What Is a Mastectomy Bra? (And Why Do I Need One?)
You might be wondering: what is a mastectomy bra? And why do I need one? If that's the case, then click here to find out what you should know!
When you find out you have to get a mastectomy, it may feel like everything in your life changes. You may have to relearn how to pick flattering clothes, redefine your relationship with your body, and, last but not least, go through the demanding process of recovering from surgery. In the midst of all that, one factor you may not think about is getting a mastectomy bra.
A mastectomy bra can provide the support and flexibility you need after your operation. Read on to learn more about these bras and why you should consider getting one.
What Is a Mastectomy?
Before we dive into what a mastectomy bra is, let’s review the differences between a mastectomy and a lumpectomy, as well as the different kinds of mastectomy. For many people, hearing the word “mastectomy” conjures images of scars across a flat chest or just one breast left. But there are many different types of mastectomy with different levels of impact on the body.
A lumpectomy and a partial mastectomy both involve removing part of the breast tissue and may or may not impact the look of your breasts. A nipple-sparing mastectomy removes breast tissue but leaves the nipple intact. Simple or total mastectomies remove all of the breast tissue.
What Is a Mastectomy Bra?
If you have to have a partial or total mastectomy, you may find that normal bras don’t fit right anymore. This can be uncomfortable and emotionally distressing. But mastectomy bras are designed to help you get the support you need and the look you want.
Mastectomy bras contain discreet pockets that can hold breast prostheses that will make it look as though you never saw a scalpel. These bras can have prostheses in either or both cups to accommodate your needs. Some bras will contain pockets in both cups that you can add prostheses to as needed.
A mastectomy bra does more than just provide pockets for your prostheses, however. These bras should offer enough coverage to secure your breast form in place so you aren’t having to worry about adjusting it all the time. It should also provide lightweight support to your remaining breast tissue.
Many mastectomy bras are made from soft materials so they’ll work well for sensitive skin. They usually don’t contain underwires, as these can be uncomfortable for people recovering from surgery. Instead, they feature a wide underband to help hold the bra in place and cover any scars.
Who Should Consider One
Of course, candidates of partial or full mastectomies may want to consider wearing a mastectomy bra. If you’ve had a double full mastectomy, you may choose to embrace your scars as signs of victory and go without a bra, and if that’s your choice, we fully support you! But if you’re finding yourself more self-conscious after your surgery, a mastectomy bra can make you feel more like your old self again.
However, many women who have not had mastectomies or lumpectomies may also want to consider a mastectomy bra. Many women have uneven breasts, and wearing a mastectomy bra can be a cheaper and easier way to even out the look of your breasts. And if you have a hard time finding a bra that’s comfortable enough for you, the superior comfort of mastectomy bras could be a great solution.
What to Look For
When you’re shopping for a mastectomy bra, there are a few features you want to look for. For one thing, make sure the bra is bilateral – that it has pockets in both cups – or that it has a layout that fits your needs. You also need to make sure the bra is comfortable to wear all day.
If you can and feel comfortable doing so, go to try on your first mastectomy bra in person. Bring your prostheses and make sure they fit well into the bra’s pockets and that the bra provides enough support to be comfortable to wear. Also pay attention to straps that provide enough support, a band that holds up your prostheses and covers any scars, as well as tags or clasps that will become uncomfortable.
When to Switch to One
It is important to note that you shouldn’t go out and buy a mastectomy bra as soon as you schedule your surgery. For one thing, it’s hard to tell what your needs will be until after your surgery is done and you’ve had time to heal. But you also won’t be in a mastectomy bra right off the bat after your surgery.
For a while after your surgery, you’ll need more support than a mastectomy bra can provide. Your doctor will likely recommend that you wear a sports bra or a compression bra. You should only switch to a mastectomy bra after your doctor gives you the okay to do so.
How to Choose a Cup Size
When you get ready to shop for a mastectomy bra, sizing can be tricky. You may not know what size your breasts are anymore, especially if both breasts were operated on. And then you have the question of which breast to size the bra to.
It’s a very good idea to go for a professional bra fitting after you’ve recovered from your surgery so you can see what size your new breasts are. Take a friend with you for emotional support if you need, and explain your situation to the attendant. Have them measure your larger breast, and buy your bra based on that cup size.
Get Your Perfect Mastectomy Bra
Recovering from a mastectomy can be difficult physically and emotionally, and it’s important to get the support you need during this time. A mastectomy bra can give you options for wearing prostheses, evening out your breast size, and finding comfort in your body post-surgery. Look for a bra that’s comfortable for you and which fits your needs.
If you’d like to get other supplies to help you recover post-surgery, check out the rest of our site at Halo Healthcare. We have everything from mobility assistance to sitting and standing aides and more. Check out our breast care and comfort products and make sure your path to recovery is as easy as possible.