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A Guide to Mastectomy and Post-Operative Bras

Breast surgery is a potentially life changing event that can leave both physical and mental scars. Women have many issues to cope with and to overcome and one of these is finding the right lingerie for their post-operative bodies that will provide the comfort and support that they need whilst looking feminine and fabulous.

Thankfully these days women can choose from a great selection of post mastectomy bras and finding them is relatively straightforward. Sadly this wasn't always the case. Until relatively recently mastectomies were kept hush hush and women were sent to medical suppliers to be fitted for a mastectomy bra. There was a limited choice and the styles were unappealing. Now, with specialist lingerie labels offering a wonderful array of styles and retailers featuring these in their ranges, women have the options that they need and easier access to them. Better still, the internet has opened up a world of information and choices for women that previous generations couldn't even have dreamt of.

Anita Care Versailles Mastectomy Bra in Ivory
Anita Care Versailles Mastectomy Bra

Following Breast Surgery

Whether you have had minor breast surgery or a single or double mastectomy there will be scar tissue. This takes time to heal properly and can be painful. Surgery can also affect the balance of the body causing tension in your back, neck or shoulders. There may also be nerve damage to cope with which can result in a tingling sensation. The removal of the lymph nodes under the arm can cause swelling to the side of the body where you have had surgery.

It is possible for some women to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy. However, many women decide against this, at least initially, because they can't face more surgery, because they believe that an implant would not feel right or because they are waiting to see how they feel after their recovery period. Whatever the extent of your surgery and whether or not you have undergone a reconstruction, the right post-operative bra is a must and will be fundamental to both your healing and your self-esteem.

The Benefits of Mastectomy / Post Operative Bras

Post-operative and mastectomy bras are specially designed to aid recovery and to offer the features women need moving forward. The bras do vary but offer one or more of the following benefits:

  • Wide, comfortable and adjustable straps as these are important for reducing the risk of Lymphodema developments
  • Good separation between the cups, with a deeper centre that sits against the breastbone as this will ensure that any breast form is secured firmly and cannot be visible if the wearer bends forward
  • Pockets to accommodate breast forms
  • Deeper side wings under the arms and no stiffeners so that rubbing or chafing on the scar tissue from lymph gland removal can be avoided
  • Soft fabrics and seams
  • Support without underwires
  • Multi-sectioned cups or preformed cups for great shaping
  • Front fastenings so you don't have to strain to reach them

So mastectomy bras have the fabrics and structure required which is great but you are probably looking for more than that! All women want to look and feel wonderful and happily there are many gorgeous mastectomy bras with pretty fabrics and details that you will love. At Bra Shop UK we have a brilliant collection of mastectomy bras from the Anita Care collection. Whether you have had a reconstruction or are using breast forms there will be a fabulous bra for you. If you have had breast surgery for health reasons then your mastectomy bra purchase will be free from VAT.

Breast Forms

If you have had a mastectomy but reconstructive surgery was not possible or you have opted not to proceed with it then you can use breast forms in conjunction with your mastectomy bra. There are several types of breast forms or prostheses that you can take advantage of.

As surgery or even radiotherapy can leave you feeling sore or sensitive you may initially wish to use a temporary prosthesis called a 'softie'. The pocket of your bra will hold a 'softie' but they are light and so may be best held in place by a safety pin or stitching.

Once your scar area has fully healed and all swelling has disappeared you can move on to a permanent silicone prosthesis. A full prosthesis is matched to the size and shape of your remaining breast. If you have has both breasts removed then you can choose prostheses of a size and shape which you feel comfortable with.

If you have had only part of your breast removed then a partial prosthesis can be worn with a mastectomy bra to balance the outline of your breasts. A shell prosthesis is a good option if reconstructive surgery has resulted in breasts of different sizes or it can be used whilst an implant is being expanded.

When you want to swim then it is best to wear a swim prosthesis as these do not get damaged by chlorine or salt water.

Helping Others

If you have bras that no longer suit then you can use them to help others. Many charities collect bras which are then recycled, given to the homeless or sent to developing countries where women cannot afford to buy the lingerie they need. Some charities also raise funds from redistributing bras. Such funds are often used to finance cancer care services and cancer research.

Helping Yourself

Mastectomy bras can be absolutely stunning and incredibly feminine as well as being kind to your body. Do take a look at the fabulous post-op and mastectomy bras here at Bra Shop UK and help yourself to your perfect new lingerie!

Mastectomy Bra Fitting Service

Not sure where to start with mastectomy bras? Need help with getting the right size for you? Then contact us or visit our bricks and mortar store for our mastectomy bra fitting service. We have achieved a Centre of Excellence Award for our service.


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