Choosing a post surgery bra can be a bit of a nightmare. It's hard to know ahead of time what to look for, what you will need, even what size you will require.
Depending on what operation you are undergoing, your surgeon may recommend that you wear a bra 24/7 for six weeks after your surgery. That will feel like a very long time if your bra is not extremely comfortable, ideally you want to find a bra that is so comfortable you can forget you’re wearing it!
So we've put together some key things you should look for when choosing a bra to wear straight after surgery.
Front fastening and front adjustable
Women often experience stiffness in the arms and shoulders after surgery and closing or adjusting a bra at the back can prove difficult. Also, your healthcare team will want to regularly check your wound, if you’re wearing a front fastening bra, it will make this procedure much easier. The other important thing is that your bra be highly adjustable, ideally from the front. As a result of your surgery you may experience swelling which will reduce over time, so you will want a bra that you can loosen and tighten to ensure it remains supportive and comfortable for the duration of your recovery.
No seams, no tags, no wires
After surgery, you will probably feel a bit sore and tender, some women experience nerve pain which should settle down after a time, so it is important to choose a bra that won’t irritate, rub or dig in. It’s best to select a bra with no seams, tags or wires.
Following breast surgery, your health care team will usually recommend wearing a support bra 24/7 for up to six weeks. Wearing an item of clothing next to the skin for long periods, especially while sleeping or if you are suffering from hot flushes, encourages the growth of bacteria. This bacteria will lead to unpleasant odours. Some bras use naturally antibacterial fabric, such as bamboo, which reduces the growth of bacteria, meaning it will stay fresh for longer and won’t need to be washed as frequently.
A band that will not interfere with drains
After surgery, you will likely have one or more drains in place to drain fluid (seroma) from your wound. It’s very important that your bra does not pinch or interfere with the drain(s) in any way. Look for a bra that has been designed with this in mind, it should have a longer band that is soft and not overly tight. The band should be designed not to roll up or dig in as this can not only cause discomfort, but can also compress your drainage tubes.
If you’re undergoing treatment for breast cancer, you will need a bra that absorbs perspiration well. You may experience hot flushes from chemotherapy/endocrine therapy, or you may have inflamed, irritated or broken skin after radiotherapy. Many post surgery/sports bras are made from synthetic material. Although they are good at wicking moisture away from the skin, they are generally not very absorbent, so any moisture will simply absorb into your next layer of clothing, this can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Pockets for breast form
After a mastectomy, you may decide to wear a light weight breast form. Choosing a pocketed bra means that you can wear your breast form or prosthesis with the confidence that it will not move or fall out. After a lumpectomy, where there is only a small amount of breast tissue removed, you may simply want to wear a pad to create shape and help your breasts look symmetrical. Some bras come with removable moulded pads for this reason.