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What Is a Stomach Binder?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 27, 2021

Stomach binders are known by a variety of names, including girdles, longuettes, trusses, and abdominal belts.

Regardless of what you call it, a stomach binder is a wide piece of material, much like a belt, which is made to fasten around your torso. There are either fixtures attached to the material that you use to keep the binder in place, or you tie it in place with the cloth ends.

How Is a Stomach Binder Used?

It’s often used to protect your abdominal area after surgery. It should be a comfortable fit that doesn’t cause pain or shortness of breath. It’s usually kept on until you get discharged from the hospital or until your doctor says it’s okay to remove it.

Stomach binders are commonly used to aid recovery after surgery. The main goal is to reduce restlessness, prevent certain complications with your surgery wound, and help with mobility.

Stomach binders have also been used after surgery to support other treatments and provide psychological support.

They may help ease your pain after abdominal surgery.

They may also lower your chances of having a seroma, which is a buildup of fluid after surgery. More research is needed to know for sure, though.

The two most common types of stomach binders are elastic and non-elastic binders. Elastic is flexible and allows you to move comfortably, while nonelastic is more constricting. The flexibility of elastic binders encourages more activity after surgery.

Always talk to your doctor before wearing a stomach binder. They can let you know if it may cause problems for you.

Possible Risks

They may be linked to a higher risk for problems like:

Reasons You Might Use a Stomach Binder

Your doctor might recommend one after you get one of these procedures. Ask them to explain the potential risks and benefits to you.

Tummy tuck. It’s common to wear a stomach binder for 6 weeks after getting a tummy tuck. Doing this could help the healing process by adding support to your stomach and helping to prevent any buildup of fluid.

C-section. Wearing one after having a cesarean may help ease pain.

Hysterectomy. A stomach binder might help someone heal faster.

Gastric bypass surgery. Using a stomach binder may help your recovery.

Tips and Cautions

Using a stomach binder can be helpful when you’re recovering from a surgery, but discuss it with your doctor first. There are general recommendations for you to consider, including:

  • If you have a condition called intra-abdominal hypertension, don’t wear a binder for too long.
  • Make sure not to fit it on too tightly, and talk to your doctor if you’re having any bladder pain or pressure issues.
  • If you have the option, choose an elastic stomach binder instead of the nonelastic kind.
  • While stomach binders should fit snug around your torso, using one shouldn’t interfere with your ability to breathe normally.

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Critical Care Nursing Quarterly: “Guarding the Gut Early Mobility After Abdominal Surgery.”

Clinical Obesity: “Guidelines for the follow-up of patients undergoing bariatric surgery.”

Cureus: “Use of Abdominal Binders after a Major Abdominal Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”

Danish Medical Journal: “Abdominal binders may reduce pain and improve physical function after major abdominal surgery – a systematic review.”

Kansas Journal of Medicine: “Elastic Abdominal Binders Reduce Cesarean Pain Postoperatively: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial.”

Mayo Clinic: “Tummy tuck.”

Saudi Medical Journal: “The effect of different types of abdominal binders on intra-abdominal pressure”

Spinal Cord: “Abdominal binder use in people with spinal cord injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis.”

Surgical Innovation: “The Clinical Effects of Abdominal Binder on Abdominal Surgery: A Meta-analysis.”

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