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According to an investigation by The Huffington Post, the shapewear beloved by red carpet actresses and normal people going to adult proms is not good for you at all. Doctors warn that Spanx can cause tingling and numbness in the legs, which can lead to blood clots. Blood clots, as you may know, can kill you!

Spanx, founded by Sara Blakely, is the most popular brand of shapewear. There are many options now as far as cut and style go, but the main idea is that it’s skintight underwear that squishes in your stomach so it looks better in dresses.

In addition to giving you a blood clot, Spanx can “worsen acid reflux and heartburn” and “provoke erosive esophagitis,” according to Dr. John Kuemmerle. Dr. Maryann Mikhail warns that the super-tight granny panties can also cause yeast and bacterial infections. Oh, and Spanx can make you pee your pants and pass gas uncontrollably. What, may we ask, is the point of wearing shapewear to a fancy event if it’s going to make you lose control of your bowels?

Spanx aren’t the only body-squeezing clothing item to have serious side effects. As The Wall Street Journal reported in 2012, skinny jeans can cause back pain and “a rare condition called lipoatrophia semicircularis, in which horizontal lesions appear around the thighs.”

For many women, shapewear is a gift from the gods, smoothing out any frustrating lumps and bumps that peek out from unforgiving fabrics. (We’re talking to you, silk.) A trusty pair of Spanx can be a serious confidence-boosting wardrobe staple for some (if it’s not your cup of tea, that’s totally fine too), and celebrities swear by shapewear during awards season. But is there a price to pay when you’re sucked in by spandex? Some experts say yes.

Wearing shapewear that’s too tight can make it hard to breathe and even cause digestive problems like acid reflux.

Anyone who has ever worn shapewear for more than an hour knows it can be hard to take a deep breath, let alone eat even a normal-size meal. So it’s no surprise that overly tight shapewear—like, if you reach for a size small when a medium is what you really should be wearing—can cause a variety of problems. “It can lead to shortness of breath, if worn too snug, which decreases your oxygen supply, leading to lightheadedness and dizziness,” Mara Weinstein, M.D., a dermatologist with Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City, tells SELF.

In addition, excess pressure on your body brought on by too-tight shapewear can squeeze your abdomen, leading to abdominal pain, Ruby Greywoode, M.D., a fellow in gastroenterology at the Mount Sinai Hospital, tells SELF. It can also cause or worsen acid reflux and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). “ shapewear may compress the stomach and prevent its contents from passing properly, and instead it can back up into the esophagus,” explains Greywoode.

It can also cause some unwelcome skin issues.

Wearing shapewear, which often doesn’t allow skin to breathe, can also cause certain uncomfortable skin problems. “It can exacerbate a condition called intertrigo, which is rash due to yeast that forms in the skin folds—underneath the breasts and the groin area especially,” Weinstein explains. “Yeast loves to grow in warm, moist areas,” so a sweaty spot trapped under tight fabric is prime real estate. Good times.

But you don’t have to ditch your Spanx just yet. Just follow these few simple pieces of advice.

Weinstein says you can still wear your shapewear as long as you limit it to short periods of time. That means about eight hours max, which should get you through a night out. Take time off in between wears—that is, don’t wear it every day—and, please, don’t sleep in your shapewear either. “A rule of thumb is to make sure your shapewear is not too tight,” she says. “It’s advisable to go into the store to have a representative help you find the right size rather than ordering online, which can be risky.” If the fabric is rolling or causing bulges, it’s probably too small.

It’s also worth noting that shapewear’s less sexy cousin, compression hose, may actually be a better alternative for some women. Compression stockings, which, unlike most shapewear, go just from foot to hip, can improve circulation and even help minimize varicose veins and spider veins. Since they’re not constricting your midsection, there’s no risk of abdominal pain or shortness of breath. “Compression hose can act as shapewear for the hips and thighs and also serve a dual purpose by improving circulation back to the heart, which prevents the development of spider veins, for example, and can help minimize varicose veins if they are small,” points out Weinstein.​ Sounds like a win-win to us.

If you’re interested in buying shapewear, you should first read our list of the most common rookie mistakes so you can avoid making them too.

Contents

Could You Have ‘Spanx Syndrome’? The Body Shaper’s Hidden Health Hazards

FRIDAY, Mar. 9, 2012 — You’ve got to hand it to Sara Blakely: At age 41, the inventor of SPANX is the youngest woman to make Forbes Magazine’s 2012 list of world billionaires, and she did it all, as the magazine says, “without help from a husband or an inheritance.” Her body shapers have been worn by thousands of women of all shapes, ages, and sizes, from Academy Award-winner Octavia Spencer (who famously admitted wearing three at a time on the red carpet) to Miley Cyrus (who called them “a gift from God”) to…well, this writer. And let’s not forget SPANX for Men: Tom Hanks says he wore them to tone up his tush under some baggier skivvies while filming a scene in Larry Crowne. So it may be a bit Grinch-y to point out that these popular undergarments have some health hazards attached — but the fact is, they do.

It all started with a blog post from Orly Avitzur, MD, who wrote on the Consumer Reports site in March 2011 about a 15-year-old patient who was suffering from numbness and tingling in her left thigh. As it turned out, the girl, who played soccer on her high school team, was wearing SPANX under her uniform, causing a compressed nerve in her pelvis as well as stomach pain after meals. But she wasn’t the only SPANX devotee — the entire team was wearing them.

Spandex, the same material that allows SPANX to hold in your muffin top, may make you look sleeker. But its tightness can also squeeze the nerve that runs down the abdomen to below the hipbone, causing a disorder known as meralgia paresthetica. In an earlier post on Consumer Reports, Dr. Avitzer noted that more and more young women were coming into doctors’ offices with signs of the condition like leg pain and aching.

Other skin-tight clothing like skinny jeans or leggings can also cause meralgia paresthetica. A 2007 paper published in the journal Military Medicine reported on two cases in U.S. soldiers stationed in Iraq who were wearing protective body armor.

