There are a lot of choices to make when having a mastectomy. Have you considered mastectomy bras? Are you going to even need one? Here's more information.
5 Tips to Consider When Buying Mastectomy Bras
Buying a new bra is probably the last thing on your mind when you're preparing for a mastectomy. But very likely, your current bras aren't going to fit you after the fact.
Unfortunately, neither will your old strategies for choosing a bra. However, considering these five tips when buying mastectomy bras will help you find the right fit.
1. Determine What Type of Bra You Need
The mastectomy is not a universal operation. Some women have close to their whole breast removed, while others have a lumpectomy, which removes only a portion of the breast.
If you've just had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, you are going to need a bra that can offer both support and recreate the balance that was lost. Mastectomy bras are not just for women who have had mastectomies, they are very comfortable and versatile. To learn the benefits of a mastectomy bra, read What is a Mastectomy Bra? (And Why Do I Need One?).
However, many women opt for reconstructive surgery. This surgery sometimes happens during the mastectomy and sometimes after. It depends on what you and your doctors decide.
If you opt for reconstruction, you will still need to go through the process of choosing a new bra. But you won't need the same type of support and balance as a woman who did not have reconstructive surgery. Reconstructed breasts are made to stay up on their own, and they won't need a specialized mastectomy bra for support.
Additionally, some plastic surgeons can closely match your reconstructed breast to your natural one in terms of weight and size. It won't be exact, but this can help when choosing, and fitting a bra.
After reconstructive surgery, you will most likely still need to find a new bra that fits your needs. Keep reading to find out what kind of bra will work best for you.
2. Get Fitted Properly for Mastectomy Bras
Studies have shown that most women are wearing the wrong bra size. This can result in discomfort, ill-fitting clothes, and even back pain.
Bra fittings are recommended for all women. But they can be especially useful after a mastectomy when each breast may need to be fitted differently. If you don't have access to a professional fitting you can opt to refer to a Bra Fitting Guide or read Mastectomy Bra Fitting: 5 Important Tips to Keep in Mind.
Many women who decide against breast reconstruction may use a prosthesis to fill out their bra. If this is the avenue you choose, you can buy a bra with a pocket to insert the prosthesis, or you can choose a bra with built-in forms.
Due to the highly specialized nature of your bra needs after a mastectomy, it is best to get a fitting appointment with an expert. They can help you find the right bra for your unique body.
Most department stores have expert fitters that are trained in helping you find a bra after a mastectomy. Getting properly fitted for a mastectomy bra can help you avoid discomfort, back pain, and confusion after a mastectomy.
3. Choose the Right Material
The material also matters when choosing your mastectomy bra. It is always a good idea to talk to your fitter, but many experts recommend 100 percent cotton for your new bra. You may find that this is different from your bras in the past.
Cotton is recommended because it is softer than many other materials, and will be the most gentle on your skin post-operation. Cotton bras are most popular immediately after the procedure. They will often be wider, thicker, and open in front for easy access and adjustment.
Many brands also offer cotton mastectomy camisoles with build in bras. Women often opt for camisoles for comfort and femininity, among many other reasons.
If you are opting for a prosthesis, you will also have to choose the material for that. Many prostheses are made out of gel, foam, or silicone. Some of them adhere directly to your skin, while others are inserted into a little pocket in your bra.
The choice is dependent on personal preference. But finding a professional prosthetic fitter will help make the process much easier.
4. Consider Support
For many women, a supportive bra has always meant a bra with a metal underwire. This is not the case anymore.
If you have had breast reconstructive surgery, you will no longer need a metal wire to support your breast. Reconstructed breasts are made to stay up on their own.
Additionally, a reconstructed breast may not be as sensitive. If the underwire pokes out it can gouge you without you noticing as soon as you would with your pre-surgery breast. Instead, that underwire will be replaced with an understrap. You may find that this strap is more comfortable than the wire ever was.
Many doctors recommend compression bras to stimulate circulation to the breast. Amoena makes compression bras that fit very snugly, offering all the support you could need.
A lot of mastectomy bras have wide straps with extra padding, which can be more comfortable and supportive after a mastectomy. These thicker straps will help distribute weight better compared to the ribbon-like straps associated with most bras.
Good breast support is also important during this time because mastectomies affect the weight distribution on your back. If this distribution is very noticeable to you, it may help to consult your doctor or physical therapist.
5. Emphasize Comfort
A lot of women think that all bras are uncomfortable. This doesn't have to hold true. Prioritize finding a comfortable fit when looking for post-mastectomy bras.
You are going to want to choose a bra that supports you in all the right ways mentioned above and also makes you feel like yourself. In addition to feeling physically comfortable, choose a bra that makes you feel good emotionally.
There are plenty of mastectomy bras that come in bright colors or with lace and bows. Some women struggle with their femininity after breast reconstruction. If aesthetic features help with this struggle, embrace those little details!
Find Your Perfect Bra Today
Finding the right bra can be a troublesome process at any time. But after a mastectomy, there shouldn't be a need for any extra hassle. These five tips for finding mastectomy bras will help you find the right option for you.
Ready to get started?
Explore our selection of mastectomy bras here.
P.S. Finding the right bra is only one step in a long journey. Are you interested in more help regarding what to do after a mastectomy? Read our post on 10 Mastectomy Recovery Tips to Help Ease Your Discomfort for more advice.