess fluid to try and balance the imbalance brought about by the surgery. If not addressed, build-up of fluid can slow down healing and cause discomfort. The compression garment applies pressure on the treatment areas to keep fluid from accumulating. Any excess fluid that is produced is thus reabsorbed by the body. 

Minimize bruising

Bruising is another common side effect of surgery. This happens due to trauma caused by the surgery on blood vessels. Blood leaking from ruptured blood vessels into surrounding tissues leads to discoloration of the skin. Applying a compression garment to the treatment areas can help balance pressure and curb bleeding. This in turn prevents blood from getting to the skin’s surface and causing ugly bruises. 

Shape the results of the surgery 

Cosmetic surgery is often used to recontour various parts of the body in order to achieve better balance and proportionality. Applying pressure via a compression garment can help the body maintain its post-surgery shape and even reduce the likelihood of skin imperfections such as wrinkles early on during recovery. The idea is to shape a smoother, tighter, and more attractive appearance right from the word go. 

Improve posture 

Compression garments provide tightness and stability in the treatment area. This keeps the treatment area intact and helps maintain mobility and proper posture throughout the recovery duration. This prevents issues with maintaining a proper gait later on after you are fully recovered. 

Improve scarring 

Scarring is inevitable following cosmetic surgery. The size and nature of scarring are typically determined by factors such as the incision type, patient’s race, genetics, and skin’s healing ability. Depending on the location of the incisions, applying compression bandaging can help flatten, soften, and slowly help minimize the appearance of scarring

Reduce pain 

Pain is another common side effect of surgery. Your plastic surgeon should provide pain relievers to alleviate the discomfort, along with antibiotics to prevent an infection. You may also find that putting on a compression garment that applies continuous pressure on the treatment areas and prevents fluid buildup greatly helps improve your comfort level. 


How long you put on a compression garment will depend on the type of procedure you had, and the scope of your treatment. The important thing is that you follow the surgeon’s instructions to the letter. More so, make sure that the garment is not so tight that it causes discomfort, or so loose that it doesn’t help at all.