When you undergo any plastic surgery, such as breast surgery, the recovery period is as important as the operation itself, if not more important. Following the surgery, your surgeon will be giving you instructions about aftercare for the following weeks, which includes the proper compression garments you need to use. Compression garments that are used for breast surgery recovery are different from your standard bra or sports bra.
To emphasize the importance of using compression garments during your recovery, here is a guide on everything you need to know about them.
What Are Compression Garments?
Compression garments are specialized post-op apparel that places a comfortable amount of pressure on the surgical site to aid in healing from cosmetic or reconstructive surgery. It is available for nearly every part of the body in a variety of styles and sizes. Of course, the garment will vary depending on your procedure. Some procedures require garments with openings, allowing you to go to the bathroom without taking the clothing completely off. For breast augmentation, a surgical compression bra- similar to a high-impact sports bra without underwire- is required after surgery.
However, just like mentioned earlier, compression garments are different from the usual Spanx or undergarments you would see anywhere. Though they have similarities, surgical compression garments are specifically made to facilitate healing and enhance the results of your surgery. It is typically made from durable, synthetic fabrics such as nylon and lycra.
More high-quality compression garments are made from antimicrobial, breathable fabric, improving the comfort level, and preventing skin infection. Regardless of material, these post-op garments have a three-dimensional stretch to support the surgical site and help the subcutaneous fluid (or swelling) to be reabsorbed by your body.
Why Are Compression Garments Needed After Surgery?
In all honesty, post-op compression garments aren’t the most flattering apparel in the world. However, it is an essential part of your recovery. By making the sacrifice of wearing them this period, you will achieve the best results from your surgery. How does compression garments do that exactly?
First, these garments help to reduce excessive swelling and bruising in the surgical site. The constant, firm pressure applied to the specific area of your body helps to avoid extra fluid from building up; at the same time, it assists the body to absorb the liquid that does accumulate. More importantly, compression garments reduce the risk of blood clot formation, which may put your health at risk.
With that said, once you use the recommended garment after surgery, your recovery period will be over in no time. The less swelling you experience, the less time you need to recover. If you decide not to wear compression garments, the more likely you will undergo post-op swelling as there is no physical pressure that will help your body to reabsorb the accumulated fluid.
Finally, wearing compression garments factor in the overall look, achieving the best results. It aids your skin to get used to its new contours. In the case of breast augmentation surgery, it allows the breast implants to settle into place properly. Also, it prevents a wrinkled appearance to the skin of the surgical site.
How Would You Know That Compression Garments Fit Perfectly?
The fit of the garment should snug your body but not too tight that it restricts your breathing and movement. Your surgeon will fit you for the garments after surgery, providing you optimal compression while still keeping you comfortable.
The compression garment should cover below the lowest point of the surgical site to above the highest point of it. Also, make sure it is smooth and not too tight to avoid any indentation to the final result. It helps to wear the garment over a t-shirt and pin it in place to prevent slipping.
As you continue to recover, it is normal for the garments to become loose as the swelling goes down.
How Long Should Compression Garments Be Worn?
Discuss with your surgeon on how long you will need to use the recommended compression garment. For breast augmentation patients (or other breast surgery like lift, reduction, or implant revision), you need to wear a compression bra for at least the first two weeks after your surgery. It is okay to take it off to bathe or wash it, though remember that the more you wear compression early on your recovery, the more effective it will be in aiding the healing process. Also, you may want to wear a bra undergarment at night for the first three weeks post-surgery to promote healing and protect your scars as you sleep.
After a couple of weeks, with the approval of your surgeon, you may replace the compression garment with a soft, no-underwire bra. It is the best time to switch undergarments because any drains or pain pumps you sent home with are most likely already removed. Avoid underwire bras for six months following your breast surgery to reduce discomfort and allow the nerves and blood vessels to re-establish. However, if you experience pain with the new garment, then go back to wearing the original one.
It may be inconvenient to wear a compression garment for that long. However, Committing to wearing a high-quality compression garment will be a huge factor in a safe recovery. Once you notice the fantastic results, you will realize that it was all worth the trouble.