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Post-Surgery Garment Guide

Having DIEP flap reconstruction is a major operation that needs thoughtful aftercare for optimal healing and comfort. Picking the right clothes to wear after surgery is an important step in this care. After a DIEP flap reconstruction, your body needs time to heal and adjust to the changes. The right post-surgery garments play an essential role in this process, offering support where it’s needed most, while also ensuring your comfort during the recovery phase. These garments are specifically designed to cater to your healing body, providing gentle compression to reduce swelling and support the newly reconstructed areas.

In this blog, Dr Bish Soliman, a respected plastic surgeon from Sydney, shares advice on choosing the right clothes to wear after DIEP Flap Reconstruction surgery. Dr Soliman aims to help you navigate through the selection process, offering practical tips on what to look for in recovery wear.

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Important Features of Post-Surgery Garments

When selecting post-surgery garments after a DIEP flap reconstruction, several features must be considered to ensure that the garment meets your recovery needs:

  • Comfort: Comfort is essential during the recovery phase. The garments you choose should be made from soft, breathable fabrics that do not irritate the skin. They should provide enough flexibility to allow for gentle movement, yet firm enough to offer the necessary support without causing discomfort.
  • Support: The primary function of post-surgery garments is to offer support to the surgical area. They should be designed to fit snugly, providing even compression across the reconstructed site. This support helps in reducing swelling, securing the surgical site, and promoting a smoother healing process.
  • Breathability and Fabric Type: The fabric of your post-surgery garment should be breathable to keep the skin dry and prevent any moisture build-up, which could lead to irritation or infection. Look for garments made from materials that allow air circulation and wick away moisture, ensuring that the skin remains dry and comfortable throughout the day.
  • Adjustable Features: As your body heals and swelling reduces, the fit of your garment will need to adjust. Opt for garments with adjustable features such as Velcro closures or hooks and eyes, which can be modified for a perfect fit throughout your recovery journey.

Choosing the Right Garment after DIEP Flap Surgery

It’s important to consider both your immediate post-surgery needs and how those needs may evolve as you heal:

Initial Days after Surgery

In the days following your DIEP flap reconstruction, the focus should be on wearing garments that are exceptionally gentle yet provide the necessary compression to support healing. During this period, swelling and discomfort are at their peak, making it essential to choose garments that are not only supportive but also easy to wear and remove. Features such as front closures are particularly beneficial as they allow for easy access to surgical sites without the need for excessive movement, which can be painful and potentially harmful to the healing process.

Weeks Following Surgery

As you progress through your recovery, the swelling will begin to subside, and your mobility will gradually improve. This phase allows for a transition to garments that offer a bit more structure and support to help shape and stabilise the healing tissue. It is also an opportune time to start wearing garments that are more form-fitting, as they can help in guiding the tissues to settle into their new contours, aiding in achieving a more desirable outcome from your surgery.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Garments

When selecting your post-surgery garments, several factors need to be considered to ensure that you choose the most suitable options for your recovery journey.

  • Fabric Type: The fabric of your post-surgery garment should be soft to prevent irritation, breathable to reduce the risk of moisture build-up, and elastic enough to provide support without restricting movement. Fabrics with antimicrobial properties are also recommended as they can help in reducing the risk of infection.
  • Design and Fit: The design and fit of the garment are important for ensuring effective support and comfort. Look for designs that conform to the specific areas of your body that require support, such as the abdomen and chest. The fit should be snug but not overly tight, as too much pressure can impede circulation and hinder the healing process.

Types of Post-Surgery Garments

There are different types of post-surgery garments available, each designed to meet different needs during the recovery process:

Compression Garments

Compression garments are essential for managing swelling and shaping the body post-surgery. They apply even pressure across the surgical area, which helps in reducing swelling and encouraging proper healing. Compression garments come in various forms, including bodysuits, shorts, and vests, allowing for targeted support depending on the areas affected by your surgery.

Surgical Bras

For those who have undergone breast reconstruction, a surgical bra is an indispensable part of the recovery wardrobe. These bras provide gentle support to the breasts, helping to reduce swelling and maintain the shape of the reconstruction. Look for surgical bras with no underwire, soft fabric, and adjustable straps for maximum comfort and support.

Abdominal Binders

Abdominal binders offer support to the abdomen and lower back, aiding in the healing of the donor site for the DIEP flap. They help in stabilising the abdomen, reducing discomfort, and supporting the spine, which can be beneficial in maintaining posture and reducing strain on the back during the recovery period.

Care and Maintenance of Post-Surgery Garments

Maintaining the cleanliness and integrity of your post-surgery garments is essential for ensuring their effectiveness and prolonging their use:

Washing Instructions

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing your post-surgery garments. Most garments are designed to be machine washable, but gentle cycles and air drying are recommended to preserve the fabric’s elasticity and compression qualities. Using mild, skin-friendly detergents can also prevent skin irritation.

When to Replace Your Garments

Over time, the elasticity of the garments may reduce due to regular use and washing. It’s important to regularly assess the condition of your garments and replace them if they start to lose their compression ability or show signs of wear and tear. Wearing well-maintained garments is important for continued support and comfort throughout your recovery.

