Buying Bras After a Mastectomy: A Complete Guide

There are far greater challenges than purely medical ones when it comes to getting a mastectomy. There is an emotional feeling that many don’t talk about regarding the procedure. The loss of a body part can lead to a swell of unexpected emotions not previously considered. It can affect a person’s self-image and confidence levels, as well as distort their sense of identity.

Not everyone recognizes breasts as a sign of feminine appeal, but the loss of one breast or both may make a person feel self-conscious or more exposed than before. Plus, there’s a visceral sense of loss beyond what is physically removed. These changes are also present when someone decides to undergo reconstructive surgery. It may lead to challenges that disrupt everyday routines, such as getting dressed. That’s why making this step easier is important, in its own way, to the recovery process.

Finding bras for mastectomy patients that fit well and can adjust to provide all-day comfort aren’t always readily available. Fortunately, the TomboyX lineup of adaptable bras helps to support those who have gone through a mastectomy procedure and need the coverage and adjustability of a bra that has room for inserts and prosthetics. Standard underwire bras or bralettes aren't necessary post-surgery and are often too restrictive. Comfort is key after experiencing this intensive surgery. Buying and wearing the right mastectomy bra is crucial since it’ll be different than what you’re used to.

Undergoing a mastectomy stirs up a range of emotions. Among them may be frustration, when looking for a post-surgery bra that supports you best. Consider the fabric and details of the bra and how well it can meet your needs throughout recovery and into your next stage of life. Bras should adapt to you, not the other way around, which is why we’ve put extra thought into the details of the bras we’ve created. They’re specially designed to support the needs of mastectomy patients, offer one less thing to worry about during the process, and truly empower you as you embrace your identity.

Opt for Soft, Soothing Fabrics for the Skin

A soothing fabric makes a difference when buying bras after mastectomy surgery. You’ll want to opt for stretchable, soft, breathable fabrics without underwiring or side boning that typically adds shape to bra cups. Avoid any raised seams or elements that scratch or rub against the skin, since it’ll be extra sensitive post-surgery.

The soft TomboyX Ruched Bralette is made of 95% Oeko-Tex®-certified cotton and 5% spandex for stretch and softness. The silky-smooth elastic band also fits comfortably against the skin without chafing—an added bonus for those with sensitive skin. Additionally, the double-layered front adds modest coverage with no nipple show-through and the removable inserts can be swapped out as necessary.

Choose a Bra with Removable Inserts

Another key feature that’s necessary to look for when buying a special bra after mastectomy surgery is removable inserts. Molded cups aren’t ideal, but often, there is still a level of support that’s necessary. Removable padding gives you control over what you need to create the shape and feel you want. They provide an individualized fit and can be easily removed as needed.

Whether you use one, both, or none, there are ways to make the bra customized to you. What you may need a week out of breast surgery is often different than what’s necessary a month later. The adjustment period following a mastectomy requires adaptability. The tenderness and condition of the skin vary from person to person and will continue to change over time. Handling with care is essential to help with recovery. The option of using removable inserts gives you versatility when you need it the most and empowers you to do what feels most comfortable.

One of the best bras for women after mastectomy surgery is the Soft Sports Bra with Removable Inserts. It has the same features of the Ruched Bralette, but with thicker straps and mesh in the middle versus the ruching fabric. The Soft Sports Bra and the Ruched Bralette are both adaptable to changes during recovery, such as weight gain or loss. Not everyone will experience healing in the same way, but these bra styles benefit all.

Skip Any Extras That Can Cause Irritation

Avoid bras that have design elements as these can irritate the skin. This includes clasps, buttons, zippers, or any other additions intended to be ornamental. The skin is already going to be sensitive to the touch; any extra pressure against it isn’t recommended. Additionally, skip materials that could feel abrasive or scratchy against the skin like lace. Stick with cotton blends that have the softness and stretchability that’ll feel good against the chest.

There are other ways to play with design details, while still focusing on functionality, such as color and cut. Our Crossover Soft Bra deemed The Michal Bra after our customer service lead comes in black, plum, and ivory. The v-neck of this crossover bra adds greater versatility with other types of tops, while the built-in openings and pockets accommodate insertable foam cups. The comfy, flat seams and signature stay-put TomboyX band offers support and coverage on all levels for every body.

Consider What’s Best for Lasting Comfort

The great thing about the TomboyX adaptable bras is that they are comfortable to wear far after the immediate recovery period of your mastectomy. Although they were created with a special purpose in mind, they are versatile for everyday wear throughout the years. They are made with quality material sans wiring to feel smooth against the skin. You outgrow styles and sizes, but you never outgrow the need for quality comfort.

The classic black and slate gray colors will withstand the test of time with the notable TomboyX band for a unique touch. Also, with sizes that range from XS to 4X, you can buy the same style of bra and size up or down to align with body changes and know you’ll have the same great level of quality every time.

There will be drainage tubes in your chest for a week or longer following surgery as well as swelling, which means that non-restrictive clothing is best to make it easy to put it on and take it off without too much hassle or strain. In general, the recovery time from a mastectomy is four to six weeks but is based on a case-by-case basis. There will be soreness and discomfort with minimal movement allowed, which is why finding the right bras is essential. As much as you may want to be back in action, a major surgery requires a slow and steady pace to get back into the swing of things for the sake of your health.

More Than Just a Bra

Choosing the right fabric and fit is part of the logistics of finding the ideal bra, but that only skims the surface of what buying a bra after mastectomy surgery really means. There’s a deeper shift taking place as you get used to your current norm and as you balance the physical discomfort with the emotional ties associated with this type of surgery.

Our goal is to be inclusive and supportive of people at all stages of life, whatever the situation may call for and however it can help an individual feel seen. There are specifics needed for a post-surgery bra that aren’t always as available as what you find on the shelf of a department store. Each of our lines is specially designed to benefit as many people as possible and allow them to feel strong and confident in what they wear and who they are.

From an outside perspective, buying a bra is simply a means to an end, but looking closer, it means having what you need when you need it. Women who experience a mastectomy often have a waiting period of recovery, may have to make accommodations for a prosthesis, or get used to the shape from reconstructive surgery. There isn’t a singular timeline of events for mastectomy patients and an adaptable bra turns from a nice-to-have to an essential part of the journey.

There’s no way to predict how you’ll feel or how long it will take to fully heal. The shock of being a different size or the pain you feel from the surgery itself both stir up feelings of anguish that are valid and common among mastectomy patients. In our small way, we want to support you and provide you with a sense of comfort as you move forward down your new path. When you're wearing your mastectomy bra, we hope you feel as empowered as you do, comfortable.