Liposuction is often a cosmetic procedure designed to improve your physical appearance, not an emergency or necessary procedure. It is, however, important to remember that liposuction is still surgery. So if your doctor recommends wearing a compression garment after surgery, how long should you wear it?
What Compression Garments Do
Your doctor will recommend you wear a compression garment following liposuction. After the surgery is complete, trace amounts of blood-tinged anesthetic will remain beneath your skin. Compression garments force your body to absorb this solution into the bloodstream so that it can be expelled from your system without causing infection or damage. Wearing the compression garment also increases blood circulation through the healing areas, minimizes post-surgery swelling, force harmful fluids from your body and significantly speeds up the healing process. The garment provides support to the healing portion of your body and fits your skin into its new contours as your body adjusts to the change in shape.
How Long You Will Wear One
Depending on how invasive your procedure was, and your doctor's advice, you may only need to wear a compression garment for the first stage of recovery. Stage one is generally the first two weeks after surgery. You may, however, need to wear one until the end of the second stage of recovery. Stage two of recovery can last anywhere from two to eight weeks. If your doctor asks you to wear a compression garment for both stages of recovery, you may need to obtain both a stage one garment and a stage two garment. You will have to wear the garment night and day for as long as your doctor recommends.
If your doctor decides to perform an open-drainage surgery, you may not need to wear the compression garment for the same length of time. In the open-drainage technique, the tiny incisions that your doctor made to perform the liposuction are not stitched closed as they normally would be. This way, when a proper compression garment is applied after surgery, most of the blood-tinged anesthetic that lies just beneath your skin is forced out within the first 24 hours after surgery. If your doctor decides that open-drainage surgery is the best choice, then you may only have to wear a compression garment for three to six days.
You can buy non-medical compression garments at a local store. You may be tempted to wear one of these rather than the compression garment your doctor recommends. Be aware that choosing the right garment will have a big impact on how quickly you heal. Non-medical garments can prolong healing time, worsen swelling in affected areas, or even increase physical discomfort. Non-medical garments are not meant to be worn for long periods of time. The shape can become warped or the garment can lose its elasticity. If that happens, you will lose the compression effect that is necessary for your body to heal faster.
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