Pain isn’t the only health issue linked to SPANX. On an episode of his popular show, Dr. Mehmet Oz told an audience member who admitted to wearing spandex shapewear every day that their tightness makes it easy for bacteria to move from the anus to the vaginal area, causing urinary tract infections if they’re not washed often. He also advised not wearing shapewear after eating to avoid heartburn.

Most of these potential problems can be averted through good common sense. Like any tight clothing, SPANX shouldn’t be worn for days on end, and it’s a smart idea to wash them after each wearing to get rid of bacteria. Even meraglia paresthetica will go away on its own if you stop wearing tight clothing, although if there’s extensive damage to the nerve, it may take a while.

But no matter the health concerns, it’s a sure bet that most devotees, whether they’re celebrities or your next-door neighbors, wouldn’t give up their SPANX for the world.

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Does Wearing Shapewear Help Lose Weight?

July 31, 2017 Article

Losing weight in targeted areas can be quite difficult if eating healthy and exercising is not the thing for you. Shapewear is a garment on the market today that will help you smooth and slim down those problematic areas and look fabulous in any outfit. There are many different styles and kinds of shapewear, perfect to suit anyone’s needs. Shapewear helps to flatten targeted areas, but do the results actually last? This is a question that has been studied and examined for years. Many researchers have found that wearing shapewear can help someone to shed some extra weight.

Shapewear can help to shed some extra weight

What is Shapewear?

Shapewear is a type of garment that gives off compression to many areas of the body, helping to create a slimmer looking appearance. This means it can help to compress stomach fat, hip fat, thigh fat, arm fat etc. Shapewear is often worn under outfits and will help to give off a slimmer looking appearance from the outside. There are many styles of shapewear on the shelves today, some that is even quite fashionable. Some include spanx, corsets, compression tanks, slimming capris, tights, compression arms etc. Many famous celebrities own their own set of shapewear and are often seen on the red carpet; The Kardashian sisters wear shapewear under all of their outfits.

Shapewear and Weight Loss

This has been a controversial topic now for many years. Does shapewear actually help you to lose weight? There have been many studies looking into this question and they have found that these garments do in fact help you lose a few pounds and improve weight loss. Because of the tight compression fit, the garments are known to help someone lose weight by massaging an area and causing you to sweat. They believe that this helps to increase circulation and therefore improve weight loss. While these garments might help you shed a few pounds, they will not help you to lose major pounds. Eating healthy and exercising is a much safer and more effective way to lose weight.

Picking Shapewear

Many people believe that the tighter the better when it comes to choosing shapewear, this is not entirely true. For maximum results, shapewear should fit tightly but should not fit too tight where it starts to hurt. There are many breathable materials that help reduce sweating underneath and feel more comfortable. If you start feeling sick, dizzy, itchy, or experience loss of breath, then you should refrain from wearing the shapewear immediately. It probably is too tight. The perfect shapewear should help you get the appearance you are looking for while feeling very comfortable in your everyday tasks.

Categories: Mommy Talks, Plus Size, Shapewear

Should You Be Worried About Wearing Shapewear?

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From Jessica Alba and Kim Kardashian’s prominent endorsements of “waist-training” corsets to Meb Keflezighi’s memorable display of compression socks when he won the 2014 Boston Marathon, garments that squeeze and cinch are trendier than ever.

But whether you’re after the smoothing effects of Spanx, the supposed weight-loss benefits of a corset, or the believed performance payoffs of compression workout gear, you may want to listen up.

Doctors warn that there are “real health risks to wearing extra-tight clothing for prolonged periods,” according to a new LA Times report. The dangers of too-tight clothing range from meralgia paresthetica, a condition characterized by burning nerve pain in the thighs (most common in pregnant women and people who gain weight quickly), to gastroesophageal reflux disease-a chronic digestive disease caused by pressure on internal organs which pushes acid backwards from the stomach into the esophagus. Other serious health issues like blood clots, back pain, and difficulty breathing are also a possibility. (Be sure to check out more dangers of wearing a corset for weight loss.)

Oh, and to up the ick factor, since women are more likely to avoid the bathroom while donning spandex, there’s also an increased risk for urinary tract infections, as well as an increased risk of yeast infections and skin irritation which can occur from sweating in tight compression gear.

But doctors aren’t saying you need to ditch your favorite compression gear and shapewear all together. The same doctors from the LA Times said most of these problems go away quickly when clothing pressure is off, so there’s no harm in wearing compression garments for short periods of time if they give you a perceived boost. And, hey, if elite athletes like Meb swear by them there must be some payoff, right?!

Well, studies are mixed when it comes to speed, but research suggests that runners who wear compression gear do experience reduced muscle soreness, as well as lower levels of blood lactate (a measure of lactic acid and exercise intensity), which could translate to a speedier recovery. Even if the research is still inconclusive, there’s certainly anecdotal evidence. “They increase blood flow, which speeds the rate at which you can rid your body of waste products,” said Tom Holland, a Connecticut-based exercise physiologist and triathlete who regularly wears compression garments.

So, go ahead, wear your favorite spandex or compression workout gear, just be sure to remove immediately post-workout so you don’t fall victim to any of these rather unpleasant side effects. And for your own good, just stay away from waist training corsets!

  • By Kylie Gilbert @KylieMGilbert

Liposuction: Info, Prices, Photos, Reviews, Q&A

Spanx are a great compression garment but mostly used as a 2nd stage garment. I would recommend using the garment recommended by your surgeon in the immediate post-operative phase and then switch to the Spanx at post-op week 2 or 3 with your surgeons approval. (Yannis Alexandrides, MD, London Plastic Surgeon)

Liposuction is as much about the compression garments as the surgery itself. The compression garments are specific and have to be committed to use by the patient (Frank J. Ferraro, MD, Paramus Plastic Surgeon)

Compression garments after liposuction

I prefer compression garments. But, not all compression garments are the same.

