Abdominal binders after surgery

Updated April 17, 2017

You might think that thick, white girdles to cinch in the abdomen are something that belongs in your grandmother's closet, or are reserved for use under skin-tight black dresses. But wearing an abdominal binder--much like a girdle--often can be beneficial after abdominal surgeries.

Surgeries Requiring Abdominal Binders

Abdominal binders are often used after many surgeries affecting the abdominal area. Abdominoplasty--a tummy tuck--is a common surgery that requires the use of a surgical binder. Additionally, some Cesarean sections, hysterectomies and bariatric surgeries necessitate using a binder. This is due mainly to the incisions made in each of these surgeries.


The main purpose of the abdominal binder is to lend support to the area that has experienced severe trauma. Patients who undergo a surgery that requires a large abdominal incision often wear a binder to relieve the pressure applied to the incision and assist in healing. The binder also can help the patient handle everyday activities, such as coughing, laughing and walking.

Additionally, the binder's constriction of the abdominal area can aid circulation in the area and reduce post-operative swelling, which aids in surgical recovery.

Abdominoplasty patients also wear an abdominal binder to help reshape their torsos after cosmetic surgery.

Stage 1 Binder

For more extensive surgeries, patients need two abdominal binders. The first, or stage 1 binder, is thick and highly-restricting. This binder is usually worn constantly, depending on the doctor's orders, for about a week, while the surgical area is in the first stages of healing.

Stage 2 Binder

Once a patient has graduated from a stage 1 binder, her doctor might recommend a different binder for prolonged use. A stage 2 binder is less bulky and more convenient to wear, strongly resembling the elastic girdles commonly sold in department stores. Depending on the doctor's orders, the patient might not need to wear the stage 2 binder constantly.

Using the Binder

Typically, you wrap an abdominal binder around your torso and secure it with Velcro fasteners. Stage 1 binders are adjustable to ensure a proper fit as post-operative swelling fluctuates.

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About the Author

Kristen Radford Price began writing in 2005 for her campus newspaper. She has served as a feature writer for the life-and-style section of the "Daily Herald," a contributor to "Utah Valley Weekly," an editor for a small publishing house and now as director of communications for an Internet company. Radford has a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Brigham Young University.