6 Common Questions and Answers About Compression Garments After Surgery

By: Dr. Nicholas K. Howland


Wearing a compression garment after your surgery is one of the best ways to ensure you get the results you want. It can be difficult to understand the how and why, however, when your plastic surgeon recommends it. Although Dr. Howland can answer your questions ahead of your surgical procedure, it can be helpful to know what to expect. Here’s what to know about compression garments and how they can help.

How tight should compression garments be?

The purpose of a compression garment is to support the surgical site, the incisions, and the affected skin. If your compression garment is too tight, it will affect circulation and hinder healing. A compression garment should only exert gentle, supportive pressure, so it should lay flat and smooth on the skin. As a general rule, the correct tightness for your compression garment leaves space to slide a hand under without difficulty.

What if compression garments cause pain?

Post-surgery garments should support without causing pain. If your compression garment causes discomfort, make sure to meet with your plastic surgeon promptly. Poor-quality support garments are more likely to be ill-fitting or made from cheaper materials, causing problems. Your plastic surgeon can make sure you’re properly fitted for a quality compression garment that fits your needs.

Should I wear my compression garment throughout recovery?

Dr. Howland recommends wearing compression garments as much as possible for the first 2 weeks after surgery. After this time, you may begin to wear the garment for half-day only, and this is recommended for 4 weeks. There are typically two stages of compression garments. The first stage is provided for you with your cost of surgery and placed in the operating room or at your follow-up visit. This usually has zippers and snaps and is easy to get in and out of during the first 2 weeks of recovery. After drains have been removed and your body is better healed, you will be asked to transition to a second-stage garment (sometimes called a “faja”) for 4 weeks. These garments have less seams and areas that can cause asymmetry in your skin. They are also more difficult to get in and out of but will better shape your body and final results.

Do I have to wear a compression garment?

Yes. Wearing a compression garment is the best way to ensure you get your intended results and also prevent critical complications like fluid buildup or inflammation. You’ll be able to take off your compression garment for short periods of time like while bathing, but you should wear it according to Dr. Howland’s instructions. If you dislike your compression garment because it’s ill-fitting or causes discomfort, make sure to see Dr. Howland as soon as possible.

Do I wear my compression garment while sleeping?

For the first 2 weeks, you should absolutely wear the garment while sleeping. After this, Dr. Howland will allow you to wear the garment either during the day or at night. Most patients actually prefer sleeping in their compression garments since it can be comforting.

How long should I wear my compression garment after surgery?

Dr. Howland’s recommendation for most patients is 6 weeks: 2 weeks “around the clock” and then 4 weeks for half the day.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Nicholas Howland offers some of the best body contouring procedures in the Salt Lake City area and can discuss the right recovery steps for you. To learn more, we invite you to contact our office by calling or filling out our online form.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.