How long do I have to wear a girdle after tummy tuck?

It's been 20 days already and my body is healing well. To be honest, I was expecting worse pain after this surgery. The painkillers have made the recovery pretty easy, even though my abdomen is still swollen. The girdle is uncomfortable and I would much prefer not to wear it from now on. I need to know if it's safe to do that. Can I? Thank you!

m-steers75

F, 42, California

With this type of cosmetic surgery it’s essential for tummy tuck patients to wear a compression garment for approximately 6-8 weeks. The length of time you actually have to wear compression garments varies by individual. The reasons for wearing a compression garment after this type of body contouring surgery are that it will reduce overall discomfort, help control the swelling common after surgery and assist in muscle repair.

I assume your procedure was performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon and that you have already had or are planning on a few follow up visits to gauge how your tummy tuck recovery is proceeding. During that visit, you should ask for a timetable on when you can switch from wearing a girdle to a less restrictive garment. Just remember that these garments are essential factors in expediting your recovery and getting you to the point where you can see the full impact of your surgery.

Dr. Jonathan Heistein has 1 Tummytuck before & after:

» View Dr. Jonathan Heistein's full profile

Overall, the healing process from a plastic surgery procedure like a tummy tuck takes quite awhile. For the first 2-4 weeks post-op you should wear a girdle. After this period of time, you may switch to some sort of compression garment (i.e. Spanx) for another 2 - 4 weeks, as directed by your surgeon. Following that, you can probably graduate to a milder fitting sports garment.

The best course of action is to ask your plastic surgeon during your follow-up exam about how well they think you are healing. I agree that wearing compression garments can sometimes feel restrictive, however, they are an essential part of your recovery process -- especially with body contouring procedures. During your visit, you can check to see how much swelling is typical post surgery and how you are faring. At this time you can also ask him or her about when you can return to normal activities.