The Complete Guide to Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery

By: Dr. Nicholas K. Howland


Here’s what to know about wearing compression garments and what you can expect from Dr. Howland.

Should compression garments be worn 24/7?

Plastic surgeons recommend wearing a compression garment day and night except when bathing for the first 2 weeks after surgery. This period might vary depending on the procedure and extent of your surgery. After 3-6 weeks, you might be instructed to switch to wearing it for half the day. Some plastic surgeons may recommend still wearing it full time, but it depends on the pace of your recovery and the extent of it.

How long should I wear a compression garment?

Dr. Howland recommends that patients wear them for 6 weeks: 2 weeks “around the clock” and then 4 weeks for half the day.

How tight should compression garments be?

A compression garment should support the body with gentle (but not excessive) pressure. It should flatly lay smooth on the skin, not bunched-up or bulky. However, compression garments should be comfortable and any tightness should not hinder circulation or cause fluid buildup. Well-fitting compression garments allow a hand to slide under without strain and do not make limbs “fall asleep” by cutting off blood flow.

Are compression garments suitable for bedtime?

Dr, Howland recommendation is to wear them for the first 2 weeks while sleeping. After the first two weeks, you can determine whether you prefer to wear them at night or during the day.

What’s the best way to conceal compression garments?

Once you return to the public after your recovery, it’s normal to feel self-conscious about people noticing your compression garment. Here are just a few ways to conceal it:

  • Wear a compression garment in a nude shade
  • Accessorize with outerwear
  • Wear clothing with thicker fabric
  • Layer on outer clothing
  • Wearing loose but comfortable outfits

Is it safe to take a break from wearing compression garments?

Compression garments should be on your body much as possible in the first weeks, but it is safe to remove them for a short time (like during bathing). A few minutes of relief is good, but make sure to wear soft and loose clothing that will not disturb your incisions. Strenuous activities or lifting something weighing more than 5 lbs should be avoided without wearing your compression garment.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Nicholas Howland is a Salt Lake City board-certified plastic surgeon who can help you achieve your ideal results with the procedure that fits you best. To learn more about your options and what you can expect from your surgical recovery, we invite you to contact Howland Plastic Surgery 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.