Surgeons Recommendations for Bras after Breast Reconstruction

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By Allison Goodlin
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For many women their breasts are an important part of their identity as a woman. When cancer, congenital deformities, or other problems interfere with the breast tissue it can be an experience that challenges confidence and causes intense frustration. Luckily, breast reconstruction is an option for many women, restoring confidence and helping women to love the way they look once again.

After breast reconstruction that go-to favorite bra you loved before probably won’t fit the same way you remember. Reconstructed breasts may look and feel natural, but the implants and surgical techniques used do change the way that bras fit, making bra shopping a whole new experience. Dr. Steven Robinson, a breast surgeon at Ohio Plastic Surgeons, Inc. has put together some tips to make bra shopping a lot easier post-reconstruction. Save yourself the hassle of buying bras that don’t fit or that don’t flatter your figure and use these tips to ensure that your new breasts are everything you’ve always dreamed of.

Keep Those Reconstructed Beauties Looking Their Best with a Good Post-Surgical Bra

Your body needs time to heal after breast reconstruction surgery. Don’t rush into wearing fancy lingerie. A post-surgical bra will provide gentle support to your healing breasts, helping your implants to properly settle while avoiding irritation to your fresh, sensitive scars. While every woman (and surgeon) will have different ideas about the best post-surgical bra, here are some tips for finding one that works for you.

  • Avoid Wires– Underwire bras aren’t an ideal choice post-surgery. The wires can poke at and irritate delicate scar tissue. Instead choose a non-wired bra that offers full coverage for maximum comfort while you heal. Likewise seams can also irritate scars, so choose a bra with few seams if possible.
  • Front Closure is Easier to Wear Post-Reconstruction– Depending on your reasons for breast reconstruction, you may have limited mobility following your surgery. Women that have lymph nodes removed often have restrictions on movement and a back closure can be very difficult to fasten. Front closure bras are ideal after surgery, especially during the first few weeks until your range of motion returns.
  • Choose a Comfortable Bra– Surgeons often recommend that women recovering from breast reconstruction wear a bra day and night for a period of time after surgery. Any woman that has tried sleeping in a bra knows that this has the potential to be very uncomfortable if you don’t have the right bra. Comfort is key during the recovery period.

Bra Shopping after Breast Reconstruction

After the healing period is complete you’ll be able to transition from a post-surgical bra to more traditional lingerie. These tips will help you in your search for the perfect bra.

  • Types of Reconstruction Matters- There are several different types of breast reconstruction available from implants to flap reconstruction and more. While many techniques can lead to stunning results, each different type will impact how your new breasts fit into a bra. Women with implants often find that a larger bra size is needed to accommodate the different shape of breasts with implants while women receiving flap reconstruction find that their new breasts look and feel very similar to a natural breast.
  • Get Fitted– Industry experts estimate that a majority of women are wearing bras that don’t fit. Take the time to get professionally fitted after breast reconstruction and find a bra that works with your new breasts. A good surgeon can create beautiful breasts, but it is up to the woman to ensure that these breasts are properly cared for post-surgery and that means a good, well-fitting bra.
  • Do Your Research– There are so many fantastic bras out there, but many of the top brands aren’t carried on the racks at your local discount or department store. Learn as much as you can about the different brands available to find a high quality bra that really accentuates your reconstructed breasts. The resources available on LingerieBriefs.com are an excellent resource for learning about the many different brands of bras available.

Your breasts may be different after breast reconstruction surgery, but with the help of a skilled surgeon and a good bra you can get the look you have always dreamed of.

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12 Discussion to this post

  1. Lisa says:

    I love this subject! But as a fitter, I would love to know what bras (styles and brands) are working for other fitters. I am struggling with what surgeons are telling clients versus what I have. One surgeon recommended the VS Bombshell bra, but this client is a 30DDD. She is not going to get what she needs there.

  2. John Festa says:

    @Lisa:

    The Canadian manufacturer Grenier makes a front-close, soft-cup in sizes 32C to 42F, with 44C-DD. it’d be perfect for post-surgery. It is basic, of soft fabric, and of a wired construction, without the wire.

    • Christine says:

      I’m three weeks post double mastectomy and reconstruction using expanders. It’s not a terrible bra but it lays right on top of my incisions that are on my sides, the cup seams make an indent on my still numb skin which could have created problems if I had not noticed and after wearing the bra for just a few hours, my skin was irritated right at the fold. I’ve had to discontinue wearing this bra and am now shopping for something more suitable, for me.
      I make this comment not to bash Grenier bras but to provide information on what’s needed for some patients who have undergone a double mastectomy and reconstruction by way of expanders (gradual, adjustable implant)

  3. Dana says:

    Check out AnaOno Intimates, a lingerie line by a Survivor for Survivors! After personally undergoing a double mastectomy and finding that what the market had to offer was quite boring and unflattering, I developed a line of beautiful, confidence boosting lingerie! Thanks for providing so much information to the community to help educate and let women know that they will experience differences after surgery! I had no idea when I went in for my double mastectomy! Appreciate you sharing, xo!

  4. Christine Skilton says:

    I am about to undergo a mastectomy & immediate reconstruction but cannot find a bra to fit me. The Nurse said to get a sports bra but I large breasted (42E) and cannot find an appropriate bra to fit me.

    • Ellen Lewis says:

      Christine, good luck to you. Why don’t you look at the new Criss Cross bra that was developed for post mastectomy patients. The creator had a double mastectomy and reconstruction and developed the product from her own experience. If you can not find it, please email me directly at ellen@lingeriebriefs.com

  5. Phyllis Compton says:

    With reconstruction we choose not to do miles and are looking for a bra to fit the need to look fuller in front or to feel the empty spot where nipples should be

  6. Phyllis Compton says:

    Should read no nipples

  7. Brenda Tenberg says:

    I am 3 weeks post bilateral mastectomy. Used to be a 32b. I am still wearing the post surgery bras because the compression feels the best. I am wondering about clearing out all the old unederwire, push up bras I used to wear? Is it too soon to make that decision? I don’t plan on increasing in size. Just thinking to remove the older bras may also help emotionally, but don’t want to throw out or give away good bras especially the ones that had been recently purchased prior to the cancer showing up.

    • Ellen Lewis says:

      Hi Brenda
      I am not sure that I am the correct person to give you advice, so I am referring this inquiry to Jean Criss (jean@jeancrissmedia.com), a breast cancer survivor with a great deal of knowledge.
      I will also say, from a perspective of moving on in life, that removing reminders of what can no longer be, is, in my personal opinion, worth doing. Perhaps you have a friend who can use those bras. There are so many places where they can be donated for women who can not afford to purchase good bras
      Best of luck
      Ellen

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