I research to find what I believe to be the most effective and comfortable compression garments for each procedure.

Best Spanx For Liposuction

Compression garments are not comfortable, but most of my patients report that they enjoy taling the compression garment off, but they sooon learn that in many cases they feel more comfortable with the compression garments on.

In my opinion, the right compression garments can help recovery, improve results and actually help to kae a patient feel more comfortable. (Michael Law, MD, Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon)

Many patients find that Spanx are more comfortable and easier to wear for longer periods of time. In our practice I recommend the patients wear their surgical garment for the first two weeks, and are then free to switch to Spanx for the next four weeks. (Austin Hayes, MD, Portland Plastic Surgeon)

Liposuction Compression Garments

I tell my patients that they need to wear a compression garment specifically designed as a post-surgical garment for 48 hours after surgery. The reason for this type of garment over Spanx is that the compression will be greater with the former, which will allow the fluid injected during surgery to properly drain.

Can You Wear Spanx Power Short Instead Of Compression Garments After Lipoplasty

After the 48 hour period, I tell my patients that wearing the garment is completely optional, and while it will reduce short-term swelling, wearing it beyond 48 hours will have no affect on the long term results.

At this point, if the patient desires compression, Spanx could be an appropriate choice. (David P. Rapaport, MD, FACS, Manhattan Plastic Surgeon)

Every surgeon is different with their post op directions to their patients so I would follow your surgeon’s direction for after surgery. I normally recommend that the compression garment is worn for 4 weeks depending on exactly what areas were treated.

I find that the garment is helpful and if yours is uncomfortable, you can use spanx. (Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS, San Diego Plastic Surgeon)

I recommend Spanx for the “second stage.”

Different Types Spanx

Prior to liposuction surgery we have patients purchase a retail garment such as Spanx. They keep that at home to be used later. When they have surgery, we provide the initial postop “medical” compression garment.

After using it for the first 2-3 weeks, we recommend they switch and use the retail (second stage) garment another few weeks. Plastic surgeons vary in their routines, so ask yours for specifics. (Sutton Graham II, MD, Greenville Plastic Surgeon)

I use the compression garments for my patients, but do not like how the rigid elements of the garment bunch up when the patient move into different positions. I find that wearing a pear of spanks underneath the garment make for a more comfortable and fitting compression garment. (Robert M. Freund, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)

Spanx After Lipo Photo

For best results, use the compression garments your physician provides

While it may be tempting (and more affordable) to buy a non-medical garment, I believe that you should wear a medical grade compression garment for at least the first 4 weeks after surgery. Medical garments provide more compression post surgery, and further guarantee the best possible results. (Stephen A. Goldstein, MD, Englewood Plastic Surgeon)

Medical grade garments vs. Spanx

When selecting a post liposuction garment, I generally recommend that the patient wear the garment that I provide for at least the first three months post op. Medical grade compression garments are generally more sturdy and are made to last longer than garments available on the retail market.

One garment is always included in the cost of the surgery but most patients elect to purchase a second garment at some point. We sell these garments to patients at our cost as they are significantly more expensive than retail garments.

Spanx

After three months, patients can wear a garment of their choosing from the retail market, usually Spanx or Flexees or a compression garment from another manufacturer. These garments have less compression and are more comfortable than medical grade garments.

The garment does factor significantly into the healing process and the final result. My recommendation is to wear the physician provided garment for as long as your physician recommends then transition to something more comfortable later. (Brian Kiesnowski, MD, MPH, Appleton Plastic Surgeon)

Compression garments after liposuction

Compression garments come in all shapes and sizes to fit whichever body part has had liposuction, from the neck to the knees! Compression garments do lots of good things. They help reduce swelling, help control bruising and bleeding, support the body part which is a little sore after the liposuction, and contour the area under your clothes.

Wear A Commercial Compression Garment

I have my patients wear compression garments day and night for 3 weeks after the surgery, and “as much as possible” after that. For this reason, many patients opt for liposuction in the winter months. (Damian Marucci, MBBS, PhD, FRACS, Sydney Plastic Surgeon)

Compression garments after liposuction

You should likely follow your surgeon’s recommendation for your post-op regimen following liposuction. Surgical compression garments are designed with specific areas of compression in mind, depending on your procedure and garment. Additionally, the amount of compression applied by the garment is specifically regulated and targeted to optimizing your post-op recovery.

Spanx or another similar product may offer an inappropriate level of compression, in a potentially inappropriate place. (Joshua D. Zuckerman, MD, FACS, New York Plastic Surgeon)

Compression Garments After Liposuction

Compression Garments After Liposuction Photo

I do believe that for almost all patients after liposuction surgery they should wear proper compression garments. Especially within the first few days after surgery when they are prone to bleeding which can cause increased bruising.

My strong preference is that patients wear standard compression garments for the proper amount of time. With that said, I have had patients that have found wearing compression garments are just too uncomfortable. I will allow some patients to switch to something like Spanx after the first 48 hours, if it will not have a long term effect on their results. (David Amron, MD, Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon)

Spanx versus compression garment

First off, I would go with the advice of your treating surgeon. Spanx are actually a form of compression garment, just different than the typical immediate postsurgical garment.

In many cases I may have that patient use a postsurgical garment with clips and zippers for the first few weeks after a body contouring procedure because it makes it easier to get on and off.

After that point I may have them transition to a spanx type of compression garment that is a bit more form fitting and sleek, if you will, such that it is easier to wear under their regular clothing. (Hampton Alexander Howell, MD, Winston Salem Plastic Surgeon)

For 6 weeks after liposuction, compression garments should be worn to achieve the best results. The treated areas need firm support. The compression garments should be snug without being too tight (don’t get a size smaller anticipating loss of inches from the procedure because you will have some swelling).

