A lot changes after breast cancer surgery. As a woman, you’ve been through a significant turning point that requires not only physical but emotional healing. Before your mastectomy, shopping for the right bra may have been a simple process, but your post-mastectomy body now presents several new challenges that complicate bra shopping.
Give yourself time to adjust to your new post-mastectomy body. Recognize and process the changes you’ve been through, and use this as you look for the right bra for you. Give yourself the grace to be unsure and uncomfortable as you relearn what fits your body and what makes you feel good. With some basic information and guidelines, it is easy to learn how to wear a bra, what to look for, and ultimately you’ll find a bra you adore.
What to Expect After Surgery
Regardless of the type of breast surgery you’ve undergone, it will take time to heal fully. Throughout this time, you must support the healing process by wearing the right garments with the features you need for optimal recovery.
Whether you’ve had your breasts reconstructed, had a lumpectomy, a bilateral mastectomy, or have implants, any kind of breast surgery will require you to wear specialist post-surgical garments.
Your doctor will advise you to wear surgery bras immediately after your operation. This garment is suitable for women recovering from a mastectomy, double mastectomy, or other reconstructive surgeries.
This bra won’t look like your normal bra. It is made from special stretch fabric that provides gentle compression to speed up and support your healing. If you have implants, wearing this bra helps stabilize the implants and boost circulation. A post-surgical bra may also have features to hold surgical drains and allow easy examination of the wound site. Because of this, they’ll often feature a front closure and detachable Velcro straps.
To get the most from this bra, you must wear it for around 6 – 8 weeks, although it’s important to check-in with your surgeon or doctor so they can confirm you’re ready to remove the garment. You cannot wear other bras during this time; it’s crucial you only wear this surgical bra.
During this time, you’ll have significant wounds that need to heal. You may be sore; you may have strange sensations in the area, you may feel itchy and sensitive to the touch. You’ll also find that your range of motion is severely limited, and you must increase your flexibility as your healing allows. These side-effects determine the bra you wear.
The Ultimate Post-Surgical Bra
The Allyson Post-Surgical Bra by Wear Ease is the ideal post-surgical bra. This piece has inherent versatility and is suitable for a range of surgical procedures, from a mastectomy, breast augmentation, breast reconstruction, lumpectomy, and even open heart surgery.
This bra works with all the surgical accessories and can be purchased with drainage tube pouches and fiberfill breast forms.
You’ll love the comfort that comes with this bra. Featuring adjustable satin straps, a soft wide band, and smooth cotton construction, this is an ideal choice for sensitive skin. It’s impossible to feel constricted or irritated by this design. The front zipper is another useful feature, allowing you to move easily without strain or discomfort.
Building Your Post-Mastectomy Bra Wardrobe
Once your doctor has given you the all clear, you’ll be able to leave behind your surgical or compression bras, but it’s still imperative you wear a specially designed piece that aids your continued healing.
Throughout the entire first year after breast surgery, it’s best to choose to wear a bra that has:
- Individual, separate cups
- Full cups
- Soft seams and minimal detailing
- No underwire
- A wide underband
- Deep front and side panels
- Bilateral interior pockets (for women who choose to wear breast forms)
Ideally, have a selection of four or five bras, including a leisure bra for wearing at home or to sleep; a supportive sports bra; and several seamless t-shirt bras for wearing every day.
Understanding a Few Fitting Essentials
A lot of the guidelines you followed before your mastectomy still apply to a post-mastectomy bra fitting.
Slip on the bra by first putting your arms into the straps, clasp the bra, so it’s comfortably situated across your back, and the breast tissue and breast forms are held within the cup. After this, assess if any areas feel too tight or too loose and adjust the clasp and shoulder straps as needed.
This process differs depending on the type of breast surgery you’ve had. Placing breast forms into the bra will be an integral part of the process for some women, while others who have implants may not notice much change to how they wear their bra.
Here are some general signs that your bra doesn’t fit:
- The back band arches and doesn’t stay horizontal and flat
- Experiencing neck or shoulder pain
- The bra center (between the cups) doesn’t rest against your skin
- The straps fall down
- Your chest profile doesn’t look smooth under your clothing
- The straps dig into your shoulders
How to Wear Breast Forms with Your Bra
One of the more complicated aspects of post-mastectomy life involves breast prostheses. These prosthetics help you achieve a natural shape in your bra if you are asymmetrical or have declined breast reconstruction.
Mastectomy bras are designed to incorporate breast prosthesis and include pockets in both cups in case you need breast forms. However, getting the right size bra with breast forms can be challenging; if the bra is too big, the forms slip around, and if it’s too small, the forms push uncomfortably into your chest. Getting the correct size bra is important.
To get the right bra size, nothing compares to a professional fitting. Getting the correct bra size with breast forms takes experience that you won’t have newly out of surgery with an unfamiliar physical form. When you visit a professional fitter, you’ll save yourself time, money, and emotional energy.
The Ideal First Mastectomy Bra
The Anita Salvia Wire-Free Mastectomy Bra is the perfect choice for your venture into the world of mastectomy bras. Its classic design resembles the bra you’ll be familiar with, yet it features the design details you need to support your healing.
Made from ultra-soft micro-modal fabric, smooth cups, and straps featuring gentle toweling-type material for extra padding and comfort, you’ll feel completely comfortable in this bra.
For women who require breast forms, this style includes breast form pockets in either cup so you can feel your best.
Get Professional Support
Learning how to wear a bra after any kind of breast surgery can be hard. Take the stress out of finding the right bra by getting professionally fitted by one of the caring staff members at A Fitting Experience. Call us at (954) 978-8287 to arrange a personalized fitting appointment.