There is a lot to be learned about mastectomy bras. Mastectomy bras are bras that feature fabric pockets. They can also hold the breast prosthesis in place post-mastectomy surgery. Inherently, not everyone opts for breast forms thus pocketed mastectomy bras are made and specially designed by lingerie companies. These companies can tailor fit and accommodate unique issues that can be brought about by breast surgeries.
Speaking of pockets, mastectomy bras can be pocketed only on one side but most mastectomy designs are bilaterally pocketed – which means that there are pockets in both cups. Women interested in the mastectomy bras’ unique features should remember that any woman can wear mastectomy bras. A woman need not undergo breast surgery to reap the benefits and comfort that mastectomy bras feature. These universally appealing features warrant women to like mastectomy bras:
- Mastectomy bras do not have underwire.
Soft-cup mastectomy bras are wire-free bras and do not have underwires. The connection between underwire bras and cancer has been discredited, but for post-breast surgery instances, the wire can irritate the scar tissues or sensitive skin.
- Mastectomy bras have padded cups.
Some mastectomy bra cups include light padding in addition to the pockets they have. This can create a smooth look and can be particularly beneficial for uneven healed tissues remaining post-surgery.
- Mastectomy bras have comfortable straps.
Mastectomy bras have wider and even padded shoulder straps that most women find comfortable. A lot of mastectomy bras feature these comfortable straps.
- Mastectomy bras have a center front and under-band.
Mastectomy bras have special stability features. An example of this feature is the under-band that helps the mastectomy bra stay in place. A mastectomy bra under-band can also cover scar tissues.
- Mastectomy bras have supportive side seams.
Most mastectomy bras have wider side seams specifically under the arms. A wider side seam can hide scar tissues as well as additional support to the mastectomy bra round.
Common Questions about Mastectomy Bras
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about mastectomy bras after breast surgery:
- Should a post-surgery/mastectomy bra be worn right after surgery?
Women who have undergone surgery need not wear a specific surgical bra, post-surgery bra, or mastectomy bra after a breast surgery like mastectomy or lumpectomy. They should do so after a piece of advice from their breast care nurse or surgeon. And if they were told to do so, they may be able to get financial aid to pay for the mastectomy bras.
A woman’s chest area can feel particularly sensitive after radiotherapy and breast surgery. Thus, most women should wear a soft mastectomy bra that is not too restrictive after the first few weeks post-surgery. Front-fastening mastectomy bras are also notably easier to put on.
- What mastectomy bras should be worn in the first year post-surgery? What about beyond a year?
Within the first year following a major breast surgery such as a lumpectomy or mastectomy, it can be best to wear a bra with these features:
- Soft material (especially at the seams)
- Wider under-band
- Deep front and side panels
- Full cups
- Separated cups, such that the center of the brassiere in-between cups should sit flat on the chest
- Fully adjustable and comfortable straps, padded if possible
- Minimal design or detailing
It may take up to a year for breast surgery areas to fully recover including nerve repairs and skin changes to set. The type of mastectomy bras women need may also change due to weight and other issues related to treatment.
It will be best to avoid underwired mastectomy bras while the surgical area recovers as they can be uncomfortable.
Right after surgery, some swelling may also be experienced so, it will be better to find a mastectomy bra that fits on the loosest hook. This way, the mastectomy bra can be worn looser, to begin with. After some time, it can then be gradually tightened as the swelling subsides.
Mastectomy bras with high cotton content should be chosen when possible. Cotton is gentler on the skin and will help the wearer stay cooler when having hot flushes.
- How can the right size of mastectomy bras be found after breast surgery?
Most specialist lingerie companies and a few high-street department stores or shops have experienced bra fitters. They will utilize a tape measure to give women exact bra sizes – mastectomy bras are not an exception. It is a great idea for women to have bra sizes measured accurately before buying new mastectomy bras as the shape and size can change during and post-treatment.
Experienced bra fitters have specialized training and ample experience to help women who have undergone breast surgeries. Making an appointment or calling ahead will ensure meeting a trained fitter.
- Where can suitable mastectomy bras be bought post-surgery?
Any mastectomy bra is suitable post-surgery provided that it is well-fitting and observes the points discussed above. Mastectomy bras can be bought from specialist suppliers that are specifically into designing mastectomy bras for women. But they can also be available from a lot of high-street department stores, and this can be a cheaper option.
- What is a mastectomy bra pocket?
A mastectomy bra pocket is a fabric pocket sewn into the mastectomy bra inside the cup to keep in place a breast prosthesis.
When wearing a breast prosthesis is opted, a well-fitting, full-cup mastectomy bra is often all that is needed to hold the prosthesis in place. A lot of women find that this gives off a more natural appearance. They are also secure enough. Although, there are still some women who prefer having mastectomy bras with pockets.
Mastectomy bras may or may not come with bra pockets. Women who prefer ordinary bras may sew a stretchy material loosely across the back of the bra cup to serve as a bra pocket. Bra pockets can also be sewn in at home if buying them online from mastectomy bra specialists.
- Will patients have to pay for their mastectomy bras post-surgery?
Yes, they will have to pay for the mastectomy bras. Take note though that they are VAT exempted if bought by someone who has undergone breast surgery. Most websites and catalogs of lingerie companies offering mastectomy bras have a tick box for this so the buyer need not pay the VAT. When buying from a shop, women may check with staff before paying for mastectomy bras if they exclude the VAT for women post-breast surgery. They may ask the patient to furnish them with a doctor’s letter or other medical proof.