Compression garments are a type of medical device that applies gentle pressure to the body.
They are often used after surgery to help reduce swelling, improve circulation, and support the incision site.
Wearing a compression garment after surgery is vital for a smooth and speedy recovery.
This guide aims to provide you with information about compression garments and the advantages they can offer.
How Do They Work?
Compression garments work by applying pressure to the tissues, which helps reduce the amount of fluid that can build up.
As a result, they can help reduce swelling and pain and prevent blood clots.
Additionally, compression garments can support the incision site, facilitating the healing process.
Types of Compression Garments
Compression garments come in different types, each tailored to a specific body part.
Some common types of compression garments include:
- Abdominal binders: These garments are worn around the abdomen to help reduce swelling and support the incision site.
- Leg sleeves: These garments are worn on the legs to reduce swelling and improve blood circulation.
- Arm sleeves: Are worn on the arms to help reduce swelling and improve circulation.
- Compression stockings: These leg stockings are worn to help prevent blood clots.
The type of compression garment you will need will depend on your surgery and the area of your body that needs compression.
Your surgeon or a medical professional can help you choose a suitable compression garment.
Benefits of Wearing Compression Garments After Surgery
Here are some additional benefits of wearing compression garments after surgery:
- Using them can alleviate pain and discomfort.
- They are fully capable of assisting you in improving your range of motion.
- They can help prevent skin problems such as infections and breakdown.
- They can help improve your overall appearance.
Talk to your surgeon or a medical professional if you have any questions or concerns about wearing a compression garment after surgery.
How to Choose the Right Compression Garment
The most suitable compression garment will depend on the type of surgery you have had, the area of your body that needs compression, and your individual needs.
Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right compression garment:
- The type of surgery you have had: The type of surgery you have had will determine the area of your body that needs compression. For example, if you have had knee surgery, you will need a compression sleeve for your leg.
- The size of your body: Compression garments come in various sizes, so choosing one that fits you properly is crucial. The garment should be snug but not too tight. It should not restrict your breathing or circulation.
- The level of compression: Compression garments are available in different levels of compression. The level you need will depend on the severity of your condition.
- The material: Compression garments are made from different materials, such as nylon, spandex, and cotton. Your choice of material will depend on your preferences and needs. Some people prefer breathable and moisture-wicking materials, while others prefer more durable materials.
- The cost: Compression garments can range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars. The cost will depend on the type of garment, the size, and the material.
If you are still determining which compression garment suits you, talk to your surgeon or a medical professional.
They can help you choose the right compression garment.
Tips for Choosing the right Compression Garment
- Measure yourself: Before you buy a compression garment, it is crucial to measure yourself. It will help you ensure that you get the right size.
- Read the reviews: Before purchasing a compression garment, read the reviews from individuals who have used them. This can help you understand the quality and fit of different garments.
- Try it on before you buy it: Try on the compression garment before you buy it. This will help ensure that the clothing fits properly and is comfortable.
How to Wear a Compression Garments
Compression garments should fit snugly without restricting breathing or circulation.
Here are some tips for wearing them:
- Put the garment on before getting out of bed in the morning.
- Apply the garment slowly and evenly.
- Make sure the garment is not twisted or bunched up.
- If the garment feels too tight, loosen it slightly.
How Long Should I Wear a Compression Garment?
The duration for which you should wear a compression garment differs from person to person and depends on the type of surgery.
Your surgeon will guide you on how long you need to wear the compression garment.
How to Care for Your Compression Garment
Compression garments should be washed by hand or in the machine on a gentle cycle.
They should be air-dried or tumble-dried on low heat.
Here are some tips on how to care for your compression garment:
- Wash it regularly: Wash your compression garments daily to prevent bacteria and dirt buildup.
- Use mild detergent: When washing your compression garment, use a gentle detergent to prevent harming its fibers.
- Wash it on a gentle cycle: Wash your compression garment on a gentle cycle in the washing machine.
- Air-dry it: Do not tumble dry your compression garment. Air drying will help preserve the elasticity of the garment.
- Store it properly: When not wearing your compression garment, store it in a cool, dry place.
- Avoid using bleach or fabric softener: Bleach and fabric softener can damage the fibers of your compression garment.
- Do not iron your compression garment: Ironing can damage the fibers of your compression garment.
- Repair any tears or rips immediately: Tears or rips can make your compression garment less effective.
These tips can help keep your compression garment in good condition and extend its lifespan.
Risks and Complications of Wearing Compression Garments
Although compression garments are generally safe to wear, there are some potential complications.
These complications are uncommon, but you should be aware of them so you can seek medical attention if they occur.
Some of the potential complications of wearing compression garments include:
- Skin irritation: Compression garments can sometimes irritate the skin, especially if they are not appropriately fitted or worn for too long. They can cause redness, itching, or even blistering.
- Necrosis: In rare cases, compression garments can cause tissue death (necrosis). Necrosis usually occurs due to the garment being too tight and cutting off circulation.
- Thrombosis: Compression garments can also increase the risk of blood clots (thrombosis). This is because they can slow down the flow of blood. However, the risk of thrombosis is still very low, and the benefits of wearing compression garments outweigh it.
- Allergic reaction: Compression garments can sometimes cause an allergic reaction. It occurs due to the materials that the garment is made of. Remove the garment and seek medical attention if you show any symptoms of an allergic reaction, like hives or swelling.
If you experience complications, stop wearing the compression garment and contact your doctor or a medical professional.
Tips to Help Prevent or Minimize Complications
Here are some tips to help prevent complications from wearing compression garments:
- Make sure the garment is fitted properly. The garment should be snug but not too tight. It should not restrict your breathing or circulation.
- Wait to wear the garment for as long as instructed. Your doctor or a medical professional will tell you how long you need to wear the attire.
- Take breaks from wearing the garment. If you find the garment causing discomfort, take a break.
- Care for the garment properly. Wash the garment regularly and air-dry it.
- Check the garment for tears or rips. If the garment is torn or ripped, do not wear it.
Wearing compression garments is a secure and efficient method to minimize swelling, enhance blood flow, and support the area where the incision was made post-surgery.
You can ensure a quick and seamless recovery by following the guidance in this blog post and taking good care of your compression garment.
- Mayo Clinic Staff (August 5, 2017). Mayo Clinic Q and A: Tips for using compression stockings. newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-q-and-a-tips-for-using-compression-stockings/
- Cleveland Clinic(n.d). Compression Stockings. my.clevelandclinic.org/canada/services/compression-stockings
- Pubmed(June 14, 2018). Compression garments for medical therapy and sports. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6404358/