I recommend medical compression garments to get the right degree of compression. Such garments can be ordered on line if they are not provided by your surgeon. After 6 weeks you can get additional support and comfort from Spanx, especially when you run or walk fast. (Renuka Diwan, MD, Cleveland Dermatologic Surgeon)

There are certainly situations where I prefer compression garments, but often I find that Spanx are an excellent option for compression after liposuction. In fact, I often recommend them to my patients. (John K. Wakelin III, MD, FACS, Columbus Plastic Surgeon)

Spanx or Compression Garments

Both are excellent. I prefer compression garments post operatively for the first week – 10 days. Then, Spanx are more comfortable as they don’t have any zippers. (Rod J. Rohrich, MD, Dallas Plastic Surgeon)

Liposuction Recovery Using Compression Garments or Spanx?

Spanx work just as well as any other compression garment and should be sufficient for a post-procedure garment. (Robert Heck, MD, FACS, Columbus Plastic Surgeon)

Liposuction Recovery Using Compression Gaements or Spanx?

Any type of perfectly fit ” garment ” to apply evenly distributed pressure on the liposuctioned area is recommended after liposuction surgery. Thet not only control swelling they also reduce bleeding and help skin shrinkage. Wether you like Spanks or prefer Garments it is a good idea to try them on before your surgery to make them to become custom fitted. (Fereydoon S. Mahjouri, MD, Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon)

Why are compression garments required after liposuction?

The phrase “compression garment” conjures up images of celebrities wearing Spanx, athletes in tight sleeves and leggings and jet-setters sporting special socks on long-haul flights. While they are all examples of compression clothing, the compression garments used in medicine are more advanced, high-tech designs specially constructed to facilitate healing and enhance results.

Compression is a key component of the liposuction recovery process for many of our patients at Advanced Aesthetics. Compression garments offer many benefits to men and women recovering from liposuction and other body contouring procedures and can make a dramatic difference in the surgical outcome. Proper use of a compression garment is one of the best things you can do to shape the sleeker physique you’re hoping to achieve. What are compression garments? Medical compression garments are made from strong, synthetic fabrics (such as nylon and lycra) that stretch and apply pressure to the body when they are worn after a surgical procedure. The garments are made in various styles and sizes so they can be worn by a wide range of patients on many different parts of the body. A girdle-like compression garment would be appropriate after liposuction of the abdomen, for instance, while compression stockings or sleeves would be recommended after liposuction of the legs or arms, respectively. All medical compression garments are designed to provide a level of pressure that encourages healing, not the kind of pressure created by “waist trainers” or other types of shape-wear used for fashion.

Why are compression garments worn after liposuction?

Surgeons recommend wearing a compression garment after liposuction for several reasons related to achieving a comfortable recovery and optimal results:

Compression Garments Help Reduce Swelling

Wearing a compression garment after liposuction helps the body recover and increases your comfort during the healing process. The body naturally produces fluids during recovery. These fluids can accumulate and become trapped, causing swelling and discomfort and prolonging the healing process. Many liposuction patients experience significant postoperative swelling that can last for weeks. A compression garment applies even pressure across the treatment area, preventing excessive fluid buildup and helping your body absorb any fluid that does accumulate.

Compression Garments Can Decrease Bruising

Bruising is to be expected after liposuction. Its severity and longevity will vary from patient to patient, but it can be minimized by wearing a compression garment. Bruises occur as a result of trauma to blood vessels. When blood vessels are injured, blood enters the surrounding tissue and discolors the visible skin above the injury site. The consistent pressure of a compression garment helps stop bleeding and prevents blood from moving toward the skin’s surface to reduce the appearance of bruises.

Compression Garments Can Improve Scarring

Scarring can occur after liposuction, but it is rarely significant. The incisions used in the procedure are small and strategically located to reduce their visibility as much as possible. The degree of scarring experienced depends on a mix of factors, including the technique used and the patient’s genetic tendency to develop scars. If you are concerned about scarring, wearing a compression garment can provide peace of mind. Pressure helps soften, flatten and further reduce the appearance of liposuction’s already discreet scars.

Compression Garments Can Shape Your Final Results

Wearing a compression garment can improve the contour of the treatment area, helping you achieve optimal liposuction results. The support of the garment helps your body adapt to its new streamlined shape and reduces the risk of your skin developing a lax or wrinkled appearance. This can mean smoother, tighter, more attractive liposuction results. Some patients also find that wearing a compression garment improves their posture and facilitates easy movement after a body contouring procedure.

Are there risks associated with wearing a compression garment?

A compression garment is tight by design. Patients sometimes experience discomfort as they get used to the sensation of wearing one, particularly in the early stages when postoperative swelling is at its height. A compression garment is not, however, intended to place excessive pressure on the treatment area. Too much compression can be painful and may increase the risk of developing pressure necrosis or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). An ill-fitting or improperly worn compression garment can contribute to seroma formation or surface contour irregularities. If you have any concerns about your compression garment being too tight or not fitting properly, do not hesitate to contact your surgeon.

How should a compression garment be worn?

Any time you undergo a medical procedure, it is important to follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions to ensure a smooth recovery and attractive results. Compression garments play an important role in proper healing after liposuction. They come in a variety of styles and sizes for nearly every part of the body. After the procedure, a compression garment will most likely need to be worn immediately and for several weeks after as the initial recovery process takes place. Your surgeon may reduce your compression in stages, starting with a high degree of compression then switching to a lower degree of compression and gradually decreasing the number of hours it must be worn each day. The length of time you will be asked to wear the garment before it can be discarded will depend on the extent of your procedure and your surgeon’s technique and preferences.

To be effective, your compression garment should fit snugly but not be overly restrictive or bulky. It should cover the full extent of the treatment area; if the treatment area is partially exposed, there may be a visible delineation between the area that was covered and the area that was not. Sizing a compression garment correctly can be challenging. Speak with your surgeon and consult the manufacturer’s sizing charts before making any purchases.

