Before we can begin a discussion about the function of compression garments, we need to provide a brief overview of what a tummy tuck is. This procedure simply entails removing the excess skin, whether due to previous pregnancies, extreme weight loss, or aging, while tightening up the abdominal wall muscles. Oftentimes, this procedure will incorporate other plastic surgery processes, such as liposuction or even a facelift or butt lift.
Due to the popularity of abdominoplasty, there are three main types. First is the traditional tummy tuck, where the patient’s excess skin is removed, from the rib cage to where the incisions are made. This is the type of procedure most of us think of when we think of a tummy tuck. The second type of abdominoplasty is the mini tummy tuck, which is oftentimes advertised (mistakenly so) as a scarless tummy tuck. During this surgery, only the area between the belly button and the incisions is operated on. It is mistakenly called a scarless surgery because you will still end up with a scar. However, your tummy tuck surgeon should be able to hide the incision in your bikini line, so it appears as if you don’t have a scar. The last kind of abdominoplasty, an extended tummy tuck, is where the plastic surgeon performs a traditional tummy tuck, as well as operates on the lower back portion of the patient. In addition, the surgeon will also operate on the patient’s flanks. An ideal candidate for this surgery would be someone who will still have excess skin on their flanks and lower back areas after a traditional abdominoplasty.
After the tummy tuck, your doctor will prescribe medication to aid in alleviating any discomfort and pain. As a side note, you should stop taking anti-inflammatory medications, herbal supplements, and aspirin before this cosmetic surgery procedure. These items have been found to increase bleeding. Therefore, you will want to stop taking these items as they can contribute to operative and post-operative complications. For the inevitable swelling and bruising that arises after the procedure, you will have to wear a compression garment.
Compression garments, sometimes also called an abdominal binder, among other names, are a vital part of the abdominoplasty recovery process. A compression garment is designed (and tested) to provide an unsurpassed level of comfort while also providing much needed support to your surgical areas. A compression garment supports your tummy tuck recovery by applying pressure to your swollen areas, resulting in decreased bouncing and jiggling. Another result of using these garments is that they improve blood circulation while also speeding up the tummy tuck recovery process. Furthermore, these garments are used to help your skin conform to its new contours, while helping the body rid itself of toxic fluids.
An important thing to note about a compression garment is that it is a medical implement. This is important because many people (usually men) will try to find a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately, this cheaper alternative is usually not a medical-grade quality compression garment. While you may not initially see the big deal with buying a non-medical grade quality compression garment, this compression garment can very easily delay your recovery process, or worse, actually making the swelling, bruising, and discomfort worse. This is due to numerous reasons. First, these items are designed for long term wear (for up to eight weeks), so non medical grade garments have a tendency to lose their ability to provide compression. Also, even though an item may seem like it provides compression in the right areas, only a medical compression garment can apply the correct amount of pressure to the right surgical areas since non medical grade compression garments aren’t designed for specific medical procedures.
As further incentive for using the proper medical garment, the longer your tummy tuck recovery process, the more noticeable your scars will be. While a compression garment can not prevent scars or eliminate scars, your post-operative surgical results will be dramatically better if your use an approved medical grade garment than if you don’t.
The nice thing about a tummy tuck compression garment is that you can wear it under your clothes, so not one will be able to see it. The garments themselves are usually white, so they blend right in with your normal clothing items. As a side note, you should not wear compression garments while your sleep. If for some reason the garments slip, it could impede blood circulation.
You may be surprise to learn that different compression garments exist for a traditional tummy tuck than a mini tummy tuck. Also, tummy tuck compression garments are designed different for each gender. As you can imagine, a female compression garment will be much more supportive than a male garment. Additionally, there are compression garments for numerous plastic surgery procedures, from liposuction to face and neck surgeries.
People often want to know what the compression garment feels like when you wear it. A great analogy is that it is very similar to a body suit that provides a slimming effect. For those of you who wear Spanx, you will know exactly what we are talking about.
As for the actual design, a tummy tuck compression garment usually has a zipper that permits you to easily slip in and out of the garment. Whether the zipper is in the front or the side depends on the garment’s manufacturer. Also, besides zippers, manufacturers use different fastening mechanisms such as ties or Velcro.
Besides the compression garment that surrounds your abdomen, your abdominoplasty surgeon may also want you to wear compression leg stockings. This type of compression garment is designed to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs.
Many people want to know how long they will have to wear their compression garment. The answer depends on your surgeon. Usually, you will be in a compression garment from the first week of the tummy tuck recovery to around the eighth week.
Many people also choose to buy two compression garments. This is primarily for hygienic reasons. Since you must wash your garments, if you have two of them, you can always wear one while washing the other one. When it comes to washing your garments, they need to be hand laundered according to the manufacturer’s directions. Failure to do so may decrease the durability of the garments.
Fortunately, there are numerous compression garment companies that provide extremely high quality garments. Examples of these companies are Design Veronique and ProMed products. Before deciding on which compression garment to purchase, you should review several Internet websites to find a garment which will satisfy your preferences. In addition to reviewing different websites, it is important to consult your abdominoplasty surgeon as to which compression garment will work best for your situation.