What Are Mastectomy Bras & Why They're Important

 holdster bra for post mastectomy  

Mastectomy surgery is a significant life event for many people. Adjusting to the physical changes post-surgery can be difficult, and finding the right mastectomy bra is one of the most important steps in the process. 

A mastectomy bra can provide comfort, support, and security to an individual as they become accustomed to their new normal. This guide will explain the different types of mastectomy bras, the benefits of wearing one, and tips for choosing and wearing the right one.

What Is a Mastectomy?

Simply put, a mastectomy is a surgery to remove all or part of the breast. It can be done for a number of reasons, such as treating cancer or minimizing the risk of developing cancer.

Regardless of the reason for getting a mastectomy, it can be an emotional experience. Fortunately, there are many resources that provide support and information about the procedure and recovery process. 

In other words, you’re not alone in this journey, and there is a wide range of support to help make it as smooth as possible.

Is a Mastectomy the Same as Top Surgery?

Although sometimes used interchangeably, a mastectomy is not the same as top surgery. As mentioned previously, mastectomies are performed for medical reasons to remove breast tissue and may be used to treat or prevent certain types of cancer. 

Top surgery, on the other hand, is a gender-affirming procedure that removes breast tissue from transgender people who want to achieve a chest that feels more in line with their gender identity. While both surgeries involve removing breast tissue, the goals of each are very different.

So, What’s a Mastectomy Bra?

In short, a mastectomy bra is designed to help provide comfort and support to those who have undergone a mastectomy or breast reconstruction surgery (think top surgery). These bras are typically made from soft, breathable materials that are gentle against the skin, making them more comfortable than many traditional bras.

They also feature customizable straps, special pockets for breast prosthetics or other inserts (such as cooling gels), and extra coverage in the back to provide additional support.


What Benefits Can a Mastectomy Bra Provide?

There are several benefits that a mastectomy bra can provide. So, without further ado, let’s dive into what makes these beneficial bras so special:

Compression and Support 

Compression and support are two of the biggest benefits of a mastectomy bra. Most mastectomy bras have compression cups that can be refitted according to your needs and provide gentle pressure on the chest area. This helps to reduce swelling, prevent fluid build-up in your lymph system, and help you heal faster after surgery. 

Additionally, some mastectomy bras come with built-in support bands which help hold up any prosthesis you may be wearing while also providing gentle yet firm pressure on your chest wall. 

Comfort and Convenience 

Mastectomy bras are designed to be comfortable and convenient. They often feature adjustable straps and wide back panels, which make them easy to put on and take off without having to contort yourself into uncomfortable positions. 

Furthermore, most mastectomy bras are made from breathable materials like cotton, nylon, or spandex, which provide extra comfort during recovery since they keep you cool and dry throughout the day. Some even come with pockets for inserting prosthetics, so you don’t have to worry about them sliding or falling out when you move around. 

Style and Confidence 

Mastectomy bras come in an array of styles and colors, so you can find one that is perfect for your body shape and skin tone. This means you can finally feel confident wearing a bra again after surgery. 

Plus, many mastectomy bras feature special padding or inserts, which can help restore some shape if needed. 

Popular Types of Mastectomy Bras

There are many types of mastectomy bras available, each with its own unique benefits: 

Holdster Bras

The Holdster Bra is one of the proudest moments we’ve had at TomboyX. It was the invention of Fran Dunaway, TomboyX founder. After her mastectomy, Fran needed a bra that supported her in this new stage of life, but that also fit her aesthetic. She didn’t want something with a ton of lace or frills. That need led to the Holdster Bra

The Holdster Bra comes in several classic neutral colors like silver, black, and cream. In sizes from XS to 4X, there’s a fit for everyone who needs it. Take a peek at our sizing chart to get the perfect fit in a snap. 

Pocketed Bras

Pocketed mastectomy bras have pockets inside each cup that can be used to hold breast forms (prostheses) if desired. Unlike the Holdster Bra, they’re typically common with double mastectomies. 

They are designed to suspend the prosthesis away from your chest wall, providing comfort and relief from any scarring or discomfort around the surgical site. The fabric is usually soft and stretchy, and the style is usually more discreet than other types of bras.

Soft Cup Bras

If you’re looking for something comfy but not anything that will add definition, you need a top that is pure comfort that you can rely on. 

A soft cup bra — like the Essentials Soft Bra — is a great option for those who need extra support. They generally feature adjustable straps and closures, allowing a more customized fit. 

The fabric is typically soft and breathable, and the style is usually more discreet than other types of bras. The prints are still totally fun and unique so that you can rep your hobbies and passions in the layer closest to your heart. 

How To Choose the Best Mastectomy Bra

When choosing a mastectomy bra, consider your body type as well as the level of compression you need. Determine the type of fabric and style that will be most comfortable and supportive for you.

Consider Your Body Type

Mastectomy bras come in all sizes and shapes, so it’s essential to find one that will fit your body type. If you’ve had a single mastectomy, you’ll want to choose a bra that’s designed specifically for one-breast sizes, like our Holdster Bra

A first-of-its-kind bra designed specifically for those who are recovering from a unilateral mastectomy, this deliciously soft bra features supportive construction while allowing the surgery site to breathe and heal.

If you’ve had a double mastectomy, on the other hand, you’ll need to find something that’s designed to fit two breasts. Additionally, you’ll also want to find a bra that feels comfortable when you move around.

Determine the Level of Compression You Need

Mastectomy bras are available in different levels of compression, depending on your needs. If you’ve had a lumpectomy, you’ll likely want to choose a bra with light compression to help reduce any swelling or tenderness in the affected area. If you’ve had reconstructive surgery, a bra with moderate or firm compression may be best, as this will help to secure the breast implant and reduce movement.

Pro Tip: Not sure which mastectomy bra is right for you? Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for their input.  

Consider the Fabric and Style

Take into account the fabrics options available, as some can irritate sensitive skin or cause discomfort during movement or physical activity. 

Cotton is usually considered the best material for those who have undergone breast surgery because it’s breathable, lightweight, and soft against the skin; however, other materials such as spandex or nylon may also be suitable depending on your individual needs. 

Here at TomboyX, we make our mastectomy bras with only the best of the best materials. From OEKO-TEX Certified cotton for unbelievable comfort to spandex and elastane for just the right amount of stretch, we don’t mean to brag, but our bras are second to none!   

A Final Word

Finding the right mastectomy bra is a big step in the process of adjusting to your new body. A mastectomy bra can provide comfort, support, and security. It’s of the utmost importance to take the time to research different styles and find one that meets your needs. 

Adapting to a new normal can be difficult, but it’s best to stay positive and focus on activities that make you feel good about yourself. With the right mastectomy bra, you can find comfort and confidence post-surgery!

Here at TomboyX, we’re on a mission to bring quality bras to the masses. Whether you’ve just had a mastectomy or are on the hunt for the softest pair of sweatpants, you can count on us to have just what you need to feel good in the skin you’re in. 


Mastectomy (Breast Removal Surgery): What It Is & Types | Cleveland Clinic

Top Surgery (Chest Feminization or Chest Masculinization) | Johns Hopkins Medicine

How the Right Mastectomy Bra Gave Me the Confidence to Get Back to the Gym | Breast Cancer