Learn More About Liposuction and Recovery

Despite a healthy diet and a regular exercise routine, some stubborn pockets of fat may refuse to budge from your body. Liposuction is a minimally invasive procedure that can reduce these unwanted fat deposits and reveal the slimmer or more toned physique you’ve been working hard to achieve. If you’re ready to love the way you look and want to learn more about how liposuction can help, contact Advanced Aesthetics today at 770-461-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of our board-certified plastic surgeons.

Complete Guide to Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery

If there is one thing that confuses patients after they’ve had body contouring, it’s whether or not (and how!) to wear a compression garment. This article will answer all your questions about wearing compression garments. We gathered the most common questions from patients across the globe to create the most comprehensive guide you will find anywhere online. In this article, you will learn about the benefits of compression, how to wear one properly, and even some tips for hiding your post-op garment under clothes.

Why should I wear a compression garment after body contouring?

Compression garment are an important part of postoperative care. Wearing a compression garment can make an impact on your surgical results, speeding recovery and helping to shape your new contours. They speed the healing process, which means you can get back to living your life sooner after surgery.5

Wearing a compression garment takes a lot of guesswork out of the equation when it comes to your results. They help stabilize and shape your body’s new contours so they heal as your surgeon intended. Patients who wear compression garments may experience less pain compared to those who do not wear them.7

So, what do compression garments do exactly? The idea is to help close the space that is created within the abdomen as a part of body contouring surgery. When a patient undergoes a tummy tuck, the flap of skin is elevated off the abdominal wall, leaving a space. The same thing occurs with body lift procedures, which also create a gap between skin and tissue. Liposuction, too, results in a void where the fat used to be.

When skin and muscle are elevated, you want them to heal in the correct position. One goal of compression garments is to encourage tissue to re-adhere to your abdominal wall by closing the space with gentle, constant pressure. Compression may help tissues re-adhere exactly as intended by keeping everything in its proper place.6

Benefits of wearing compression garments after surgery

Compression garments serve many purposes to help aid your recovery after a tummy tuck, lipo or body lift. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Reduced swelling: If you are wondering how to reduce swelling after a contouring procedure, a compression garment will do just that. It helps restrict the edema that occurs after surgery by applying firm pressure to the area.4
  • Lower risk of bruising and bleeding: Wear post-op garments are shown to reduce hematoma and decrease the chance of postoperative bleeding.4
  • Speeds the healing process: Patients who wear compression garments after body contouring surgery may be able to return to their normal daily activities sooner than those who do not. They can improve oxygen levels in soft tissue, allowing faster tissue repair.1 Some brands like Lipo-elastic even have perforated material that touches only some parts of the skin to increase blood circulation. Increased circulation promotes faster recovery.
  • Shapes & contours: A compression garment can help support and reinforce your new curves as you heal. For example, after liposuction wearing one is especially beneficial for patients with poor skin elasticity since after-surgery garments promote skin retraction.4
  • Potentially reduced risk of keloid scarring: Keloids can form when excess scar tissue grows over a healed wound. Compression therapy is the first line of defense against keloids since they can soften and break up keloid scar formations.3,8
  • Reduced infection risk: Like a Band-Aid, a compression garment can shield your skin from outside germs like a barrier. It protects the wound while you heal.
  • Less pain & discomfort after surgery: Gentle pressure and support can relieve pain symptoms.2 For example, think about when you bang your shin. Your instinct is to apply pressure to the area with your hand. Why? It makes the injured area feel better. The same principle applies after trauma from a surgical procedure. Again, the key is gentle pressure.

Common questions about post-op compression garments

How long do I need to wear compression garments after liposuction, tummy tuck or body lift surgery?

Patients typically wear a compression garment for 4-6 weeks following larger body contouring procedures on average. For minor procedures, two weeks may be enough. The length of time you will need to wear a post-surgery garment may vary based on your surgeon’s protocol. It can depend on the amount of skin and/or fat removed, how much loose skin remains, your skin elasticity and other factors.

If you find wearing a post-surgical garment uncomfortable, it is worth mentioning it to your surgeon. They may be able to make adjustments or advise you on how to make things feel a bit more comfortable as your recover.

Do I need to wear compression garments 24/7?

After surgery, many surgeons recommend wearing the garment day and night for the first 1-3 weeks, except to shower. Of course, this can vary depending on the exact procedure and extent of surgery. During the second phase of recovery (usually weeks 3-6), you may only need to wear the garment during the daytime. Some surgeons recommend wearing it around the clock, even in recovery phase two, if you can tolerate it. Again, this boils down to your surgeon’s aftercare protocol.

What is the difference between a compression garment and an abdominal binder?

This is a tricky question. Some surgeons use the words interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same thing. Both are post-surgical devices that apply gentle pressure to promote healing and reduce swelling.

Many patients will initially wear a binder first thing after a tummy tuck. Binders are a type of wrapping that is typically made from a stretchy, elastic material with a Velcro closure. The concept is similar to an Ace bandage that you might find in the first aid aisle of the pharmacy. A tummy tuck binder is larger and a bit sturdier than that, but you get the idea.

A compression garment is more like an article of clothing. Instead of Velcro, compression garments usually have hooks or zippers for closure. They are also typically larger than compression binders. The larger surface area is useful for patients who have undergone multiple body contouring procedures in areas like the belly, hips and thighs.

You may be asked to wear both types at different stages of your recovery. Of course, this can vary depending on which procedures you have had, and your surgeon’s aftercare instructions. Some surgeons prefer to use only one or the other.

Can I remove my binder or garment to shower?

It is safe (and necessary) to remove your compression garment when showering. Most patients are cleared to shower 48 hours after a tummy tuck, liposuction or a body lift. When you are done bathing, gently pat yourself dry with a clean towel. When your skin is completely dry, it is time to put your compression garment back on.

What is the best garment to wear after a tummy tuck?

