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How Long Should I Wear Compression Garments After Tummy Tuck Surgery?

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Choosing to get tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, is a significant decision that can be life-changing both in terms of a patient's physical appearance and their self-confidence. However, the journey to an optimal tummy tuck outcome doesn't end when the surgery is over. Adhering to a proper postoperative care routine, including the use of compression garments, plays a critical role in ensuring a smooth recovery, comfortable healing, and a beautiful final result. Here, Dallas, TX board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Phillip Dauwe and the knowledgeable team at Phillip Dauwe, M.D. Plastic Surgery answer common tummy tuck recovery FAQs, including why you'll need to wear a compression garment and for how long.

What happens during tummy tuck surgery?

Before discussing the importance of compression garments, patients should have a firm understanding of what happens during a tummy tuck procedure. While each surgery is customized to some degree based on the patient's individual anatomy, goals, and more, a tummy tuck generally involves removing excess skin and fat from the abdominal area and tightening the underlying muscles to create a firmer and more toned midsection. The tummy tuck is particularly popular among patients who have experienced significant weight loss, pregnancy, or aging, and are left with loose, sagging skin and weakened abdominal muscles.

During the surgery, Dr. Dauwe places a horizontal incision strategically on the lower abdomen to minimize visible scarring, and excess skin and fat are carefully excised. The abdominal muscles are then tightened and sutured into place, resulting in a flatter and more contoured abdomen. Depending on the amount of excess skin and fat you need to have removed, whether or not you have diastasis recti (separated ab muscles), and other individual case details, Dr. Dauwe may recommend one of the following types of tummy tucks:

  • Full tummy tuck
  • Mini tummy tuck
  • No-drain tummy tuck (drainless tummy tuck)

Why will I need an abdominal binder after tummy tuck surgery?

Compression garments are an essential component of postoperative care following tummy tuck surgery. These specially designed garments provide gentle — yet firm — pressure to the treated area as the tissue heals and settles. Three of the primary benefits of compression garments after tummy tuck surgery include:

1. Minimizing swelling

After surgery, the body naturally responds by swelling as part of the healing process. Compression garments help reduce this swelling by providing consistent pressure, which prevents fluid buildup in the treated area and encourages the body to reabsorb excess fluids more efficiently.

2. Supporting healing

Compression garments offer support to the surgical site, helping to hold the tissues in place as they heal. This support can reduce discomfort and promote proper incision healing, ultimately leading to a smoother and more comfortable recovery process.

3. Improving blood circulation

Proper blood circulation is essential for delivering oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, aiding in the healing process. Compression garments help improve blood flow by gently compressing the blood vessels, preventing blood from pooling in the surgical area and promoting faster healing.

How long do you have to wear a binder after tummy tuck surgery?

The duration and frequency of wearing compression garments after tummy tuck surgery can vary depending on individual factors, such as the extent of the procedure and, how well the patient responds to treatment, and others. In general, however, patients are often advised to wear compression garments continuously for the first few weeks following surgery. Once cleared by Dr. Dauwe, patients may begin gradually transitioning to wearing their compression garment for shorter periods — and potentially only while sleeping — as swelling subsides and healing progresses.

When will I be considered recovered after a tummy tuck?

Tummy tuck recovery will vary from patient to patient. On average, most tummy tuck patients can return to light daily activities — like desk work, light household chores, and self-care routines — after about 2 – 3 weeks. Returning to an in-office job may take a full 2 – 3 weeks, and strenuous physical activity and exercise can be off-limits for several additional weeks. It is important to follow Dr. Dauwe's tummy tuck aftercare guidelines closely to ensure the most efficient recovery and beautiful, long-lasting tummy tuck result possible.

Wearing your compression garment as directed is key to achieving your ideal Dallas, TX tummy tuck results

Patients considering tummy tuck surgery should have realistic expectations for what to expect after surgery and understand that the procedure is fairly extensive, requiring specific postoperative care measures like the use of compression garments. Still, the life-changing results typically far outweigh these temporary inconveniences. To learn more about transforming your figure and boosting your confidence with tummy tuck surgery in Dallas, TX, call Phillip Dauwe, M.D. Plastic Surgery to schedule your private consultation with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Phillip Dauwe today.

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