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Mastectomy & Post Surgery bras
Advice for buying a mastectomy bra or bra for post surgery
There are a number of things to consider when buying a mastectomy bra or bra for post-surgery.
1. How much breast tissue has been removed, and from what part of your breast?
Depending where your surgery was, you may have a number of options, including a small shaper prothesis. This may also affect the type of bra that you are able to wear. Some women who have had a small lumpectomy can wear a similar style to pre-surgery once their scar tissue has gone down. There are all sorts of prothesis, fillers and shapers that you can buy. You are likely to be given a soft foam prothesis initially if you've had a mastectomy, or a significant part of your breast removed.
As long as your bra is fitting correctly, you should not have any problems post-surgery. However, a lot of women want the piece of mind of wearing a soft cup bra post-surgery to ensure that wires are not digging in to breast tissue. Some women do feel that their bra initially caused the lump that has been removed, so are very aware of bra fitting post-surgery. If you'd like to talk to a fitter about your own circumstances, please contact our fitters. Your breast care nurse should be able to talk about your options with you.
2. Are you having a reconstruction, or will you be using a prothesis?
If you are having a reconstruction, it is likely that you can continue wearing bra styles that you are used to. Please ensure they are fitted correctly. Have a look at our guidelines for general bra fitting for initial bra fitting advice. You may find that you need a firmer bra at least initially, to ensure your surgery is supported correctly post surgery. Check the bra for wider shoulder straps, deeper at the front, and deeper band. Ensure that your breasts are fully enclosed in the cup, using our fitting guidelines
If you wear a prothesis ensure the bra fits correctly around the natural breast tissue, and is supportive enough for the prothesis (some are really heavy, but new ones are getting much lighter to wear). You may not need a pocket in the bra, but some women like the security of the pocket. If you are a smaller cup, choosing a bra with a stretch top on the cup, with a deep front and side (under the arms), should be enough to contain a prothesis.
For larger cups, or if you choose to have a pocket in the bra, ensure the cup shape on the bra is big enough for your prothesis - balconette or plunge bras are unlikely to be suitable for you now. Most bras can have pockets added to the cups, so you don't have to have a pocket in both cups if you only have one prothesis. Some mastectomy bras are already pocketed, which add strength to the pocket, so you may not have a choice about both sides having pockets. A pocket on a natural breast should not cause you any discomfort and should not affect the fit of the bra. However, some women prefer not to have a pocket on the natural breast.
Speak to one of bras4all fitters for further advice.
3. How much scar tissue do you have and where is it on your breast area?
If you have a lot of scar tissue, you may find it very uncomfortable to wear anything near the scarring. There are a number of really light soft bras available. Some mastectomy bras use fabric with silver in that will aid scar tissue to heal. bras4all stocks a wide range that are suitable for all cup and back sizes.
Depending where your scar tissue is, may affect the type of bra that will be most comfortable for you. Even though a deep band may offer more support to larger breasted women, this may not be right for you initially. Contact one of bras4all bra fitters for some advice on styles that may be best for you.
4. What size were you before your surgery?
Some larger breasted ladies may not have as much selection as smaller breasted ladies post-surgery. However, there are an increasing number of companies offering soft cup bras, or soft wired bras in larger cup sizes. It may also affect the styles available to you.
For larger breasted ladies, we would recommend a full cup bra, supporting the whole of your breast, particularly after breast surgery. The new Royce Range with the fabric in between the cups offers a discreet covering if you require it.
If you can, we advise that you get a soft cup bra before you've had your surgery, so that you have something comfortable to wear initial after your operation. bras4all stocks a wide range of soft cup bras, most of which can be pocketed for you. Some are cotton, some are a light microfibe (which takes moisture away from the skin), so unless you are allergic to this fabric, this is an excellent alternative to cotton. The bras using silver thread in the fabric will aid healing, and are a lovely light soft fabric, so you won't notice it has silver in it!