MASTECTOMY BRA GUIDE
What is a Mastectomy?
A mastectomy is an operation to remove the breast and is used to treat women with breast cancer and can also be used to reduce the risk of breast cancer developing. They are safe procedures with little complications and many women make good recovery within 3 - 6 weeks. After the operation, a specialist nurse will offer help and advice about breast protheses and mastectomy bras. A prothesis is an artificial breast form that can be used after a mastectomy to keep your natural breast shape.
What are the features of a Mastectomy Bra?
A mastectomy bra or post surgery bra has slight differences to a standard bra. The main difference is they feature internal pockets, which hold the prosthesis or breast form in place. The pockets are generally made with a cotton lining, making them extremely soft and comfortable when placed against the skin. Most mastectomy bras have bilateral pockets that are extremely soft against the skin. After surgery your scars and skin will be very sensitive, you don’t want anything that could irritate your skin or cause discomfort.
A mastectomy bra will also come up higher on the neckline and under the arms, making sure that when your are moving, your breast form stays in place and will not show, and also covering any chest scars you may have.
Most mastectomy bras are soft cup bras and do not contain any underwires. This is mainly for comfort reasons and changes in shape. A soft cup bra is more flexible with your bra cup size, especially through swelling and then when your size starts to settle. However, some brands do offer underwired bras for women who prefer the shape. The underwires are wider and flexible so they don't irritate scars or tissue.
Fitting a Mastectomy Bra
Different Types of Mastectomy
Double Mastectomy - A double mastectomy means having both breasts removed. This could mean that the size of your prostheses is entirely your choice. When fitting for a post surgery bra, make sure the band sits firmly but comfortably against your ribcage. When adding the prostheses in the pockets, check the cup size is correct. Make sure there is no creasing, or the prostheses are popping out at the side or at the neckline.
Single Mastectomy - A single mastectomy means the removal of one breast. This is generally the most common form of surgery. When you are fitted for a prosthesis or breast form, the nurse will make sure you get the same size as your remaining breast, so when you are wearing a bra, both sides look equal. When fitting for a mastectomy bra, it is recommended to fit your existing breast first, so it is easier for the nurse to get the correct size prosthesis. The centre front of the bra should be sitting flat against the breastbone and should not be leaning towards your existing breast. If this happens, try a cup size bigger so it sits correctly.
Lumpectomy - This is also known as a partial mastectomy, where only part of the breast is removed. Partial breast forms are available to put into the pockets, so both sides look equal. After a lumpectomy, it is likely you will be able to wear your standard bras again or you may prefer not to. You are likely be sensitive and have swelling to begin with, so it is ideal to start by wearing something soft until you settle down.
Reconstruction - A breast reconstruction means creating a new breast shape with surgery. This can be done at the same time as a mastectomy or after. Recovering from a breast reconstruction will take slightly longer, so we advise you wear a bra that is soft and comfortable until your shape settles. It is sometimes recommended to wear a compression bra after reconstructive surgery to keep the breasts in shape and aid with the healing and swelling. Make sure you check your bra fits you correctly. It is likely that your bra size has changed and you may find you need a different bra shape as well.
How to choose a Mastectomy Bra?
You will find a variety of mastectomy bras available depending on your fashion and lifestyle.
- Post Surgery Bras - These are all about comfort. Immediately after breast surgery you will want a bra that is extremely soft against the skin with an easy front closure and no irritants.
- Everyday Bras - You will need some good fitting everyday bras to wear to work or on the weekends. T-Shirt Bras are great for a soft and smooth shape underneath clothes. Remember to keep to colors that go with your wardrobe colors. White, Ivory, Black and Nude are amongst the favorite.
- Sports Bras - Sports Bras are available with pockets so you can still exercise and do sport activities with the perfect fitting bra.
- Underwired Bras - Underwired Bras are available with pockets from brands such as Amoena. These are best to wear after a bit of time when your size and scars have settled down.
- Swimwear - You can swim in confidence with mastectomy swimsuits, bikinis and tankinis. They feature higher necklines with bilateral pockets to make sure you get the best support when swimming.
We stock a variety of Mastectomy Bras with bilateral pockets for flexibility and comfort -
Please don’t feel alone, if you need help with fitting please contact our customer service team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on (301) 580-0059