What is an Abdominal Binder?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
An abdominal binder may be prescribed for patients who suffer from lower back pain.
An abdominal binder may be prescribed for patients who suffer from lower back pain.

Sometimes after back injury or surgery to the abdomen, doctors may recommend the use of an abdominal binder. Though there are many variations on this piece of medical equipment, it can be said that most are large pieces of somewhat elasticized fabric that fit snugly around the abdomen and the upper hips. Most feature an attachment of some kind, made of materials like Velcro® that allow for slight adjustment of the binder for different sized people.

An abdominal binder may be used after surgical procedures.
An abdominal binder may be used after surgical procedures.

When people have suffered minor lower back injuries or have significant lower back pain, doctors or related medical professionals like chiropractors, can prescribe an abdominal binder. Usually, they simply ask patients to pick one up from a local drug store where several types may be available. It’s thought that the compression on the back helps to keep the back in better position, and it also supports the abdomen. This may help reduce some back pain and promote more ergonomic sitting and standing positions. Binders in drugs stores do come in several sizes to accommodate people with diverse waist and hip measurements.

Abdominal binders may help provide support for stomach and back muscles during pregnancy.
Abdominal binders may help provide support for stomach and back muscles during pregnancy.

After a number of surgical procedures, surgeons may also advocate the use of an abdominal binder. The compression of the binder is thought to help keep organs in place and promote better breathing function. Hospitals generally choose binders that allow for putting in drainage tubes to surgery sites if needed. Sometimes the surgical area is merely wrapped closely in stretchy fabrics or fabrics like gauze and this material can be cut in places to allow for tube placement if needed.

An abdominal binder may help reduce cramping.
An abdominal binder may help reduce cramping.

Other surgical procedures that may necessitate the use of an abdominal binder include things like liposuction. Alternately sometimes women will wear one after a Cesarean section, or after natural childbirth to help aid in compression. Additional uses for the binder could be to help with abdominal or pelvic cramping, bladder problems, Braxton-Hicks contractions, or to minimize movement of hernias prior to surgery. In regard to binders used during pregnancy, most are much smaller in width and fit underneath the belly, and these may help provide additional support for stomach and back muscles that are put under strain as pregnancy progresses.

On rare occasions, people wear an abdominal binder as a means of pulling in the stomach for purely cosmetic reasons. Girdles or other support garments may be more effective than binders, but some people may still prefer binders. It is important than binders not be attached so tightly that they inhibit breathing, and in this respect foundation underwear and similar garments might be a better choice. Moreover they tend to be less bulky under clothing.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

anon153367

Does anyone have experience with an abdominal binder applied in recovery after laparoscopic gall bladder surgery?

galen84basc

@naturesgurl3 -- I've never used one, but from what I understand, it's more for abdominal support than for tummy reduction.

Most of the women I know who have used one say they're great for back and stomach support after pregnancy -- but I don't think it could do anything to shrink your stomach.

For that you just have to do it the hard way -- healthy diet and exercise!

naturesgurl3

Has anybody ever used an abdominal binder after pregnancy?

I've heard that some women say it can reduce your baby belly.

Does anybody have any experience with this?

EarlyForest

Did you know they even have pediatric abdominal binders?

They are often used for support in children who have to have a pain pump or abdominal catheter, but it can also be used to promote a normal development of the chest wall and prevent the ribs from flaring.

Some people even use it to correct posture!

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    • An abdominal binder may be prescribed for patients who suffer from lower back pain.
      An abdominal binder may be prescribed for patients who suffer from lower back pain.
    • An abdominal binder may be used after surgical procedures.
      An abdominal binder may be used after surgical procedures.
    • Abdominal binders may help provide support for stomach and back muscles during pregnancy.
      Abdominal binders may help provide support for stomach and back muscles during pregnancy.
    • An abdominal binder may help reduce cramping.
      An abdominal binder may help reduce cramping.