Undergoing any surgical procedure is a significant journey, both physically and emotionally. Whether a mastectomy, breast augmentation, breast reduction, or reconstruction, you need to support your body on the road to recovery with a post-op bra.

Choosing a post-op bra isn’t as straightforward as picking your regular everyday bra. Several factors, from the material and design to the type of closure and adjustability, can impact how effective and comfortable the bra will be during your recovery period.

The right choice can enhance your healing experience, reducing complications and ensuring the post-operative phase is as smooth as possible.

The following guide will help you understand what to look for and how to ensure you’re making the best choice for your body and recovery journey. Our ABCOP and BOC-accredited fitters can help you choose the perfect post-op bra for your recovery.

Post-Op Bra

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Post-Op Bra

Picking a bra after breast surgery means looking at more than just aesthetics. The bra needs to provide optimal support for your breast tissues and chest wall while remaining comfortable. Some factors to consider when choosing a post-op bra include:

  • Comfort and Support

One of the biggest concerns following breast surgery is irritation to the skin around the surgical site. Bras with a seamless, wire-free design minimize friction and won’t dig into your breast tissue. 

Also, look for bras that feature a wide underbust band. This band provides most of the support in a bra, so the wider the band, the more supportive and comfortable your bra will be. 

  • Material and Breathability

Incisions and scar tissue need adequate airflow for proper healing. When shopping for a post-operative bra, choose ones crafted with a blend of cotton and polyester. 100% cotton bras, while breathable, tend to retain too much moisture, potentially irritating your skin or leading to infection. The addition of polyester to the blend helps wick away moisture and provides added stretch for a better fit.

  • Adjustability and Fit

All women’s bodies have different shapes and proportions. A post-op bra with adjustability features can help you achieve a more comfortable fit.

Look for broad, adjustable straps to help distribute the weight of the breasts better, ensuring that there’s no digging into the shoulders. The closure should have several rows of hook-and-eye fasteners to easily adjust the band size, allowing for changes in ribcage swelling or sensitivity.

If you have had a reconstruction with implants or tissue expanders, consider a post-op bra with removable cup pads, stretchy cups, or expandable cups to accommodate fluctuations in cup size.

  • Front Closure vs. Back Closure

Conventional bras typically feature a back closure because they offer more support than front closures. However, following breast surgery, you may experience tenderness around the chest and shoulders and a limited range of upper body motion. A front closure bra minimizes the need to twist or over-stretch when dressing, reducing the risk of injury.

  • Compression

Compression bras are ideal for wearing immediately after surgery. Gentle gradient pressure helps to increase blood flow to and from the surgical site, flooding your cells with nutrients to speed up healing. These bras also help to move lymph fluid away from the surgical site to prevent post-operative complications like swelling and lymphedema, which can lead to infection. 

Types of Post-Op Bras

You’ll need to wear different types of bras at various stages of your recovery. Some of the most essential garments to include in your post-surgery wardrobe include:

 Amoena Hannah Wire-Free Mastectomy Bra Kit

  • Surgical Bras

Surgical or post-surgical bras are created to stabilize breast tissue immediately after surgery. They are typically compression garments with front closures for essay dressing.

Post-op bras like the Amoena Hannah Wire-Free Mastectomy Bra Kit may also include pouches for surgical drain management and additional Velcro closures to access the surgical site to change wound dressings easily.

High-compression surgical bras are often worn for six to eight weeks after surgery during the initial healing phase. They may need to be worn longer if you have had an augmentation or reconstruction with implants; they help to prevent implant dislocation and help your new breast tissue retain its shape.

ABC Contour T-Shirt Mastectomy Bra

  • Wire-Free Bras

Wire-free bras have specially designed cups that provide ample support without the need for uncomfortable metal wires. The cups are typically made from foam and molded to shape the contours of your breasts. Many wire-free post-op bras like the ABC Contour T-Shirt Mastectomy Bra also have a seamless construction, making them some of the most comfortable bras in your closet.

Wire-free bras are suitable to wear after the wound site has healed and your doctor states that you no longer need compression therapy.

Anita Extreme Control Plus Sports Bra

  • Sports Bras

Exercise is integral to your post-surgical recovery and can aid with long-term healing and health. However, you need proper support to prevent excessive breast bounce and lateral movement, which can strain scar tissue and ligaments inside your breasts.

Sports bras are available in either compression or encapsulation variants. Compression sports bras gently press the breast tissue closer to the chest wall, while encapsulation sports bras lift and separate individual breasts.

Sports bras also come in varying support levels, from low impact to high. The level you need depends on the type of activity you enjoy. Low to moderate-impact bras are ideal for yoga and walking, while jogging, aerobics classes, or team sports need a high-impact bra, such as the Anita Extreme Control Plus Sports Bra.

Jodee “Soft and Smooth” Seamless Mastectomy Bra

  • Mastectomy Bras

Mastectomy bras are specifically designed for women who have undergone a full or partial mastectomy or lumpectomy as part of their breast cancer treatment. Bras like the Jodee “Soft and Smooth” Seamless Mastectomy Bra are made from ultra-soft, non-irritating fabrics, and feature pockets sewn into the cups to hold artificial breast forms.

If you choose to forgo a breast reconstruction after cancer surgery, a mastectomy bra should be an essential part of your wardrobe to help you regain your natural shape, balance, and symmetry. 

Tips on Selecting the Right Size

Finding the right size bra can be challenging, with up to 80% of women wearing the incorrect bra size. Too small bras can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous after breast surgery by not allowing adequate blood flow. Bras that are too large do not offer enough support.

Use our tips to follow to find the right bra size for your body after surgery:

  • Consult Your Surgeon

Before you even begin shopping, have a discussion with your surgeon. They will provide specific guidelines based on your surgical procedure, detailing the type of support needed and when it’s safe to transition from surgical bras to regular ones.

  • Measure Your Bust Size

Your bust size may have changed post-surgery, so getting updated measurements is crucial. Use a soft measuring tape to measure around the fullest part of your breasts and under your bust to determine the band size. Ensure the tape lies flat and isn’t too tight.

Remember, measurements serve as a starting point; you should still aim for a bra that offers the best comfort.

  • Try Different Sizes and Styles

Breast surgeries can alter your breasts’ shape, volume, and positioning. This means a style or size that was previously your favorite might not offer the best fit now. Try a variety of sizes, even if they’re outside your usual range.

Sister sizes (bras with the same cup volume but different cup and band sizes) can be an excellent option to help you find a precise fit across different brands. Also, explore different styles to find which feels the most comfortable and supportive.

  • Use a Fitting Service

A professional fitting service is the best way to find the right bra for your body. A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe is a specialty store that offers professional bra fitting services.

Our ABCOP-certified bra fitters are trained to help customers find the best fit, especially post-surgery. They consider factors like coverage, strap width, and closure type, providing personalized recommendations. Taking advantage of their expertise can simplify the process and ensure you invest in bras catering to your post-surgical needs.

Get the Right Post-Op Bra with A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe

The right post-op bra can speed up the healing process, allowing for a more comfortable recovery after breast surgery. The team at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe has the knowledge, expertise, and technology to help you find the ideal bra for your body.

Explore our range of surgical garments, or contact us to book your personalized fitting appointment.


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