The days and weeks after your mastectomy surgery is a critical time when your body needs to heal and recover. A big part of your recovery is staying comfortable and relaxed to allow your body to heal itself, and a post-surgical bra offers the features you need to support you through your recovery.
Why Do You Need a Post-Surgical Bra?
A post-surgical bra is an essential part of your post-mastectomy wardrobe and not only keeps you comfortable but also helps you heal. Your body will undergo significant changes after a mastectomy which means your old bras will neither fit nor provide the necessary support after surgery. However, there are a variety of post-surgical mastectomy bras that can help you to recover in comfort.
Bras You Need Post Surgery
Due to your body’s unique needs post-surgery, you need a selection of bras that can offer you comfort and support during and after your recovery. Here are the different types of bras you need for your wardrobe post-surgery.
During your final consultations before mastectomy surgery, your doctor may suggest purchasing a compression bra to use immediately after your mastectomy. This is especially important for women who are also undergoing additional lumpectomy surgery to remove lymph nodes under the arms.
Compression bras help to reduce the risk of lymphedema after surgery. Lymphedema occurs when lymph fluid (part of your body’s natural immune response) builds up in the tissues around your wound site and some cases in your extremities, causing excessive and persistent swelling.
Lymphedema can increase your risk of infection and health complications following your surgery, so it is essential to take preventative measures to help move lymph fluid away from the wound site.
Compression bras are an effective way to decrease the risk of lymphedema but applying gentle but firm pressure at strategic sites on your chest, underarms, and back to encourage blood flow and prevent lymph build up. This can also help to speed up the recovery process by flooding the wound sites with nutrients.
Some effective and comfortable compression bras to add to your post-mastectomy wardrobe include:
The Anita compression bra is constructed from a unique blend of cotton, nylon, elastane, and polyester that offers firm compression and support during your recovery while still feeling soft and gentle to your skin.
It features a front zippered closure with additional hook-and-eye fasteners underneath for easier dressing, and wide underbust and back bands prevent rolling or digging into sensitive skin. The over-the-shoulder Velcro closures also facilitate easy dressing and allow better access for medical staff for wound care.
The bra can also be purchased with an optional post-operative belt which utilizes the same ergonomic design but has a compression belt attached at the back which is then fastened at the front with Velcro to provide additional compression to the chest. This option is perfect for women who have elected to have breast reconstruction at the same time as their mastectomy as the belt can anchor your implants to prevent dislocation.
The Anita 1100 Lymphofit compression bra features a textured design in addition to compression fabric to help massage the subcutaneous tissues and lymph vessels to help reduce lymph build-up.
In addition to balanced compression points across the chest and breast area, the bra also has compression side panels for underarm drainage after node removal, while the extra wide back panel provides additional support and comfort.
Breast forms are not typically recommended immediately after surgery to minimize irritation to the surgical sites and chest wall. So, the Lymphofit bra does not come with pockets for your breast forms which allows the bras to apply firm pressure to the chest wall.
Following your surgery you may feel some tenderness that can radiate from the wound site down your arms, though this is temporary, it can make simple activities like dressing difficult. The ABC 519 compression bra features a simple zip front closure and Velcro straps, so you don’t need to overextend your arms when you dress.
It also features seamless molded cups for comfort and shape, and to evenly distribute compression across the chest. Side panels are designed with an anatomical seam to lie flat against your body and prevent irritation to sensitive skin. And each cup features built in cotton pockets for holding lightweight breast forms.
After you have left the hospital, you need to make your recovery at home as comfortable as possible. A properly fitted recovery bra offers ample features to transition you from post-surgery through your recovery period.
When shopping for a recovery bra, look for bras constructed from soft, breathable materials such as cotton or cotton blends. These fabrics regulate your body temperature and allow for better air circulation around the incision site to encourage faster healing.
Also, look for features that allow you to dress easily and facilitate easier wound care, including cleaning and redressing.
Other features include adjustable straps and closures, and wide bands and panels that allow you to create a custom, comfortable fit. Here are some of our favorite recovery bras.
Unfortunately, for many women mastectomy surgery is only the beginning of their breast cancer treatment. Following surgery, you may need to have chemotherapy or radiation therapy. The Amoena 2161 Theraport Post Surgery bra is the ideal undergarment to wear during radiation therapy due to some of its unique design features.
The bra offers seamless construction from a soft cotton blend fabric and features hook-and-loop fasteners over the shoulder in place of standard straps which are held with Velcro. This allows you to receive radiation treatment without fully undressing.
The side panels sit low under the arms to accommodate a catheter and allow for accurate dosage, while the extra-long under bust bands sit comfortably around irradiation sites and can hold drainage pouches securely.