It is important to choose a high-quality device to minimize your post-op discomfort. This will make your recovery a little easier.

Dr. Beldholm advises his patients to wear a compression garment for six weeks following larger surgeries such as body lifts and tummy tucks. For smaller procedures like breast augmentation or a breast lift, you will be placed in a surgical bra for four weeks.

Given the time you will spend wearing it, you don’t want to make your recovery harder by choosing a cheap, low-quality garment. It will probably be more uncomfortable. It is a decision you will likely regret. Dr. Beldholm’s patients will not have to worry about researching and buying garments on their own because he will simply provide you with a comfortable, high-quality compression garment to wear after surgery. It is included the price. (In fact, you will get two!)

The quality of a compression garment is very important. It can vary depending on the manufacturer. Here are some features to look for buying one:

  • Antibacterial properties: For example, Lipoelect is a brand that makes garments with silver nano particles to prevent bacterial growth on skin. This may lower the spread of microbes, which the company says will speed healing and reduce odor.
  • Breathable materials: Opt for a blend of breathable materials to improve your comfort. You should avoid cheap, scratchy or itchy fabrics that will be too abrasive for healing skin. Breathable materials will reduce sweating, keeping you dry and comfortable.
  • Durability: A good supportive fabric with plenty of stretch and durability will do the job well.
  • Moisture-wicking fabric: Such materials are designed to keep your skin dry. This will not only make you more comfortable, but will also reduce bacterial spread since bacteria thrive in moisture and heat. It may also reduce odor caused by bacteria.
  • Flat seams or seamless design: This will help to avoid unnecessary irritation on the skin as you heal.
  • Quality closures: Unlike binders which have Velcro closures, compression garments have zippers or hook-and-eye closures. Zippers and clasps should be easy to reach for your comfort. This will reduce your strain when taking the garment on and off.

Zippers should glide smoothly. You do not want to get stuck tugging on a stuck zipper after surgery. Hooks should be easy to fasten without strain. Understandably, you will be most sensitive the days immediately following surgery. Your caretaker will be able to assist in putting the garment on and removing it if you find it too difficult to do on your own at first.

Do I have to sleep in my compression garment?

Yes, typically you will need to wear a compression garment to bed for the first four weeks. For extensive procedures likes tummy tucks and body lifts, you will wear it full time for four weeks including when you sleep. You can take the garment off to go to sleep during weeks 5 and 6. For smaller procedures, Dr. Beldholm recommends wearing a surgical bra 24/7 for four weeks.

Keep in mind there is typically no harm in wearing the garment longer or more often than recommended, bedtime included. Some women even report feeling more secure when they have it on.

Can I remove my tummy tuck garment for a short time?

Yes, it is safe to remove the garment for a short time. You will need to remove it when you take a shower, for example. The garment will also need to be laundered to keep it fresh and clean. It is a good idea, however, to purchase a second compression garment so you do not have to rush doing the laundry.

You may also want to remove your compression garment for a short time if you feel you need a break from it. While you should strive to wear it as much as possible in the weeks after surgery, you can take it off occasionally if you need a few minutes of relief. When you are not wearing the garment, it is a good idea to wear clothing that is soft and loose. This will make the fabric less likely to disturb your incisions. Avoid strenuous activities or lifting anything weighing more than 2.5kg when you are not wearing it.

Leaving it off for a couple of hours on occasion will not result in any irreparable damage, but you might notice increased swelling and puffiness afterwards. It is worth noting that repeatedly removing your compression garment and putting it back on can increase the risk of seroma.4 If you are in doubt about how and when you can take it off, simply ask your surgeon.

How do I know if my compression garment is too tight?

Sometimes patients think that the garment should be as tight as possible. But that is not true. The goal is to support your body without putting excess pressure on the area that is healing.

Gentle pressure is good. However, you do not want it to be so tight that your limbs are falling asleep! Circulation is important to recovery. Ideally, it should fit snugly and comfortably. A good rule of thumb is that you should just be able to slide your hand under it without strain.

Wearing a binder or compression garment too tight can also cause it to bunch up. The garment should lay smooth and flat across your skin. Doing so will prevent with problems healing, such as undesirable fluid collection.

If you are not sure if your compression garment is too tight or loose, speak to your surgeon. They may suggest adjusting the tightness. Wearing a compression garment too tight can cause more harm than good. After liposuction, excessive pressure can lead to skin hyper pigmentation, waviness or surface irregularities.4

My doctor said I don’t need to wear a compression garment after my tummy tuck. Is that okay?

Not every surgeon utilizes post-surgery garments. Some doctors feel that the faster recovery outweighs the discomfort some patients experience from wearing them. Others simply do not believe compression has as many benefits as research suggests for various reasons.

After years of performing tummy tuck surgeries and lipo, Dr. Beldholm has observed that most patients benefit greatly from wearing compression garments. Doing so indeed appears to result in a faster, more successful recovery for patients who wear one versus those that do not. Choosing comfortable, high-quality garments can reduce or eliminate most of the discomfort that results from wearing low-quality garments.

It is up to your surgeon whether or not to use compression garments after body contouring. You should always follow the advice of your doctor. Remember, you chose him or her for a reason, so it makes sense to trust their judgment.

How can I hide my post-op garments during the day?

In the early stages of recovery, you will be taking it easy at home. However, hiding the garment may be necessary when you return to work or have to attend an event. Tummy tuck girdles and binders are relatively easy to hide if you avoid tight clothes. However, compression garments have hooks and zippers to contend with. These can be hidden easily with the right clothing.

