Why are abdominal binders used?


Injury to any part especially to the abdomen is a very serious thing. And although pregnancy and delivery are natural things, delivery by caesarian section is technically a surgery which causes injury to the abdomen. Many men (because they do not have any experience of getting pregnant) often ask as to what happens or how is the feeling when once the baby is taken out.   The muscles of abdomen become loose and many times you feel that your abdomen is going to fall down. During other surgeries like bariatric surgery or hysterectomies, the patients have problems doing day to day activities. And hence abdomen binders are advised in such situations.


What is an Abdominal Binder?

It is like an elastic band which stretches to meet the two ends. Similarly, abdomen binder is a piece of cloth which can be stretched from two ends and joined behind the back. It is necessary to use a high quality material for abdominal binder because it is used regularly for at least a month after surgery and is put on by the patient for most part of  the day. Hence its durability and stretching ability should be of good quality. The texture of the abdominal binder should be soft and smooth enough not to cause any rashes and should be made of a material that is hypoallergenic to reduce chances of allergy. Depending upon the size of the abdomen, the binder should be chosen. The doctors mostly help out the patients in choosing one, before the surgery.


The most important function of abdominal binder is to put pressure on the incision site so that the blood circulation is proper and the swelling also is reduced. The abdominal binder holds the muscles of the abdomen together and support them. This makes it easier for the person with surgical incision to perform day to day activities. Although immediate recovery is not achieved by abdominal binder, it slowly gives strength to the weaker abdominal muscles. Once the muscles have become strong enough the  abdominal binder need not be used.


Which surgeries require an Abdominal Binder?

Abdominal binder is generally advised after abdominal hysterectomy or caesarian incision.  Abdominal hysterectomy is carried out for removing the uterus due to some infection or problem. The surgical incision is made in lower belly and is of five to seven inches length. The patient takes a period of four to six weeks for recovery which is comparatively more than required during vaginal hysterectomy. Hence doctors advise abdominal binder so as to make performing daily activities easier. After  delivering a baby, abdominal binders are suggested to give support to the abdominal muscles.


Although these may look like some old fashioned ideas from the grandmother's traditional closet, only the people whose abdomen has gone under knife understand the pain one goes through without these binders. These are also used after Abdominoplasty which is a treatment to tuck your tummy. Here the abdominal binder works to give shape to the torso.


What are the different types of abdominal binders?

There are two types of abdominal binder:

Stage 1 Binder : These binders are very strong and bulky and  advised mostly when the surgery is very intensive and the binders have to be used all the time during the initial week as the surgical wounds start healing up.

Stage 2 Binder : Stage 2 Binder are not used right after surgery as they don't give as much support as the Stage 1 binders. These types of binders are very flexible, stretchable and convenient for use. You can easily put it on after some days on your own without anyone's help.

These binders are advised depending upon the length of the incision and type of surgery.  The stage 1 Binders have provision to adjust the fluctuating swellings more common immediately after surgery while the stage 2 Binders have Velcro lock and loop adjoining.

One of the important factors to be considered before buying an abdominal binder is to check whether your insurance covers the cost for the binders. Many health policies have cover for the various post surgical treatments and materials. So, check with your insurance guy first before buying abdominal binder on your own.