Lots of people need a post-surgery bra for a lot of reasons. Whether it’s because of a mastectomy, breast reduction or augmentation, gender-affirming surgeries, or even heart surgery, if you or a loved one has a procedure, you might feel some stress and emotion during your recovery.
The last thing you want to do is spend a ton of time finding out exactly what makes a perfect post-surgery bra for you. It’s time to chill; we’ve got this.
Read on if you need a starting place for finding your perfect fit.
The Value of a Post Op-Bra
So why is a post-surgery bra so important?
Well, put most simply, it’s made with the specific intention of its purpose. To choose the fabric, designers carefully consider the moisture level in your surgery area for comfort, but most importantly, to prevent infection.
Manufacturers make post-surgery bras to support you firmly in all the places it needs to, but not crush an area that might be tender. It promotes a smoother healing process and helps you get on your way to living your everyday life again.
Some general features of a post-surgery bra are a snug fit, no underwire, soft fabric, adjustability, thicker band, and pockets.
Let’s briefly go over why each of these might be necessary:
Underwire can be irritating. Let’s not beat around the bush.
However, as many of us have heard said, if you let your bra get too old, it can also cause injury. Normally, if your wire got loose and poked you, you’d feel it and could take care of it right away.
Unfortunately, after a significant procedure, you may be prescribed some manner of pain medication. If this is the case, you might not immediately notice if your under-wire is poking at you. Having a supportive bra designed specifically without underwire will eliminate the possibility of this happening.
Discomfort is the worst on a good day, and it’s the last thing you want after an operation.
Stiff or scratchy fabrics that irritate you and make the bra difficult to wear aren’t very helpful. If the bra doesn’t help manage your pain and comfort, then it isn’t actually doing its job, now is it?
The more accurate term may be accessibility. A post-procedure bra should be capable of adjusting from the front. Many times, too much movement, twisting, and contortion, such as what is required to adjust a regular bra, can hinder the healing process or even cause pain.
Just as a general thing, the modern under-band can be a pain in the butt. Many modern bras, especially non-active bras, use a very thin band. This puts all the weight of your breasts on your shoulders and can cause discomfort.
While recovering from surgery, wearing a thicker under-bust band can add welcome support and take some pressure off other parts of your body. A thicker band helps avoid restriction, and the higher surface area displaces the pressure of the band itself.
Depending on the type of surgery you have, pockets in your bra may be useful.
A pocket is particularly helpful for those who want to wear a prosthetic. Not all surgeries that require a post-surgery bra involve the removal of a breast. But for those that do, it can be a nice thing to have the option.
What Is the Best Fit?
As people often say, we are not one size fits all, but we try to be.
So to get you thinking about what it is you might need personally, let’s go over some features of a post-surgical bra and specifically what procedure people designed them to accommodate.
Some very key features of a post-procedure bra after this type of surgery are the wide under-band. As mentioned before, a wider band allows for more support and better, more even distribution of the weight and pressure. Looking for wider bands even after your post-surgery bras might also be something to consider just for continued comfort.
Another thing you could want in a post-surgery bra of this type is a busker. This means that the cups of the bra are separated fully in the middle. This should help keep everything in place while you recover.
When recovering from a reduction surgery, ask your doctor about the possibility of a compression bra. This is a type of post-surgery bra that helps hold everything secure by exerting a little snug pressure.
You don’t want it too tight because that can cause pain and irritation. But, at the right size, this feature can have the bonus of helping to manage any swelling.
For anything having to do with your heart, focus on adjustability and accessibility. Reducing movement, accommodating medical devices, and keeping everything secure will go a huge way in helping you readjust and retain some independence in your daily life.
For cancer-related breast surgeries, focusing on the feel of the fabric is very important, especially for those who may have undergone forms of radiotherapy, as it can leave your skin irritated.
Having a bra with a pocket is usually a good choice for patients who choose to use a prosthetic. There are a whole lot of resources out there when looking into mastectomy bras, so there’s going to be one that's right for you.
Adaptable bras still come in all the fun prints and colors you love but with the added features of a holster, foam inserts, and pockets.
Obviously, there are many types of procedures one can undergo and many needs a person can have. This is not an exhaustive list. Every person is different, and the most important thing you can do when researching your bra is to speak with a medical professional.
Ask Your Doctor
It’s highly likely that you’ll need to ask your doctor for advice when making choices on your post-surgery bra. In fact, it’s entirely necessary that you ask questions.
Let’s try just a few general inquiries to get the conversation between you and your doctor started.
First, you might ask about the length of use.
- Try questions like, “For how long should I wear my post-surgical bra?”
- Or, “Do I need specialized bras for activity and sleep?”
- Try, “How many hours a day should I be wearing my bra?”
- “How often should I wash it?”
- “Would you recommend purchasing more than one bra?”
Next, you’ll want to go into your specific needs. If you’ll have a drain after surgery, ask your doctor if you need a bra that has pouches and holes in place to accommodate them.
Ask your doctor about estimated cup size and post-procedural swelling and what size bra you should get with those factors in mind. Are you going to want a bra with compression features? Do you need one with antibacterial properties?
From there, you can see if the doctor has any specific recommendations. Is there a specific brand or company they really like or a very specific bra they recommend for you specifically?
The doctor not only knows scientifically what they're talking about, but they also know you as the patient and the specific operation you are going through.
It’s time to address the elephant in the room: Money.
Many healthcare experts say the recovery of those who wear specialized bras after surgery can be both quicker and smoother, but not everyone can easily afford it. Thankfully, there are those who recognize a need, and some people can receive financial aid for their post-op bras.
For cancer patients, you can avoid certain taxes when purchasing your bra simply by checking a designated box at check out. Most companies that specialize in these undergarments should have this option for you.
There is a company called AnaOno that has a bra donation program for those in need. Cancercare.org will also give out free prosthetics and two mastectomy bras free.
The Bra for You Is Out There
Know that the answer for you is out there. Talk to your doctor, make use of whatever support systems you can, and do your research. You got this!