If you are wondering how to hide a compression garment under clothes, here are a few tips:

  • Accessorize with outerwear: Vests and kimonos are a great way to hide compression garments no matter the season. In spring and summer, look for lightweight fabrics and gauzy materials. In fall and winter, choose vests or jackets made from heavier or knitted materials.
  • Layer your clothing: An extra layer of fabric can go a long way in concealing a compression garment, especially if it has zippers and hooks. These can look bumpy under clothes. Adding a breathable camisole tank top can help, for example.
  • Opt for thicker fabrics: Along those same lines, denser materials such as knits or thick-knit cotton can help hide the garment.
  • Choose nude compression garments: Garments come in various nude shades. If you are wearing light-coloured tops, the colour of the garment underneath matters. The closer the garment is to your natural skin tone, the better. If you are very pale, choose a light-coloured garment. Dark or tanned skin may go for taupe, tan or chocolate brown compression garments. If you are Asian, a garment that is more tan or has slight yellow undertone may work better. Of course, every patient has a unique skin tone, but you get the idea.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothes: While you recover, you want to be comfortable. Luckily, office attire is much more relaxed today than ever before. Choose flowing fabrics and garments that won’t chafe your skin. Soft, natural materials will make you feel more comfortable when you have a compression garment on under your clothes. Avoid itchy or tight fabrics.

My compression garment is uncomfortable. What can I do to make it feel better?

A post-surgery garment should support you without causing pain. If the garment is causing a lot of discomfort, you may be wearing one that simply does not fit you correctly or is made poorly. You will probably need to wear the garment for many weeks after surgery, so it pays to invest in quality. Premium materials and proper construction can make a big difference in terms of comfort.

You owe it to yourself to make your recovery as comfortable as possible. No one wants you to experience undue pain. If you feel that your garment is tight or hurts, it is a good idea to discuss it with your surgeon. Adjustments may be in order to loosen it. This can alleviate much of your pain so that you can enjoy the benefits of compression in comfort.

Dr. Beldholm’s recommended timeline for wearing compression garments

Patients who see Dr. Beldholm for body contouring will be able to take advantage of some of the highest-quality compression garments on the market. Dr. Beldholm uses premium lipo-elastic garments. Patients who wear lipo-elastic garments report that they are very comfortable and great to use post surgery. There are many other brands with similar garments, but he has found that these are an excellent choice based on patient feedback and personal experience.

All body contouring and liposuction procedures include two garments in the price. For practicality reasons, this means you can wash one while wearing the other. We take all the guesswork out of buying compression garments by handling all the details for you. You will not need to worry about doing anything yourself. Our patient coordinator will measure you before surgery and order the garments so that they are ready to wear on surgery day.

For larger surgeries such as body lifts, tummy tucks and arm lifts, the garment will be put on while you are still asleep at the end of surgery. You will awake comfortably in your new garment. For breast procedures such as breast augmentation, breast lifts and breast reductions, a surgical bra will be placed on you in the recovery room.

You may remove the garment to shower after the first 24 hours have passed. Dr. Beldholm advises wearing the garment full time for four weeks after an extensive body contouring procedure like a tummy tuck. Afterwards, you will only need to wear it during the daytime for two more weeks. For smaller procedures such as breast augmentation or lift, the garment is worn for just four weeks. Again, you may remove it to shower.

Just like hair extensions, all celebrities wear shapewear. No, really – even the dinkiest of the A List have copped up to slipping into a pair of stomach-flattening pants for a red carpet event. Not only does it ~hold it all in~ but it also smooths out any lines from your bra or pants to ensure whatever you’re wear sits **perfectly**.

Basically, it’s a special-event-dream, and it’s up there with Nutella and dry shampoo for our favourite modern invention. But, there can be some drawbacks to this wonderous contraption, according to some medical experts…

1. It could give you a UTI

When you’re wearing anything that’s tough to wiggle in and out of, you’re just that bit more likely to try and delay having a wee. But, ignoring nature’s call can lead to all kinds of nasty infections in your urinary tract. We’re going to say a big ‘no thank you’ to cystitis – but to be fair, jumpsuits could be just as bad by that logic.

2. You’re compressing your organs

Some people have called shapewear a ‘modern-day corset’, and not for nothing. Dr John Kuemmerle told The Huffington Post that the ‘squeezing’ effect is literally compressing your internal organs – which can lead to all kinds of nasties, including…

3. It could give you acid reflux

As your stomach, intestines and colon are compressed, your digestive system isn’t happy. Acid reflux and heartburn could follow, warned Dr Kuemmerle.

4. You might have some gas or bloating

You know when you eat a big ol’ meal and suddenly your jeans feel a bit more snug? Wearing control undies has a similar effect on your poor tum tum. When it gets all squished in, your digestion doesn’t work as well as normal, with gas or bloating being common side effects. Sure, they’re temporary, but unpleasant nonetheless.

5. Or in more severe cases – incontinence

If you struggle with IBS or any condition that can make your need to relieve yourself more pronounced, shapewear might not be your friend. As Dr Kuemmerle noted, all that pressure on your digestive tract can make those feelings even more urgent, and it can exacerbate stress incontinence or leaks in people who suffer from bladder issues.

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6. You might experience some numbness and tingling

You know when your mum used to warn you about tying loads of hair bands around your wrist for fear they’d cut off your circulation? Well, there’s a similar principle at work here. Dr Karen Erickson warned about a condition called ‘meralgia paresthetica’, which causes tingling, pain and numbness in your legs, thanks to a key nerve in your thighs being compressed.

7. It could lead to varicose veins and blood clots

A more serious continuation of having so much pressure on your limbs for a prolonged amount of time could be blood clots or varicose veins – pretty scary stuff. Dr Erickson did note that this was most common in people genetically prone to varicose veins, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

8. You might hyperventilate

Richard Bricknell, a director at the Bristol Physiotherapy Clinic told the Daily Mail that all that pressure can affect your breathing as well as your veins and stomach. The tightness stops your diaphragm fully dilating when you breathe, which can lead to shortness of breath and hyperventilation.

