What is a Compression Garment?

Ask the Doctor

This week, Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your questions.

Q: I’ve been told I might need to wear a “compression garment” after Stage 2 of my DIEP.  What exactly is that, where do I purchase it, and how long do I have to wear it.  Does everyone need to have one?

A: A compression garment is worn after body contouring to support the swollen area of the body. It is a tight fitting elastic type of under garment. Not everyone will need one. It depends on whether liposuction or fat grafting is performed. Usually it is placed on in the operating room after surgery when needed. DIEP and GAP patients may need them and they are typically provided by the hospital.  They are worn after surgery until the swelling is gone, usually around 3 weeks or more. They should be worn all the time at first and less later.

Dr. James Craigie

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

Have a question about breast reconstruction you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask us!

Post-Operative Care: What to Expect and Helpful Tips

Post-Op Care and TipsOur team often receives questions on the healing process and post operative care after breast reconstruction surgery. We strive to provide our patients with the information to ensure they achieve the most optimal surgical experience. For today’s Ask The Doctor post, we are sharing with you some tried-and-true steps and tips we have to help our patients improve their post surgery recovery and healing time.

After Surgery

Family members will receive periodic updates during your surgery.

Following the procedure, you will be moved to a special unit in the hospital where you will be connected to monitoring equipment. There, nurses trained in post operative care of breast reconstruction will monitor you at all times.  Family members can see you during visiting hours.

You will also receive an informative sheet that discusses your specific information and post-operative care.  This likely will include information concerning drain care; it is very important to monitor flow from the drains in a 24-hour period. This guides us on when to remove them.  You will also have a kind of thermometer on your chest, which monitors the flap.  Other specifics and information will be provided in your post-operative packets.

As You Heal

Family and Friends:
Support from loved ones is very helpful. But understand that comments they may make during your recovery can cause you concern. Remember this: We will tell you honestly how you are doing and what we expect your result will be.  Please trust in our knowledge and experience when we discuss your progress with you.

You will heal! How quickly depends on factors your genetic background, your overall health and your lifestyle (exercise, smoking, drinking, etc.). Many people believe the surgeon “heals” the patient.  No person can make another heal. Dr Craigie and Dr Kline can facilitate, but not accelerate, the healing process.  But you play the starring role, so your cooperation is key.

You may find swelling of your new breast and abdomen (DIEP) or buttock (GAP) to be troublesome and your clothes may not fit.  Be patient, this swelling will gradually subside and you will feel better in a few weeks.  There will be a certain amount of tightness in the area where the flap was taken from.  This will slowly relax in a few months.

Following Instructions:
Another way to improve healing is by following the instructions given by Dr. Craigie and Dr. Kline’s staff.  We believe “the difference is in the details” and strive to achieve the best possible results for you.  It is imperative that you act as a partner in this process — not a passive participant.  The instructions are designed to give you the best opportunity for healing without delay or surprise.

Click here for a complete list of post surgery healing and recovery tips and instructions.

Have questions about post operative breast reconstruction? Or questions in general? Contact us today!