Challenges with Post-Surgery Garments

Recovering from DIEP flap reconstruction involves not only physical healing but also adapting to new routines, including wearing post-surgery garments. While these garments are essential for your recovery, finding the right fit and dealing with sensitivity or discomfort can be challenging.

Dealing with Sensitivity and Discomfort

Post-surgery, your skin may be more sensitive than usual, and the idea of wearing tight garments can seem daunting. To manage sensitivity and discomfort, select garments with seamless designs and made from ultra-soft, non-irritating fabrics. Ensure that the compression level is adequate to support without causing undue pressure or pain. If discomfort persists, consult with Dr Soliman for advice or consider trying a different style or size that might suit your needs better.

Finding the Right Fit

A common challenge is finding a garment that fits well, especially as your body changes shape during the recovery process. Look for garments with adjustable features, such as straps and closures, that can be easily modified for a better fit as swelling decreases. It’s also advisable to have your measurements taken professionally, if possible, or to follow sizing guides provided by manufacturers closely. Remember, the right fit should feel supportive but not restrictive, allowing for some movement and not impeding circulation.

Adjustments and Alterations

Sometimes, even with careful selection, a garment might not fit perfectly. In such cases, consider having your garments professionally altered. Some manufacturers offer custom alteration services, or you might find a local tailor who can make small adjustments for a better fit. These adjustments can make a significant difference in comfort and effectiveness of the garment.

Night time Care: What to Wear to Sleep

After undergoing DIEP flap reconstruction, your body requires constant, gentle support to facilitate healing, even as you sleep. The significance of wearing the right nighttime garments cannot be overstated. These garments help to minimise swelling, maintain proper circulation, and support the delicate areas that are healing. Unlike daytime wear, nighttime garments need to strike a perfect balance between providing sufficient support and ensuring comfort to promote restful sleep, which is crucial for recovery. Wearing the appropriate attire can also prevent the incision sites from rubbing against the bedding, which might cause irritation or disrupt the healing process.

FAQs about Post-Surgery Garments – What to Wear after DIEP Flap Reconstruction

How soon after surgery should I start wearing post-surgery garments?

  • You should begin wearing post-surgery garments as soon as your plastic surgeon recommends it, which is often immediately after surgery. These garments are usually provided or suggested by your medical team before you leave the hospital. The timing can vary based on your specific procedure and individual recovery process, so it’s important to follow your surgeon’s guidance.

Can I wear post-surgery garments all day and night?

  • Yes, in most cases, it’s recommended to wear post-surgery garments continuously, day and night, especially in the initial weeks following your surgery. Continuous wear helps to ensure consistent support and compression, which are crucial for reducing swelling and promoting healing. However, you should have periods where you gently remove the garment for skin care and to check your incisions as advised by your plastic surgeon.

Will wearing a post-surgery garment affect the final results of my reconstruction?

  • Wearing the recommended post-surgery garments as directed can positively impact the final outcome of your reconstruction. These garments help to reduce swelling, support the newly reconstructed area, and can contribute to a more desirable final appearance by helping to shape the breast as it heals. Always follow Dr Soliman recommendations for the best results.

How many post-surgery garments do I need?

  • It’s a good idea to have at least two or three post-surgery garments so you can rotate them for washing and wearing. Keeping your garments clean is crucial to avoid infection. Having multiple garments ensures you won’t be without support while one is being laundered.

Further Reading about DIEP Flap Reconstruction with Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Bish Soliman

Medical References about Post-Surgery Garments

About Dr Bish Soliman

Dr Bish Soliman - Sydney Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, about us 01 2x
Specialist Plastic, Reconstructive and Cosmetic Surgeon
FRACS (Plas), MS (Plas), MBBS (Hons 1), BCom

AHPRA Registered Medical Practitioner MED 0001679053 Specialist Registration in Plastic Surgery

Dr Bish Soliman is a Sydney-based Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who performs aesthetic surgery of the face, breast, and body as well as skin cancer surgery.

He currently holds two consultant microsurgery positions in major Sydney hospitals performing complex microsurgical reconstruction including DIEP breast reconstruction.

After graduating from The King’s School, Dr Bish completed a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Sydney. After working briefly at a major Sydney finance firm, he decided to pursue his passion and long-term goal of a career in medicine. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame at the top of his class, receiving First class honours and the prestigious Bower and Sherrard medal. He then went on to complete his junior medical training at Westmead Hospital during which time he was awarded Junior Medical Officer (JMO) of the Year, as well as a finalist for NSW Doctor of the Year.


Next Steps

Do your Research

  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read the risks and complications page
  • Visit our procedure pages and Blogs to learn more about your intended procedure

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Dr Bish
  • Take notes during the consultation and review all the documents provided
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider your options
  • You may need to undress for a physical exam so wear comfortable clothes

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

  • Call us to find out more about surgery pricing and how you can pay for your surgery
  • Request more information about your procedure – call or contact us.

How to Book Your Consultation

  • A GP Medical Referral is now essential to see Dr Bish Soliman for any type of surgery.
  • You can book your consultation with Dr Bish Soliman by paying the consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment.

Contact Dr Bish Soliman’s team

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