9. There could be a lot of bacterial nasties

Clean freaks, look away now. When you’re wearing something so figure-hugging, you’re going to sweat more, and that sweat and moisture (nice) doesn’t really have anywhere to go hence your pants can kind of become a breeding ground for bacteria. If it is control pants you’re wearing, you could even bring on conditions like thrush, or cause pesky spots on your back or tummy as the skin can’t breathe.

10. Ingrown hairs. Yep, we said it.

You know how your waxing lady always tells you wear loose pants after a wax? Well, loose pants are basically what your lady parts would like 24/7, and wearing something super-tight only increases friction down there. The other hair-related woe could be folliculitis, which is when bacteria gets trapped in the hair follicles and causes angry red bumps. So sexy.

11. Your posture might suffer

Plenty of people rate their shapewear for improving their posture. That cinched-in effect will make you stand taller in the short term, but relying on shapewear for good posture will only weaken your core muscles – turning things into a bit of a vicious cycle.

12. You shouldn’t wear it for extended periods of time

All of the research we dug up said that shapewear is fine in moderation but using it all day every day is where the problems really begin – your body just doesn’t like to be squished that much.

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Shapewear comes with health risks if worn for too long

From Spanx Power Panties shorts, to Reebok CrossFit compression tops, Lululemon running tights for men and modern-made corsets, there is a huge market for clothes that squish, squeeze and sculpt. For some people, shimmying into shapewear is worth it for the figure-enhancing powers of Spandex, an attitude shared by Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian and Heidi Klum, who have given Spanx credit for making them look good on the red carpet. Others wear compression clothing to run faster, lift heavier weights or reduce soreness after intense exercise.

But, doctors warn, there are real health risks to wearing extra-tight clothing for prolonged periods. Instead of stuffing your body into suffocating clothes, some experts advise, it may be better to stick with more proven forms of body-shaping behavior. Plenty of people are taking the clothing way, however; research firms estimate that shapewear is a $680-million annual market.

“We all want a shortcut that will be more effortless,” says Orly Avitzur, a neurologist in Tarrytown, N.Y., and medical advisor to Consumer Reports. “But that doesn’t help us in terms of all the advantages of exercise and a really nutritious diet.”

Ominous tingling

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Neurologists have long known about a condition called meralgia paresthetica, which causes painful burning and tingling in the thighs when there is too much pressure on nerves that run through the groin. The condition is most common in pregnant women and people who gain weight quickly, as their pants suddenly become too tight. But every month or two, Avitzur says, she sees a patient suffering from nerve pain because of shapewear.

Some patients defy stereotypes, including a 15-year-old girl who came to her office after seeing a gastroenterologist for stomach pain.

It turned out that the girl’s entire soccer team had been wearing colorful compression shorts under their uniforms at school, a fashion trend that was common among high school teams in the area. “I wouldn’t have normally asked her if she wore tight compression clothing because she was a young athlete,” she says. “It wasn’t until I was almost leaving the room, and I said, ‘In my mother’s generation, we saw this in women who wore girdles.’”

Tough to digest

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Putting pressure on the abdomen squeezes internal organs, which can push acid from the stomach into the esophagus. That’s why weight gain can lead to gastroesophageal reflux disease, and tight undergarments can do the same thing, says Jay Kuemmerle, a gastroenterologist at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. “It’s really just plumbing,” he says. “For someone who has reflux disease or is prone to reflux, wearing tight garments may exacerbate those symptoms.” Tight clothes can also worsen the discomforts of irritable bowel syndrome and urinary incontinence, he says. As for the Jessica Alba-endorsed “corset diet,” Kuemmerle doesn’t recommend shapewear for weight loss.

More pain, less gain

Wiggling your limbs into shaping garments takes effort, and it is equally difficult — and perhaps not very sexy — to peel them off. Many women don’t bother, avoiding the bathroom for as long as they’re wearing their Spanx. But holding your bladder can lead to urinary tract infections, Avitzur says. Sweating in tight clothing can also cause yeast infections and skin irritation. People with diabetes are at particular risk of developing skin infections from snug clothes. Googling suggests other potential health dangers including varicose veins, blood clots, weak core muscles and back pain, though, according to some researchers, those risks are overblown. Doctors often prescribe compression stockings to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of clots after surgery or for people who have circulation problems. “I’m not trying to say that everyone wearing restrictive garments is going to have problems,” Kuemmerle says, adding that most problems go away quickly when the clothing pressure is off. “But adopting a healthy lifestyle may obviate the need to feel like you have to wear these things.”

Pressure to the finish line

Elite runners like Paula Radcliffe and Meb Keflezighi have helped popularize knee-high compression socks, which have become trendy among amateur athletes too, along with other tight workout clothing.

The idea is that squeezing muscles might improve circulation, eliminate waste products and increase power by reducing the amount of force muscles need to produce.

Evidence, however, is mixed, says Philip Skiba, director of sports medicine at Advocate Medical Group in Chicago. Research is also still new, as scientists have been conducting rigorous studies on compression gear for less than a decade. And most studies include only a dozen or two athletes, making it impossible to generalize results for everyone. Given the research so far, Skiba says, there is no convincing data that compression garments lower levels of lactic acid in the blood, reduce muscle damage or inflammation, or make people run, ski or kayak faster.

Compression garments may, however, offer some help with recovery after hard exercise.

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In a 2014 study of 24 runners, athletes who wore compression socks after completing a marathon reported less soreness 24 hours later. For sprinters, studies suggest that wearing compression socks for a few days after a workout could help them go a few seconds faster during their next several-mile-long run.

Whether benefits like these are physiological or psychological remains to be determined. Placebo rituals are common — and commonly effective — among athletes who believe a lucky shirt or ritual breakfast will help them. There’s no harm in wearing compression garments for short periods of time if they give you a perceived boost, Skiba says. But there’s no guarantee they’ll help.

“My colleagues in elite sports are mostly unimpressed,” he says. “There is definitely nothing I have read in the last five years that would make me say, ‘Oh my God, everyone needs to use these.’”

What happens if you wear spanx all the time?

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