While recovering from breast cancer surgery, a critical consideration is finding the right post-mastectomy bra. A post-mastectomy bra is vital to support your chest wall and remaining breast tissue as you heal. Many post-mastectomy bras have features that facilitate faster healing and allow your body to regain shape and symmetry.
However, you need to carefully think about several considerations before making your purchase.
Choose a Suitable Breast Form
If you choose to forgo breast reconstruction, you may consider breast forms to enhance your shape. In addition to choosing the right mastectomy bra, you also need to select breast prostheses that either match your remaining breast (if you have a unilateral mastectomy) or are proportionate to your body shape.
Factors to consider when choosing a breast form include:
If you are unsure what size or type of breast form to choose, a certified mastectomy fitter at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe can help you select the right breast form for your body and lifestyle. They’ll take accurate chest wall measurements, factoring in your remaining breast and scar tissue to find the ideal shape and cup size.
Triangle-shaped breast forms are ideal if you have a broad chest wall or a shallow bust projection. The tapered corners extend from the center of your chest to under your arm, providing volume and making your breast appear more even.
Teardrop-shaped breast forms are suitable for women with more breast tissue volume below the nipple and an average cup profile. Round or oval-shaped breast forms add even volume above and below the nipple and have more bust projection.
Consider an American Breast Care custom breast prosthesis for the most realistic breast form. ABC custom breast forms offer the same appearance and weight as natural breasts. At A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe, we use state-of-the-art 3D scanning technology to take digital images of your chest wall and send the data, along with your skin tone selection, to the ABC fabrication facility.
Decide What Type of Bra You Need
The type of mastectomy bra you need depends on the stage of your recovery. After surgery, you need a firm support bra made of ultra-soft breathable materials to facilitate healing. Once healed, you need seamless bras to wear every day. Then, when you get permission from your doctor to begin exercising again, you need a supportive sports bra to minimize breast movement. Common mastectomy bra types include:
For immediate use after surgery, you need a recovery bra or compression vest. These post-surgical bras apply gentle pressure to the chest wall to prevent fluid build-up and promote blood circulation. This prevents common post-surgical complications such as lymphedema and infection.
The Amoena Pamela Seamless High Compression Bra is hygienically prepared for immediate clinical use in the operating room. Pre-formed flexible cups provide even pressure over the entire chest wall for optimal tissue stabilization. It features a zippered front closure and over-the-shoulder Velcro straps, allowing for easy dressing if you have limited mobility post-surgery.
Seamless Pocketed Bras
If you have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy and did not receive a breast reconstruction, you need a pocketed bra to hold your breast forms in place. Look for seamless designs to minimize irritation around your surgical site, ensuring they are comfortable to wear daily.
The ABC T-Shirt Mastectomy Bra with Soft Molded Cups is constructed with a thin layer of foam in the bra cups for shaping and support. It also features Power Mesh panels under the arm and padded straps for added comfort. The seamless, non-patterned design makes it ideal for wearing under any outfit, even tight-fitting garments.
When you are ready to start exercising again, you need supportive sports bras to reduce breast bounce and prevent strain on the surgical site. Mastectomy sports bras should also feature moisture-wicking fabric to help manage perspiration and regulate your temperature.
The Anita Extreme Control Post Mastectomy Bra offers superior support for high-impact activity. The three-section cups compress and encapsulate the breast tissue or forms to reduce breast movement significantly. The padded, ergonomically-tailored straps won’t slip down your shoulders during your workout, and the mesh fabric back panel ensures optimal ventilation to keep you cool and dry.
Choose the Right Material
After breast surgery, you may notice increased sensitivity around your chest wall during the healing process. When choosing a post-surgical bra, it is crucial to find models constructed from materials that won’t irritate your surgical site. You should also look for bras made from materials that offer moderate stretch for a more comfortable fit and fabrics with breathable knit or weave.
Cotton is an excellent option for its softness and breathability, making it ideal for leisure or recovery bras. However, it doesn’t offer much elasticity and tends to absorb moisture rather than wick it away. The best option is to choose a bra made with a cotton blend, such as cotton-elastane, polyester-cotton, or cotton blended with Lycra®.
Determine Your Budget
Mastectomy bras come in a range of prices, and due to their premium construction, high-quality materials, and added features, they often cost slightly more than standard bras.
Following breast cancer surgery, you should ideally have at least two to three bras so you can alternate them and wear one while you wash the other. This also prevents premature wear and tear.
Fortunately, many insurance providers offer coverage for mastectomy bras and breast forms to get the care and support you need after surgery. The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 (WHCRA) ensures that insurance companies cover the cost of necessary mastectomy products as part of your breast cancer surgery.
Many insurance companies provide four to six mastectomy bras per year as part of their standard coverage. However, the bra style may impact your eligibility to make a claim. Most insurance only covers bras designed with pockets or built-in forms.
The A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe team makes it easy to file a claim. We’ll contact the insurance department responsible for reviewing insurance claims so we can verify your benefits. Then, simply use our convenient online portal to fill out your file claim and paperwork.
Make Sure You Get a Good Fit
Fit is crucial for a mastectomy bra. A bra that is too small will dig in uncomfortably, and an oversized bra may not offer the support you need. Visiting a certified mastectomy bra fitter can ensure you find a perfect-fitting bra.
You should schedule a visit for a post-surgical compression bra and a recovery bra before your surgery. This ensures that you have them ready to wear immediately after leaving the operating room.
Once the initial swelling has subsided (typically after six to eight weeks), make a second appointment to get fitted for an everyday pocketed mastectomy bra.
Find the Ideal Mastectomy Bra With A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe
If you are shopping for a mastectomy bra to support your recovery, contact A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe to schedule a personalized fitting. Our ABCOP-certified fitters will provide compassionate care and use their extensive knowledge to help you find the perfect mastectomy bra for your body and lifestyle.