During your recovery period, you may need to retain your drainage tubes to minimize the fluid buildup even after you have left the hospital. In the absence of qualified medical staff, you must change drainage pouches yourself which is why the Allyson Post-Surgical bra by Wear Ease has been designed to accommodate dual removable drainage pouches that are worn discreetly inside your bra.
The bra also features gliding satin adjustable straps and a high cotton content for a soft and comfortable fit as well as an extra wide under bust band for superior support.
It fastens at the front with a zippered closure for easy dressing and features interior bilateral pockets in the cups for breast forms so you can continue to wear the bra long after you have recovered.
With over 80% cotton and just a hint of spandex, the Classique 800 is designed to form to the contours of your body while still letting your skin breathe. It closes at the front with a lined Velcro patch to prevent snagging or scratches and has wide elasticized straps which connect to an ergonomic racerback design for better comfort.
Inside the soft cups are cotton pockets for holding lightweight breast forms if your doctor has permitted you to do so.
It can take anywhere from several weeks to several months before your body completely heals depending on your treatment program and your immune system. However, once your incision site has closed over, you may consider wearing leisure bras with breast forms to help you regain your body confidence.
Leisure bras are the perfect solution for transitioning from post-surgical garments to everyday items. They are still constructed from ultra soft materials and typically do not feature unnecessary embellishments which could irritate your skin. Most leisure bras offer features that allow you to wear lightweight foam or silicone breast forms to help you achieve balance and symmetry.
The Amoena 2128 Frances bra with its high cotton content and ergonomic racerback design is so comfortable you can even wear it while sleeping. It features front fastening closure, so it is simple to put on and take off and has wide side and back panels for optimal support and comfort.
The Frances comes in a huge range of sizes from XS to XXL, and an impressive variety of colors and prints including peach blossom and blue python.
The Coobie 9060 Comfort bra is the perfect basic mastectomy bra to add to your wardrobe. It provides incredible support and comfort without the need for fasteners through specialized stretch fabric that fits snugly to your body while still offering plenty of flexibility.
The seamless design stops the bra irritating your skin, while the wide under bust band prevents the bra from rolling up. It also features removable cup pads for added coverage over your chest.
The ABC Leisure bra style 110 is so comfortable to wear you will want one in every color – and there are nine colors and patterns available. Constructed from stretch cotton/spandex blend to form to and hug your body and featuring a simple front hook-and-eye closure, the ABC Leisure bra is a must have for your post-surgical wardrobe.
Seamless bras are a great way to introduce your body to wearing standard mastectomy bras. They offer the soft comfort of leisure bras with the shaping and support of an underwire without the need for any wires.
Seamless bras are also ideal for wearing discreetly under any outfit, including tight fitting garments and t-shirts and offers several features to help hold breast forms to help you feel like yourself again. Here are some of the best seamless mastectomy bras to add to your wardrobe.
The Jodee Soft and Smooth bra is constructed from an ultra soft microfiber which is gentle to your skin and keeps garments lying flat. It offers excellent coverage for surgical scars and breast forms including a beautiful lace stretch lace panel between the cups.
The wide adjustable straps are padded for added comfort and evenly distributes the weight of breast tissue and breast forms across your shoulders. The molded cups help to give your silhouette shape and definition, and each cup contains a soft cotton pocket to hold breast forms securely.
The Anita 5722X Salvia post mastectomy bra comes in front fastening and back fastening models. The soft modal microfiber prevents irritation, and a soft toweled lining underneath the underbust bands and straps helps to keep them in place. Preformed cups feature soft interior pockets for breast forms, and the seamless construction keeps you comfortable all day long.
For a seamless bra that is as supportive in the back as it is in front, the Amoena 2463 Magdalena Smoothing bra is for you. Featuring a high back and side panels to hold and support your body, and stretch bonded fabric to smooth your silhouette, this bra is designed for full-figured women to help you feel your best in your clothes.
Soft, wide straps offer additional support and provide a more custom fit, and each of cups has microfiber pockets for your breast forms.
How to Find the Right Fit
To find the perfect fitting compression and recovery bra, schedule an appointment with a certified professional fitter at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe before your surgery. Our compassionate ABCOP and BOC accredited fitters understand how compression technology works and can adjust the size of the bra to accommodate swelling after surgery.
For leisure and seamless bras, it is essential to wait approximately 4-6 weeks after surgery to ensure that the swelling has subsided, and your chest has returned to its original size. This will allow the fitter to obtain the most accurate measurements and find you the most comfortable fitting post-surgical bras.
If you are undergoing mastectomy surgery as part of your treatment, call A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe at (954)-568-8904 to talk to our friendly all-female staff about how a post-surgical bra can help you through your recovery.