A post-surgical bra can offer comfort, support, and protection to women who have undergone breast cancer. Post-surgical bras are designed specifically for women after breast surgery, with features that both promote healing and provide security.
Learn who needs to wear a post-surgical bra and what features to look for.
Common Breast Cancer Surgeries
If you have breast cancer, you may require surgery to remove part or all of your breast.
Mastectomy, the most common breast cancer surgery, treats both early-stage and late-stage breast cancer. Some women need a total mastectomy, which removes the entire breast up to the chest muscle. Other women undergo a double mastectomy to remove both breasts or a single mastectomy if the cancer has not spread.
A lumpectomy is sometimes called breast-conserving surgery because only part of the breast tissue is removed. When the tumor is still relatively small, there is a chance the surgeon can remove the lump and surrounding tissue without removing the entire breast.
Following a mastectomy or lumpectomy, many women opt for reconstructive surgery to restore their natural silhouette. Reconstructive surgery could mean breast implants, silicone shells filled with saline or silicone gel that look like natural breasts, or autologous reconstruction, which uses tissues from other areas of your body to reconstruct your breast.
Features to Look for in a Post-Surgical Mastectomy Bra
If you have undergone surgery on your breasts, your doctor or plastic surgeon may have recommended wearing a post-surgery bra in the weeks following to assist with your recovery. Post-surgical bras have specific features that fit the needs of women after breast surgery.
In general, the best mastectomy bras have some or all these features:
- Soft seams or seamless construction
- Adjustable straps
- Wide padded straps
- Over-the-shoulder Velcro straps
- Wide underband
- Minimal detailing
- Full cups with cup separation
- Deep panels on the sides and in front
- No underwire
- A specialized knit that offers targeted compression
Mastectomy surgery can block or damage your lymph nodes, leading to fluid accumulation in your soft tissue. When the lymph nodes can’t drain the excess fluid, you may develop lymphedema, which presents as swollen limbs, bodily tightness or trouble moving your joints, hair loss, or difficulty sleeping.
Post-surgical bras offer gentle compression that reduces your risk of developing lymphedema. This gentle pressure improves lymph and blood circulation and floods the surgical site with vital nutrients and proteins that can speed up healing.
Some surgical swelling is normal following breast cancer surgery and should lessen six to eight weeks following your procedure. A compression garment can help alleviate the discomfort and heaviness you feel during this period.
Surgical Site Management
Keeping your surgical site clean is crucial so bacteria cannot enter the wound after breast cancer surgery. You may have surgical drains that need frequent changing, dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches, steristrips, or a pressure dressing to consider.
Post-surgery bras can help you effectively care for your wound. Many surgical bras have drain tube pouches, front closures for easy access to the surgical site, access for drain ports, and Velcro straps that make changing dressings easier.
Do not wear an underwire bra during early recovery, as the wire may pinch or scratch at the surgical site. This can be highly uncomfortable and may damage the site or destroy your stitches.
Breast Implant Security
A surgical bra can help keep your new implants securely in place if you have had reconstructive surgery following breast surgery. It typically takes three to six months for breast implants to settle.
Wearing a surgical bra helps prevent implant dislocation during healing. Implants can get displaced and shift higher up on the chest wall or move under the armpit. Mild compression keeps your breasts in place after a breast augmentation with implants.
A sports bra is an excellent mastectomy bra option for women who want to engage in high-impact activities like exercising or hiking. Post-surgical sports bras with underbust bands and wide straps for bounce reduction can protect your chest so you can reap the benefits of exercise without worrying about damage or slippage.
The Marena Sports Bra with Zipper and Pockets is a front closure bra that offers support during high-impact activities like jogging or aerobics. It features pockets sewn into the bra cups to hold lightweight foam or aerated silicone breast forms and has a 1” wide underbust band and functionally tailored straps for optimal support.
Schedule a Bra Fitting With Us Today
Every woman has different needs after breast cancer surgery. Whether you’ve undergone reconstructive surgery or use a prosthesis as an artificial breast, it is vital to get a professional bra fitting before selecting a post-op bra.
The licensed, professional BOC-certified fitters at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe are experts at finding the perfect post-mastectomy bras or breast forms for every client. Your post-surgical bras or prostheses may be covered by your insurance company. We communicate directly with the insurance company to get you all eligible benefits.