Lipedema Liposuction: The Ultimate Guide to Compression Garments

Compression garments are essential support after lipedema liposuction.

Lipedema liposuction is showing some very positive outcomes in quality of life for individuals with lipedema, and wearing compression garments after liposuction is critical to maintaining those gains. Lipedema liposuction won’t cure lipedema, but it can help reduce disabling symptoms like pain and pressure sensitivity, heaviness, fatigue, limb size, and feelings of diminished well-being at work, socially, and emotionally.

Compression garments after lipedema liposuction reduce postoperative swelling and more.

Yes, compression garments are expensive, and yes, they are a pain to get on and off, but they are so important to your recovery from lipedema liposuction!  Compression provides pressure on the outside to the accumulating pressure from post-surgical swelling within, helping reduce your body’s overactive healing response to surgery. Reducing this excess swelling will allow better blood flow, decreased pain, decreased risk of blood clots and infection, increased ease of movement, and faster recovery.  Compression can also reduce bruising by preventing blood cells from moving to the skin surface. And compression wear can soften your scars, gradually reducing their visibility. 

Always consult with your surgeon prior to beginning garment wear.

The right size is so important.

Optimize Your Recovery with Well-Fitting Compression Garments

A garment that fits well and offers the right level of compression for each phase of recovery from lipedema liposuction is very important.

  • Reduced Swelling: Well-fitted garments provide consistent compression, minimizing excessive post-surgery swelling.
  • Enhanced Comfort: Properly sized garments offer comfort during the recovery period, aiding the healing process.
  • Prevention of Complications: Ill-fitting garments may lead to complications, underscoring the need for precision in sizing. Garment websites will typically recommend ordering your pre-op size for your first garment after liposuction as post-surgical swelling will typically compensate for loss of tissue in the first 2-4 weeks of wear.

Navigating the Three Stages of Compression Garment Wear

Stage 1: Immediate Post-Op

Stage 1 compression garments are typically medical grade compression of 15-40mmHg and provide immediate support for effective drainage.

  • Garments worn right after surgery provide essential support and control swelling. Surgeons will often recommend 23/7 wear for the first 2-4 weeks after surgery. These garments typically have hooks and eyes and/or zippers to reduce friction getting them on and off.
  • Doctor’s Recommendations: It is critical to follow your surgeon’s recommendations regarding garment type and duration. Occasionally a surgeon will not make recommendations for compression wear after surgery. In that case, make sure you show your surgeon your compression garments and get their approval prior to use.

Stage 2: Mid-Term Recovery

Shapewear is a common Stage 2 garment, but not all shapewear is created equal! Something without panels that covers and supports the necessary areas completely, is strong enough (15-35mmHg) and containing enough (not too stretchy) will provide optimal support.

  • At 2-8 weeks a Stage 1 garment can be replaced with Stage 2, which is usually sized down to accommodate the swelling reduction. This garment is often without zippers and/or hooks and eyes, and more comfortable under clothing.
  • Stage 2 garments can be worn for the next 6 months to a year, depending on the procedure and your unique healing and comfort level. 

Stage 3: Long-Term Maintenance for Lipedema

  • Individuals with lipedema will likely benefit from making a lifelong habit of daytime compression wear. Finding comfortable, attractive, and accommodating support you are willing to wear daily (ideally) can be a journey that requires trial and error as well as considerable patience. Working with a lymphatic therapist can be so helpful. Hopefully, the following links for vendors will get you off to a great start.

Invest in quality compression garments.

Top Resources for Purchasing Quality Compression Garments

Here are some reliable resources for compression garments along each stage of the recovery process:

  • Consult your Surgeon: Definitely consult your surgeon for recommendations on reputable brands and suppliers. If they have a brand or style they want for you, benefit from their expertise.
  • Specialized Online Retailers:
    • Stage 1: Medical Compression
    • Stage 2:  Shapewear and Lighter Compression
      • Many of the above sites have excellent Stage 2 shapewear in addition to their medical grade compression for Stage 1
      • Lipoelastic
      • Solidea
      • Czalus
      • Leonisa
      • Compression wraps for the calf, knee and thigh can be a wonderful addition to your compression leggings, adding adjustable containment to expensive garments that may loosen as swelling reduces. One example is the Sigvaris Compreflex Lite for the calf, available from many vendors. Here’s one I love, Theresa at The Compression Closet.
  • Stage 3: Lifelong Support
    • Essentially, all stage 2 garments have the potential for being stage 3 compression garments, daily support you can wear lifelong (with regular replacement of course!)


Well-fitting compression garments are critical to your post-liposuction recovery journey. Reduce your risk of loose or sagging skin, blood clots, infection, and swelling that persists longer than it should. And simultaneously establish a habit of lifelong support. You are making an incredible investment in yourself with your decision to finally get this surgery. Now is not the time to offer yourself less than the best.

Your Recovery Begins the Moment Your Surgery is Over

Don’t forget to prioritize your comfort and healing by investing in high-quality, well-fitted compression garments appropriate to your recovery stage. And couple that investment with lymphatic drainage therapy to further reduce your swelling, improve circulation, and promote maximal results. Like compression-wear, lymphatic drainage therapy for individuals with lipedema can become another habit of lifelong support. You are worth it.

Disclaimer – This blog is for general information purposes only. Furthermore, the information contained in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult your licensed healthcare professional for advice on your specific condition.

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