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 email@example.com or call us on (301) 580-0059
Frequently asked questions
What should I expect at a fitting?
- Welcoming Atmosphere: When you arrive at our store, you'll be greeted by our friendly and compassionate staff. We aim to create a warm and welcoming environment where you can feel at ease.
- Personal Consultation: Your fitting will begin with a one-on-one consultation with one of our certified mastectomy fitters. They will take the time to get to know you, your specific needs, and any concerns you may have.
- Privacy and Comfort: We understand the importance of privacy during this process. Our fitting rooms are designed to provide you with a comfortable and discreet space where you can try on bras and garments.
- Expert Measurement: Our certified fitters are highly trained in post-mastectomy fitting techniques. They will take precise measurements to determine your bra size accurately, ensuring the best fit and support.
- Selection of Bras: Based on your preferences and needs, our fitter will guide you through our collection of post-mastectomy bras. These bras are specifically designed with features such as pockets for breast forms or prostheses, soft fabrics, and comfortable straps to provide you with the utmost comfort and confidence.
- Personalized Recommendations: Our fitters will provide you with personalized recommendations based on your body shape, surgical procedure, and preferences. They will explain the features and benefits of different bras and help you choose the ones that are right for you.
- Try-On Session: You will have the opportunity to try on various bras to ensure they fit comfortably and provide the desired support. Our fitters will make any necessary adjustments and alterations to ensure the perfect fit.
- Education and Support: Throughout the fitting process, our staff will provide you with information and guidance on caring for your bras, prostheses, and overall breast health. We are here to answer any questions you may have and offer emotional support as well.
- Selection of Other Lingerie: In addition to bras, we offer a range of post-mastectomy lingerie, including camisoles, swimwear, and accessories to help you feel confident and stylish.
- Personalized Service: At Cherry Blossom Intimates, we understand that every individual's experience is unique. We are committed to providing you with a personalized and empathetic experience that caters to your specific needs and preferences.
How much does it cost without insurance?
We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality products and services to support your post-mastectomy needs. Here's a breakdown of our pricing:
- Bras: Our standard post-mastectomy bras are priced at $60 each without insurance coverage. These bras are designed to offer comfort, support, and style, specifically tailored to your unique needs after a mastectomy. They come in a variety of styles and colors to suit your preferences.
- Prostheses: Prostheses are available in a range of options, each with its own features and benefits. The pricing for prostheses can vary depending on the type and materials used. Our prostheses typically range in price from $80 to $500. We offer a variety of prosthetic options to accommodate different budgets and individual requirements.
What do I need to bring to my appointment?
Kindly bring a copy of a government issued photo ID, your insurance cards, a referral from your doctor (can be your primary care, oncologist, or surgeon).
Which insurances do you accept?
- Aetna (HMO, PPO, Medicare)
- Amerigroup (Maryland)
- Breast & Cervical Cancer Program of Maryland
- BCCP of Department of Health
- Blue Cross Blue Shield
- CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield (all-HMO, PPO, POS, Medicare)
- Johns Hopkins Healthcare EHP
- Johns Hopkins US Family Health Plan
- Kaiser of the Midatlantic
- Medicaid: Maryland, DC and Virginia
- Maryland Physicians Care
- Priority Partners MCO (a division of Johns Hopkins Healthcare)
- Tricare-Humana/Tricare East (Military insurance)