What is Post-Tummy Tuck Wear?
The surgery is actually just the beginning of your tummy tuck journey. Now comes the recovery—weeks and months of helping your body heal, and becoming accustomed to the new you. The good news is, you don't have to go through that recovery alone.
Before your surgery, we'll discuss with you the post-tummy tuck wear you'll need to help reduce swelling, promote proper healing, and achieve optimal results. There's no point in going through a major surgery—and paying for it—and then not taking the necessary steps to ensure all that time and effort is worthwhile. Aside from aesthetic success, post-tummy tuck wear also helps keep you healthy.
Exactly as its name suggests, an abdominal binder is a type of compression garment that limits the swelling in your abdomen, and helps keep the tissues in place as you heal. Most importantly, it helps reduce the likelihood of developing a seroma—fluid buildup under the surface of your skin.
It does this by reducing the tension between your skin and muscles, which will also shorten the amount of time you'll have to wear drainage tubes, another component of your post-tummy tuck wear.
You'll need to wear the abdominal binder for two to three weeks, but many of our patients continue to wear it a bit longer because of the comforting pressure it provides.
Your abdominal binder will also help:
- reduce pain.
- lower the risk of damaging your incision by supporting it when you cough, sneeze or laugh.
- support your back as well as your midsection.
Your abdominal binder should offer a snug fit, but not be too uncomfortably tight like a girdle, as you do not want to impede circulation, create any indentations in your skin, or irritate your incision site.
Check to make sure your binder lays flat against your skin, and that there are no areas of uneven pressure to prevent any lumps from developing during the healing process.
After a tummy tuck, fluid production is too great for your body to reabsorb. If this amount of fluid were to stay in your body, it could create a seroma, interfere with incision healing, or create an infected abscess. To avoid these complications and help the body heal properly we'll place Jackson-Pratt (JP) drains in your incision after surgery.
Named after the two doctors who invented it—Dr. Fredrick E. Jackson and Dr. Richard A. Pratt—the JP drain system comprises a soft bulb with a stopper, and a tube inserted into your incision, and kept in place with a suture.
The bulb must remain compressed at all times, except when you are emptying it of fluid. This compression creates a vacuum that allows for movement of the fluid from the incision site into the bulb. When fluid has filled the bulb halfway, you'll empty it, recording the amount of fluid, and the time at which emptying took place.
You'll also need to monitor the fluid's color. It should be pink, but never bright red. The bulb also should not refill right after you empty it. If either of these things occur, contact us immediately.
Before your surgery, our nursing staff will instruct you on proper care of your JP drain system, and answer any questions you may have. The drains will be removed five to ten days after your tummy tuck, provided all goes as it should.
Much like the abdominal binder, compression garments also help to alleviate swelling, and help your new tummy keep its shape as you heal. However, compression garments are usually worn for much longer than the binder, often up to six months after surgery.
A compression garment is exactly what it sounds like—a tightly woven article of clothing made of thick, elastic material that keeps pressure on a surgical site during recovery. This pressure helps reduce swelling, but also directs fluid away from the incision site to other areas of the body where it can be absorbed.
Compression garments will also:
- help the skin conform and adjust to your abdomen's new contours to reduce the appearance of sagging skin.
- reduce the risk of infection by holding bandages in place over your incision site.
- decrease the amount of bruising.
- provide a more flattering figure while you're healing.
Swelling may fluctuate for several months after your tummy tuck. After a time, and on the recommendation of your surgeon, you may be able to switch from a medical-grade compression garment to shapewear like Spanx.