Mastectomy Bra Options
Above: Royce Lingerie Caress Bra.
Apart from the emotional and physical repercussions of a mastectomy, one of the biggest hurdles women face after breast removal is finding a bra that works for their new body shape. Mastectomy bra options are limited and with so many reconstruction options available choosing a bra can be a complicated process. Don’t try to navigate the world of pocketed bras, mastectomy lingerie, and post-surgical bras on your own. This helpful guide will explain your options so you can easily find a bra that works for your post-mastectomy body.
Be Your Own Advocate
Even when everything goes perfectly, a mastectomy is no easy process. Yes, there’s the physical recovery ahead, but for most women feelings of loss, shaken confidence, and a struggle with feeling feminine are much bigger hurdles to clear. It may take every ounce of strength you possess to muster up enough motivation to shop for a post-mastectomy bra and when the process is difficult and time consuming it can be really disheartening.
Above: AnaOno Intimates’ the Rachel.
First and foremost, go easy on yourself. You’ve been through an incredibly difficult situation. Give yourself the time you need to heal both physically and emotionally. When you’re ready, become an advocate for yourself and get the help you need to find bras that work. A wonderful place to start your mastectomy bra search is with the lingerie company, AnaOno Intimates or a retailer like Marie Angelique in St. Charles, Missouri. Marie Angelique focuses on great lingerie and on mastectomy options and fitting for cancer survivors. While you don’t have to start producing your own lingerie line, you can seek out the best brands of mastectomy bras and turn to resources like TheLingerieJournal.com for help in finding the options that work. Being a cancer survivor is hard, but your unique struggle has given you the strength you need to persevere through a possibly difficult bra hunt.
Above: Marie Angelique carries everyday intimates (bras from AA- N cups), bridal lingerie, loungewear as well as mastectomy bra options and gifts.
After mastectomy your surgeon will probably wrap the area in surgical dressings and possibly instruct you to wear a compression garment. As you start to heal you’ll be able to remove the gauze and wrappings and replace them with a post-surgical bra. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions about the type of bra to choose, but here are some general guidelines:
- Skip the Wires- Underwires and even some seams can irritate sensitive skin post-surgery. When looking for a post-surgical bra, choose one that is wire-free. You’ll want to avoid underwire bras completely until you have the go-ahead from your surgeon. If you received immediate reconstruction it may take several months for your implants to settle before you’re ready for an underwire.
- Support is Important- Especially during the initial days and weeks after surgery you’ll want lots of support from your bra. Gentle compression can help lessen pain from surgery and reduce the amount of swelling you’ll experience.
- Lifting is Difficult- After breast surgery you won’t have the full range of motion in your arms for several weeks or months. Bras with a front closure are easiest to put on without assistance while you heal. Steer clear of sports style bras that must be pulled over the head.
- 24 Hour Comfort- You’ll need to wear your bra all the time right after surgery so choose one that is comfortable since you’ll be wearing it even while you sleep in the initial weeks after your mastectomy. Soft fabrics and quality construction make a big difference in comfort; spend a little extra and get high quality bras if you can.
- Wear a Surgical Bra until You’re Fully Healed- Don’t rush into wearing more traditional bra styles after a mastectomy. Whether you’ve had reconstruction or not, full healing is essential for the best surgical results. Dr. Steven Robinson, a respected plastic surgeon in Columbus, OH, explains, “After mastectomy patients need to carefully follow their surgeon’s instructions for healing. Giving yourself plenty of time to heal will lead to better results from your surgery whether or not you’ve had reconstruction. Rushing into traditional style bras can keep implants from settling properly, irritate incisions, and possibly increase scarring.”
Pocketed bras look much like a traditional bra, but they have a pocket sewn into the cup which can be used to accommodate breast forms or prosthesis after mastectomy. These bras come in a variety of styles, but most are full cup style to ensure that the breast form stays securely in place. You can find pocketed bras in underwire and soft cup, depending on your preference. You’ll want to wait to wear pocketed bras until you’ve fully healed from surgery. Many companies make quality pocketed bras for mastectomy patients including Amoena and Anita.
Above: Amoena’s Danielle Wire-free Camisole in Plum.
After you finishing buying practical, every day bras you may want to add a few more intimate pieces to your post-mastectomy bra collection. For many women this process takes time as it can be difficult to feel sexy until you’ve had time to adjust to your new body. Be patient and take your time. Women that opt for reconstruction will have more traditional lingerie options available than women that choose to forego reconstruction. If you have implants bear in mind that implants can cause certain lingerie styles to fit differently. Try several different options until you find something that works.
Above: Mastectomy Bra Options include Nearly Me Technologies’ SOFT TOUCH 995.
After mastectomy finding a bra can be a difficult process, but you’re a fighter and you can do it. Be easy on yourself during this time of adjustment and remember that more important than finding a bra is taking care of your delicate feelings. Bra shopping will get easier as you find the mastectomy bra brands you love and learn how each bra fits your body.
Double board certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Steven L. Robinson, FACS and his team at Ohio Plastic Surgeons, Inc. are the most highly qualified and the most skilled plastic surgery team in the Columbus and central Ohio region. They are committed to making the experience as comfortable as possible in their modern and private consulting rooms, as well as the luxurious medical spa to address a full array of skin care needs.