It is crucial to have the right mastectomy bra after your surgery. However, when attempting to find comprehensive mastectomy bra information online, you may find yourself wading through seemingly endless articles. Here at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics, we understand your post-surgery needs and have compiled a guide to help you easily find the right mastectomy bra.
Why Get a Mastectomy Bra?
The more information you have on mastectomy bras, the easier it will be to choose the right one for you. First, it’s important to know the benefits of getting a mastectomy bra.
Restore Body Shape
One concern some individuals have post-surgery is how a mastectomy bra will affect their appearance. The good news is the right mastectomy bra can restore the shape of your body without reconstructive surgery.
A breast form is a type of prosthesis made from soft silicone and is designed to mimic a breast’s natural appearance. The silicone is also excellent for recreating the expected movement and weight of a breast.
The weight of a breast form helps maintain your shoulder posture and overall balance. They can also increase your comfort post-surgery. There are even various forms available made from much lighter materials if you’re worried about comfort during leisure activities.
Because of the material they’re made from, forms can last several years with proper care and often come with warranties.
How Forms Work with a Mastectomy Bra
Most breast forms are worn in a pocket sewn into your mastectomy bra. However, there are also breast forms designed to adhere to the chest wall, which can form an even more seamless and natural look.
Information about Mastectomy Bra Fitting
Bra fitting after a mastectomy can seem intimidating for many reasons, from cost to possible embarrassment. However, most mastectomy supplies are covered by insurance, including bras, and fittings are almost always done by a professional in a private clinical setting. While you can choose to be fitted at a specialized lingerie shop in your community if that’s available to you and would make you more comfortable, your care team can also recommend excellent resources in your area.
Choosing to do your fitting in a formal setting with a professional can ease a lot of stress. They can properly assess your needs, take accurate measurements, and work with you to find your ideal solution. As they have so much experience, they’ll also be able to provide you with emotional support and answer any questions you have during the process.
If you feel uncomfortable with another person measuring you or simply find it easier to do it yourself, self-fitting is certainly an option. This is an extensive process, so be warned that it’ll take some time and probably a bit of trial and error. Be very careful when taking your measurements since you want your bra to fit comfortably and safely.
Depending on what type of mastectomy you had, you may need to measure for both band and cup size. If you had a double mastectomy, it will be necessary to measure your band size, but you can choose your cup size according to your preferences. If you had a unilateral mastectomy, it’s best to use an old unpadded bra to measure for cup size. If you have any questions during the process, we have an online chat option to provide help as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Finding Your Band Size
Take a measuring tape and center it where you want the band to rest. If you had a unilateral mastectomy, place the tape underneath your remaining breast. Keep the tape level and wrap it around your torso and back around to where you started. To calculate your band size, add four to the ending number.
Finding Your Cup Size
Place the measuring tape against the center of your sternum and wrap it around your remaining breast and back to the center of your spine. Multiply this number by two to get your cup measurement.
Choosing Your Prosthesis Shape
If you decide against an entirely custom mold, there are three main prosthesis shapes for you to choose from, depending on what you feel best suits your body type. Most can be used on either side of the chest and can be used with a sewn-in bra pocket or simply fitted into a well-formed cup bra, depending on your aesthetic and comfort preferences.
- Heart: Heart-shaped prostheses are often preferred for their simplicity and comfort, especially for those who had a small amount of tissue removed.
- Triangle: This shape is also a good choice for those who have had less tissue removed, but it is typically preferred by younger women due to its suitability for firmer chest muscles.
- Teardrop: A teardrop prosthesis may be ideal if a larger amount of tissue has been removed. It can fit beneath your underarms to better balance the weight and feel of a bra.
Bras with Drains
It’s unlikely you’ll be able to go back to wearing normal bras straight after your surgery. You will likely have drains attached that need to be accommodated.
Depending on preference and comfort, mastectomy patients can wear a bra without an underwire or camisole directly following surgery. However, no pressure should be placed on the drain site. Only wear bras that you can put on without raising your arms. If you would like additional options, there are post-surgical garments available online and in stores that specialize in making undergarments.
- A post-surgery camisole will be made of soft cotton material to provide support. They’ll also have holes for drains and pockets with soft filling for smoothing out appearances in place of prostheses.
- A post-surgical bra will better fit around and protect incisions, while also providing fill pockets and room for drains. Typically, they’re made with a zipper or Velcro and quite easy to open and close.
For More Information
Having the right post-mastectomy information is crucial to your recovery, especially when looking for a mastectomy bra that will provide the support, comfort, and restoration you need. If you have any further questions, contact us here at Horton’s Orthotics and Prosthetics, where we will provide you with the support you need