Bras After Surgery for Breast Cancer | What To Know About Mastectomy Bras

Bras After Surgery for Breast Cancer | What To Know About Mastectomy Bras
by Nicola Rodney-Crook on June 25, 2024

What to Know About Bras After Surgery for Breast Cancer

Navigating the world of bras after breast cancer surgery can be challenging. Whether you've had a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or breast reconstruction, finding the right bra is essential for your comfort and confidence. Here's what you need to know about choosing and wearing bras after breast cancer surgery.

Do I Need to Wear a Bra After Breast Cancer Surgery?

Breast cancer surgery, and sometimes radiotherapy, can make your chest area particularly sensitive. Wearing a bra may provide comfort, but it isn’t always necessary. Your surgeon or breast care nurse will guide you on what type of bra to wear based on your specific surgery.

If you've had breast reconstruction, you may be advised to wear a bra day and night initially after your surgery. This helps in maintaining the shape and position of the reconstructed breast. Your doctor will help advise if you require a post surgical compression bra,

Choosing a Bra While You Are Healing

For up to a year after surgery, your shape and size may change due to weight fluctuations and treatment-related changes. During this time, the type of bra you need may also change. While the area recovers from surgery and any skin changes from radiotherapy settle, consider choosing bras that have:

  • Soft Seams: To avoid irritating sensitive skin.
  • Wide Underband: Provides support without being too tight.
  • Deep Front and Side Panels: Offers additional support.
  • Full Cups: Ensures full coverage and support.
  • Cup Separation: The center of the bra should sit flat on your chest.
  • Fully Adjustable Straps: For a customizable fit.
  • Simple Design: Avoid lace or other details that might cause discomfort.
  • No Underwires: Underwires can be uncomfortable during recovery, but you can wear them once fully healed.

If you experience swelling after surgery, consider a bra that is one chest size larger. For instance, if you are a 34B, choose a 36B. Additionally, bras with a high cotton content are gentler on your skin and help you stay cool if you're experiencing hot flushes.

Bra strap cushions can make the straps more comfortable on your shoulders and help keep the bra in place. These can be purchased from lingerie shops or online.

Wearing a Bra After Breast Reconstruction

After breast reconstruction, finding a comfortable and well-fitting bra is a common concern. Your surgeon will advise you on the best type of bra based on your reconstruction type. Initially, you may be advised to wear a bra both day and night to support your new breast shape.

Pocketed Bras and Prostheses

If you plan to wear a prosthesis, a well-fitting bra with a full cup is often sufficient to hold it in place, creating a natural appearance. However, some women prefer bras with pockets designed to keep the prosthesis secure. Post-surgery bras often come with these pockets to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. 

Bra Styling

Mastectomy bras have come along way over the past few years and you no longer have to settle of functional looking bras. We have bras to suit all tastes including, colorful mastectomy bras, lace mastectomy bras and T-shirt mastectomy bras, and many more.  

Where to Buy a Bra After Breast Cancer Surgery

At Bras and Honey in San Diego, we offer experienced bra fitters who can assist you in finding the right size and style. As your shape and size may change during and after treatment, it's essential to have your bra size checked before buying new bras. Our fitters have specialized training and experience in helping women who have had or are going to have breast surgery.

Insurance Coverage for Mastectomy Bras

Most insurance companies cover the cost of mastectomy bras and forms as part of your policy, but the allowances can vary. You will need a prescription from your doctor. At Bras and Honey, we can help guide you through this process to ensure you receive the benefits covered under your insurance plan.

Comfort and Practicality

In the first few weeks after surgery, most women opt for a soft, non-wired bra that isn't too restrictive. You may find a front-fastening bra easier to put on, especially if your shoulder is stiff. Our leaflet on exercises after breast cancer surgery can help ease stiffness and improve mobility.

Men who have had breast cancer surgery will also receive advice from their treatment team on making the treated area more comfortable.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right bra after breast cancer surgery is crucial for your comfort and well-being. At Bras and Honey, we are dedicated to providing the support and expertise you need during this time. Our certified mastectomy fitters can help you find the perfect bra, whether you need a post-surgery bra, a mastectomy bra, or a bra for wearing with a prosthesis.

If you are not given any advice about bras following surgery, consult your surgeon or breast care nurse, or contact Bras and Honey Lingerie in San Diego for expert guidance on what is best to wear.

Contact Us

For personalized assistance, contact Bras and Honey to arrange an appointment with one of our trained mastectomy fitters. We are here to help you navigate your post-surgery bra needs with care and expertise.

Please note: Our specialists are not medical professionals and can only provide guidance on garment fit. For a comprehensive assessment, consult with a fitter, doctor, or therapist.


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Bras After Surgery for Breast Cancer | What To Know About Mastectomy Bras


The undergarments you wear should never interfere with your day-to-day activities—in fact, they should fit so comfortably that you forget you're even wearing them. If that sounds impossible, there's a good chance you haven't been wearing the right size. Fortunately, learning how to measure your bra size doesn't take long.



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