Fat Grafting Breast Reconstruction Garments
Fat grafting breast reconstruction garments will vary depending on your particular procedure and where the fat is taken from to be injected back into your breasts. The practice of using compression garments also varies among plastic surgeons.
Fat grafting is done to achieve symmetry after implants are placed or autologous flap surgery is done. There are often areas that have a look of indentation or a divot after phase one of DIEP flap or after implants are placed for breast reconstruction. These are the areas that benefit from fat grafting. It was my experience that a fuller, smoother and more uniform look to my breasts was achieved from both of my fat grafting procedures. The appearance of your breasts when you wake up from surgery will be slightly different after six months due to a couple of factors; you are swollen after surgery and some of the fat will be reabsorbed by your body over approximately a six month period. In other words, what your breasts look like six months after your fat grafting is likely the final “look” of the breasts.
Garments: First fat grafting
I have had two different fat grafting procedures and woke up with different compression garments each time. These garments are used to reduce swelling. Fat was taken from my outer thighs for the first fat grafting procedure I had done four months after phase one of my DIEP flap. This is the garment I woke up in along with the surgical bra. It was difficult to pull on and off but luckily it was crotch-less so it made going to the bathroom much easier. Ask your plastic surgeon if they can supply an extra one for you to take home for laundering and keeping a clean one on hand. I wore mine 24/7 for a period of two weeks.
Garments: Second fat grafting
Fat was taken from my flank, a.k.a. “love handles”, and outer thigh area for the last and final fat grafting I had done. This was done fifteen months after my initial fat grafting and as I write this blog I am exactly one month out from that surgery. This time I woke up in an abdominal binder and again, a surgical bra. I wore the surgical bra 24/7 for two weeks then switched to this supportive bra with a bit of form to it. I prefer my Soma bras because Soma trains their personnel to work with and be sensitive to post mastectomy and reconstruction patients. Here is the photo of the wireless support bra I have from them as well as the style number.
The abdominal binder has three folds and can seem a bit tricky to put on properly. I decided to make a video with my nurse from PRMA realizing I was wearing it upside down for a few days after phase one of my DIEP flap. PRMA also wrote a blog to accompany the video. It walks you through the ABC’s of putting that abdominal binder on. I wore it for about 3-4 days after my surgery then switched to this commercial abdominal panty support. I like this one because of the ease in putting it on and the soft material and the support I felt while wearing it.
I’m on my way!
Wearing these garments is not the most glamorous or comfortable. The summer heat doesn’t lend itself to wearing added clothing, obviously. The support garment had a high waist and came to my mid-thigh area. Putting pants or shorts on over the support garment was warm and there was always that faint line at the mid-thigh where you could see where it ended. I wore skirts with the support garment when I would go out or had a meeting. It was cooler and easier to dress. You will likely be able to return to work by the second week or sooner after this surgery so I wanted to share that “fashion secret” with you!
I took my first walk this morning without my abdominal support garment on. Ahhhhh, freedom! What I realized is this; you become dependent on the support and compression provided by the garments. Not having it on forced me to think about my posture more, which I think is a good thing. I try to be aware of pulling those core muscles in and keeping my shoulders back to achieve that long line of posture and relieve the pressure on your back. Signing up for that Pilates class on Groupon is going to help, too, and I can’t wait to start this week!
I hope this gives you insight to what I feel are some true benefits of compression garments after the fat grafting phase of breast reconstruction.