How to Choose the Right Compression Garment

Compression garments are important after any liposuction procedure. Wearing compression garments after liposuction  is one of the most important things you can do to ensure proper recovery. Doctors have found that patients who comply with recommendations to wear compression garments following lipo have better results and are happier with the outcome over patients who do not wear them.

Why Do Compression Garments Help?

Liposuction removes subcutaneous fat, which is located in between the skin and muscle. When it is removed, the layer of skin does not immediately adhere to the muscle underneath; rather, fluid accumulates in the space previously filled with fat. A compression garment applies pressure to these areas so this fluid disperses rather than builds up.
Wearing compression garments is not just beneficial for your aesthetic results; they also lessen certain post-procedural risks associated with liposuction. Complying with doctor recommendations of wearing your garments after liposuction can:

  • reduce fluid build up and swelling.
  • increase circulation.
  • aid in skin healing.
  • keep stitches and dressings in place.

What Do I Look For?

A quality compression garment will provide consistent and constant pressure from all angles and provide support to the entire surgical region without compromising patient comfort. When you are getting yours, make sure you keep certain things in mind.


The fit is extremely important. This is a medical garment with a specific function – compression. The fit needs to be just right in order to facilitate proper healing. A garment with an inconsistent fit increases the possibility of fluid retention under the dermal layer.

The garment worn immediately following lipo will be tighter out of necessity. It should feel snug but not constricting and fit tighter than regular athletic wear. The overall fit of the garment should provide constant compression tailored to the specific surgical area, and it is normal for the garment to stress when worn.

Excessive compression may cut off circulation to the surgical site. If your extremities go numb or tingle, or if you have trouble breathing, then the compression garment is too tight.

A poorly fitting garment may cause an increased risk of:

  • seromas
  • lyphedema
  • lumpy or uneven skin composition
  • exaggerated or red scars
  • necrosis (tissue death)


A compression garment should be shaped to facilitate an ideal figure. Most patients undergo liposuction to create the hourglass or V-shaped figure, in which case, the garment should be structured to promote this shape.


The compression garment will be worn for up to 23 hours a day (being removed only for bathing and washing), which means it need to be comfortable. No compression garment will feel like wearing sweats, but it should be reasonably comfortable while still applying enough pressure to encourage fluid dispersement. Try on the compression garment before the surgery – it is much better to try out multiple sizes and styles before the liposuction procedure.

Accurate Pressure

A quality compression garment will apply constant and consistent pressure specific to the physiology of the surgical region. Panels within the garment help regulate the pressure. Companies specializing in post surgical garments use computer aided patten development that calculates the force exerted on the body. It is important, therefore, to get a garment from a company that specializes in post surgical liposuction garments. Shape wear or a normal undergarment isn’t sufficient for healing after liposuction.

Quality Fabric

Post-surgical compression garments should be made from fabric that is breathable, durable and anti-microbial. The fabric needs to apply pressure to the body in all directions and maintain it’s shape. Spandex and nylon are ideal fabrics. Natural fibers like cotton should be avoided along with fabrics that illicit allergic reactions like latex and rubber.

The fabric should keep moisture away from the skin to prevent irritation. And any lace trim should be lined with silicone to hold it in place.


Garments used following abdominal liposuction or other upper body lipo should have adjustable, removable shoulder straps. The treated areas will fluctuate in size as fluids are dispersed, so the ability to adjust the fit is important. This ensures the correct amount of pressure is delivered throughout the healing process.


Garments used after lipo on the lower portion of the body (i.e. thighs, hips, butt, etc.) must have a good waistband. Ideally, the waistband should be at least two inches wide to stabilize the garment position. A properly constructed waistband will prevent rolling and sliding up or down when putting clothes on over the garment.


The seam needs to stand up to high stress, otherwise the function of the garment will be compromised. A flat-lock stitch seam is ideal for compression garments because it provides a durable bond. Additionally, a flat-lock seam eliminates skin tissue marking, irritation and itching. The seams should never sit on an incision site where it could irritate the incision causing an infection. A flat-lock seam sits flat, thus making the seams undetectable under clothing.


All zippers and closures on the garment should be easy to reach and maneuver. Zippers should lie flat against the skin to eliminate the potential for irritation. Zippers reinforced with hook and eye closure make it easier to put the garment on and help the patient avoid catching their skin in the zipper. Garments that have a soft fabric (cotton is acceptable in this part of the garment) between the closures and the skin offer an added level of comfort. The garment will be tight and worn constantly, so the closures need to be designed to keep contact with the skin to a minimum.


Compression garments come in a variety of styles to fit the various body types. Visit a manufactures website to browse the different styles available. Also, consider what will offer the most comfort. Browse manufacturers’ online catalogs or product finders, to view a variety of styles tailored to the specific area of the body treated with liposuction.

Compression garments aid in the recovery after liposuction. Diet, exercise and lifestyle changes also increase your chances of getting the best results. Get tips for your diet after liposuction.

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