How to Wear a Bra After Mastectomy

Having a mastectomy might be scary for many of us. You’ll be haunted by the idea of letting go of one of your breasts but you had no choice because it’s the best option that could ever be. It might feel like you lose one of the assets you cherish the most but cancer takes it all. Rest assured, let’s take one day at a time. Instead of worrying about what could happen, let’s be ready for whatever comes next because you still need to survive. One of them is by preparing a bra after mastectomy.

Yes, besides preparing for the surgery as told by your surgeon, you’ll also need to prepare post-surgery bras. After mastectomy, you can’t wear a bra like normal for a while because doing so will cause irritation and even injury to the area of surgery. In this article, we’ll be showing you how to wear a bra after a mastectomy, so that way if you ever need to, you will know what to do!

Understanding Mastectomy

A mastectomy is a procedure to treat breast cancer by removing the breast tissues of patience or highly risked to develop cancer. This procedure will cause the patient to lose the entire breast. Those who have to undergo mastectomy would possibly because they are impossible to receive lumpectomy, a surgery where it can save most of the breast tissues. This is due to the cancerous cells must have been spreading throughout the breast or it has affected most of the breast part area. According to NHS, there are 5 types of mastectomy. These include:

  1. Standard Mastectomy. The procedure of this surgery includes removing the entire breast tissue and most part of the skin that covers it.
  2. Skin-sparing mastectomy. Although the procedure consists of removing all breast tissue and the nipple, most of the breast skin is not included.
  3. Nipple-sparing mastectomy. Just like the name, this procedure spares the nipple from being removed. However, the breast skin and all of the breast tissue are removed.
  4. Radical Mastectomy. This procedure is rarely used. It’s the same as a standard mastectomy but does not leave to remove the two muscles behind the breast and the lymph nodes which are located in the armpit.
  5. Modified radical mastectomy. As seen from the name, it is a type of radical mastectomy but it allows the larger pectoral muscle to be left.
Image Credit: Rebekah Vos on Unsplash

Finding A Bra After Mastectomy and How to Wear It

After knowing different kinds of mastectomy, it’s time to get to know which bra you can opt for as a post-surgery bra. Kindly note that you still need to discuss with your surgeon any types of bra you should wear after the procedure.

Compression Bras Are All You Need

Compression bras are recommended immediately after surgery. The targeted compression a compression bra offers can aid healing and drainage, so your surgical wound can heal up faster and more comfortably. It will keep the breast muscles stay and offer sufficient support and pressure to the breasts. A lot of post-surgery compression bras have drainage tube pouches for preventing fluid accumulation in the body, which makes them more convenient for wearers.

Another function of this compression bra is to control blood flow and reduce infection risk which other bras may not be able to offer. Your surgeon might offer you a compression bra after surgery but you might as well be prepared to have one ready at home, and indeed with the approval of your surgeon.

Compression bra after mastectomy
Image Credit: Amazon

Finding The Right Bra

In the first year after the surgery, you should opt for bras that have:

  • Soft seams
  • A wide under-band 
  • A deep front and side panels
  • Separation of the bra cups
  • Adjustable straps and front closure
  • Little to no detailing
  • No underwires

It will take time for your breasts to recover from surgery, and you will find the type of bra needed during the recovery period will also change. This situation is common as your breast swelling can affect the size to reduce and the type of bra required. On top of that, as your breasts will be very prone to injury after surgery, you need to make sure you get the right size to prevent harm or the risk of the surgery’s wound opening. Many stores specializing in lingerie have professional fitters who will fit you into the right bra. 

In the beginning, you should go for bras that are comfortable and wireless. They should also fit on the loosest setting as you may experience swelling after the procedure. When the swelling goes down, you can tighten it accordingly. This is why you might also need to measure your bust size regularly for any breast size change. You should also opt for a bra that is made out of cotton, as cotton is gentle on the skin and will help cool you down if you experience hot flushes. Once the skin of the chest has healed, you can start wearing less restrictive bras.

Bra After Mastectomy

Image Credit: Amazon

More Tips You Might Not Know

If finding a compression bra is a hassle for you, you can still wear your pre-surgery bras if they do not cause any discomfort. What you need to do is sew in drainage tube pouches, which help you store your drainage tubes, so you have a more convenient time. You could also sew some bra pockets if you choose to wear a prosthetic later on. Again, your surgeon’s advice is very important here. 

Furthermore, there are all sorts of bra accessories you can use so that you have a better bra-wearing experience. Shoulder cushions help ease the strain on your shoulders so they don’t leave behind any sore spots, bra extenders are a good help if you have a tight under-band, and non-slip clear silicone straps can help if you don’t want a peekaboo moment with your bra.

Conclusion: A Note About The Bra After Mastectomy

A mastectomy could happen to anyone. If you know how to wear a bra after the aftermath, it will be more comfortable and bearable. Always seek your surgeon’s advice for any bra you’ll wear after mastectomy. An important thing to note is that your breasts will change throughout the course of your healing process, so you will need to get yourself measured each time you buy new bras. You should also consider the materials and the features that are needed for a bra after a mastectomy. A good bra will fasten your healing process.

Need more informative reads? Check out all of the breast shapes that you need to know about!

bra review website

Thanks for reading along!

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