by ALLISON GOODLIN
When looking for a surgical bra for an upcoming breast augmentation or mastectomy it can feel like you’re swimming in a sea of confusion. Which bra will provide the support you need during healing? What are bra pockets and do you need them? What features are essential? What do you need to avoid? Let go of the confusion and let us show you the way. When you know what to look for, buying a surgical bra doesn’t have to be a mind boggling process.
Surgical Bra Essentials
These must have features will ensure that your surgical bra is comfortable and supportive from the day after surgery until your healing is complete. Every feature on this list is a must so don’t compromise. A good place to start your search is with the Royce line of surgical and pocketed bras*.
- Soft Fabric- Right after surgery your breasts will be very tender. Rough or itchy fabric can irritate them. Look for a surgical bra that features soft fabric both on the inside and out. Remember you’ll be wearing this bra 24 hours a day so comfort is a must.
- Wire-Free- While an underwire is the choice of bras for many women, after surgery it’s a big no-no. The wires can poke and irritate your already sore breasts. Depending on the placement of your incisions, an underwire can even sit right on the incision, keeping it from healing and in some cases causing serious healing issues. If you’re having breast augmentation or breast reconstruction, an underwire can keep your implants from settling properly. Choose a wire-free bra.
- Lots of Support- When you think of sore breasts, support is probably the last thing you think you want, but trust us, after surgery the extra support will feel great. Dr. Stuart Kincaid, a respected San Diego plastic surgeon explains, “If you choose a surgical bra that offers compression it can reduce swelling, improve circulation, promote healing, and help hold everything in place. Look for a bra that offers support, not just lifting. You want all over support to help your breasts feel supported and secure, especially in those first weeks after surgery.”
- Lots of Coverage- Surgical bras should cover the whole breast. Look for bras with lots of coverage. Remember, more coverage means more support and more comfort for your healing breasts.
Tips for the Right Fit
Once you’ve found the right style of bra, getting the right fit is essential. The best post-surgical bra on the market isn’t going to do you any good if it’s too large or much too small. These tips will help you get the perfect fit.
- Try it On- The only sure fire way to know how a bra will fit is to try it on. Start with your usual bra size and work from there. With a surgical bra a little tight is better than a little loose.
- Avoid Baggy Cups- Your breast should fill the cups of your bra. If you have extra room, try a smaller bra. When looking at bra sizes the numerical part of the size (the 36 in 36B for example) represents your band size. You can get this measurement by placing a flexible measuring tape under your arms just above the bust and measuring around your chest. To get your cup size (the letter in your bra size) move the measuring tape down and measure around the fullest part of your bust. This number should be larger than your band measurement. To convert into a letter for cup size subtract your band size from your bust measurement. If the difference is 1 inch, you’re an A cup, 2 inches B cup, etc.
- Don’t be Afraid of Pockets- If you’ve had a mastectomy your breasts might be different sizes after surgery. A pocketed bra allows you to easily add in a prosthesis after your healing is complete. These removable inserts pop right into the pockets sewn into the bra, giving you the right bra fit for both breasts, even if they aren’t the same size. Many women like the comfort and elegance of the Jasmine bra from Royce*.
- Try Different Manufacturers and Styles- If you’re having trouble finding a surgical bra that fits, try a different brand. Bra sizing isn’t standardized which means that manufacturers alone determine how their bras will fit. Keep trying different styles and brands until you find a bra you love.
Now that you’ve got some tips, head out and start searching for the perfect surgical bra. It might take some time, but finding a good bra always does. Be patient, understand you may need to try on new sizes and styles, and most importantly don’t get discouraged. Happy hunting!
*Royce Lingerie is recognized as the expert in designing wirefree bras and the company’s Caress collection is a range of pocketed bras designed to give all the comfort and support ladies need after breast surgery.