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Post-Surgical Mastectomy Bras and Camisoles

Comfort and Fit are Essential

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Updated July 31, 2009

Before you head to the hospital for any breast surgery, it's a good idea to purchase the right bra or camisole for recovery, and pack it in your overnight bag. You may even want to buy two bras, as you may need to wear a post-surgical bra continuously until you begin to heal. Wear one bra while the other is in the wash.

Features To Shop For in a Post-Surgical Bra

Let comfort be your guide when shopping for post-surgical bras. Look for wide bands across the shoulders and beneath the breasts. This assures you that the bra won’t cut into your skin and muscles and will stay in position. Check for adjustable straps and closures, so you can make your bra fit properly, no matter what your new shape may be. Steer clear of underwire bras until after treatment, and then check with your doctor or surgeon before you start using underwire bras again. Go with as few seams as possible, to avoid irritation to your tender skin and particularly your incisions. Choose seamless bras whenever you can – they are simply more comfortable. Stick to breathable fabrics or natural fibers for long-range comfort.

Front-Closing Soft Cup Bras

Front Closing Mastectomy Bra
Photo © PriceGrabber
After breast surgery, you can be secure and comfortable in front-closing bras with soft cups. Because breast surgery can sometimes affect your shoulder rotation, you may have trouble reaching hooks on a back-closing bra, or pulling a bra on overhead. Many sports bras have zippers, hooks, or slides that make dressing easy. Soft bra cups will stretch to fit over surgical dressings, and provide light compression on incisions.
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Compression Vests and Bras

Compression Bra for Lymphedema
Image © PriceGrabber
Your breast surgeon may tell you to get a compression bra or vest for wear after surgery. These offer greater coverage of your breasts, back, and underarm tissues. Compression on incisions can help prevent swelling from fluid buildup as you heal. The right compression vest or bra can hold your skin in place and prevent skin from shifting and stretching around your sutures. This helps reduce puckering around scar tissue, which saves you from additional surgery later.
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Mastectomy Bras and Recovery

Whether you choose to have breast reconstruction or use prostheses, a mastectomy bra can offer you a lot of comfort right after breast surgery. Mastectomy bras have soft inner linings and special pockets to accommodate your prosthesis. A camisole style bra or a full cup mastectomy bra will give you comfort and security after breast surgery. A word of caution – use a lightweight prosthesis right after a mastectomy, so you won’t have extra weight on your incision. You can get a weighted prosthesis after you have healed.
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Pretty Post-Surgical Camisoles and Tops

Surgical Drain Holders
Photo © Confident Clothing Company
A camisole is similar to a tank top or a sleeveless undershirt. Nowadays these are adorned with lace and ribbons and are made of stretchy, lightweight fabric. Post-surgical tops and camisoles come with pockets that can hold surgical drains securely in place. Some post-op camisoles are designed with bra cups and prostheses pockets built in, as well as room for surgical drains. Look around and you may find blouses, T-shirts, nightgowns, and pajama tops designed with bra cups and removable drain pockets – many of which may be used long after you have recovered from surgery.
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