An abdominal binder is a wide compression belt that encircles your abdomen. Abdominal binders come in many sizes and widths. Most are made from elastic and have Velcro or hook and loop closures. Some abdominal binders offer secondary lumbar support. Others have straps that hold surgical drainage tubes in place.
An abdominal binder may be used to speed-up the recovery process after abdominal surgery. Your doctor may recommend that you wear an abdominal binder after:
- a caesarean section
- bariatric surgery
- an exploratory laparotomy
- a hysterectomy
- a tummy tuck
- spinal surgery
A carefully-positioned abdominal binder may be used in people with spinal cord injury to help:
- Wearing an abdominal binder may decrease post-operative pain.
- It may also decrease psychological distress following your procedure.
- They also may promote deep breathing.
After surgery, an abdominal binder is thought to:
- support your surgical incision
- relieve pain
- get you moving more
- reduce swelling
There’s not a lot of scientific evidence on the benefits of abdominal binders. A 2014 systematic review found that abdominal binders may decrease early post-operative pain and reduce psychological distress. There’s some evidence abdominal binders may also promote coughing and deep breathing after surgery, and improve overall mobility.
More research is needed to prove abdominal binders definitively help prevent fluid build-up (seroma) after abdominal surgery or improve overall physical function.
Using an abdominal binder after a hysterectomy may help:
- hold your abdominal muscles together to relieve pain
- increase circulation at your surgical site to promote healing and decrease swelling
- make physical activity more comfortable
- strengthen abdominal muscles