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Choosing a Bra after Breast Surgery

Utilising the right bra and support garments post-breast surgery is crucial, not only for a safe and effective recovery but also for results. This article provides an in-depth exploration of various bra types and guides you in selecting the most suitable option for your post-breast surgery needs.

Different types of bras to wear after Breast Surgery

In the realm of post-breast surgery attire, various bra types cater to specific recovery needs. Below, we outline some examples:

Surgical Bras

Surgical bras, also referred to as compression bras, are underwire-free garments primarily worn following breast augmentation or breast reduction surgeries. These bras serve a dual purpose: not only do they provide essential support for the newly altered or reduced breasts, but they also expedite the healing process. For the initial two weeks post-surgery, patients are advised to wear these bras continuously, except during showers. Surgical bras offer several advantages:

  • Securely hold wound dressings in place
  • Restrict movement of breast implants
  • Safeguard delicate breast tissue
  • Minimise post-surgical swelling
  • Promote recovery

Transition Bras

Once the two weeks are up, you may switch your bra to a transition bra. This bra has no underwire but is still supportive. Like the compression bra, it should be worn every day and night. This bra should be worn for approximately two weeks. However, some patients may need to wear this bra for an additional two weeks. Once the 4-week mark has been reached, there is no need to wear the transition bra at night.

The same goes for breast reduction, where you will be using a transition bra but for 4 weeks instead of 2 weeks. When the 6-week post-surgery mark is reached, you may wear any bra provided it has no underwire. This is because the skin under your breast can still be numb at this stage and wearing a bra with an underwire can be irritating.

Regular Long-Term Bras

Typically, regular long-term bras can be reintroduced approximately three months following breast augmentation surgery. As mentioned earlier, underwire bras can rub against incision sites and induce discomfort. Therefore, it is crucial to proceed with caution and ensure that the incision area can tolerate the chosen bra.

Once the breasts and incisions have fully healed and settled into their final positions, transitioning to a bra designed for long-term support becomes essential. An ideal bra should accentuate your new breasts while delivering the necessary support. Furthermore, it should help prevent implants from descending — a concern best addressed after your body has had sufficient time to heal. Since individual patients may experience varying healing processes and possess unique breast types, it is vital to consult and heed the guidance of your surgeon, as they possess a deep understanding of your body’s pre- and post-procedure conditions.

The Right Type of Bra for You after 3 Months

As mentioned above, everyone has different healing processes, so that the healing times can differ between patients. However, the average healing time for a patient is from three to six months. To find out which bra would suit you best, below are several characteristics or features to look out for, when looking for the right bra;

  • No underwire: Opt for bras without an underwire to avoid discomfort and irritation.
  • Front clasps: Bras with front clasps are easier to put on and take off during the healing process.
  • Proper fit: Ensure the bra fits your breasts well for comfort and support.
  • Breast lift: Look for bras that provide support and lift to keep your breasts in an elevated position.

A bra that meets these criteria is likely the best choice to sustain and support your healing breasts effectively.

Normal Bras

These provide essential breast support and come in various styles, from wire-free to underwired, and with or without padding. It’s advisable to wait a bit before transitioning to everyday bras since your breast shape may continue to change in the months following surgery.

Sports Bras

Designed to minimise breast movement during physical activities, sports bras offer maximum support and help alleviate discomfort while exercising. They are also beneficial for post-surgery recovery as they provide essential breast support and reduce the risk of the breasts lowering in position.

Zip or Clasp Bras

These bras feature a front zipper or clasp, making them easier to put on and remove compared to traditional back-clasp bras. While many of them are sports bras, they also provide support for everyday wear. However, it’s essential to avoid excessive movement, as the front zipper design may cause discomfort if folded over during activity.

Going braless after Breast Surgery – Can I not wear a bra?

Going braless after breast surgery requires caution. After breast reduction surgery, it’s advisable to wait at least 6-8 weeks before considering going braless. However, always seek your surgeon’s approval to ensure proper healing, as going braless prematurely can negatively impact your recovery.

For breast augmentation, a minimum of 6 weeks post-surgery is recommended before you consider going braless, while breast lift patients should wait at least a month. Regardless of your specific breast surgery, consulting your surgeon before going braless is crucial.

It’s important to note that going braless should remain an occasional choice rather than a regular habit. Breasts contend with gravity daily, necessitating constant support to combat its effects effectively.

Pros and Cons of Wearing a Bra

The reasons for wearing a bra after breast surgery

  • Breast Support: Bras provide essential support to the breasts, helping to counteract the effects of gravity. They lift the breasts upward, reducing the pull of gravity.
  • Posture: Bras contribute to better posture and help prevent spine and back problems. Proper breast support aligns the upper body more effectively.
  • Prevention of excess skin: By supporting the breasts, bras aid in preventing the skin from being affected by gravity.

The Disadvantages of Wearing a Bra

The disadvantages of wearing a bra after breast surgery vary from person to person. Disadvantages occur when a bra is a poor fit or too tight on the body. If you’re currently wearing a bra that is making you feel uncomfortable, you are probably feeling one or more of these symptoms:

  • Skin damage
    • Tight bras can hamper your blood circulation and eventually damage your skin.
  • Back pain
    • When you wear a tight bra, you put a lot of strain on your back, leading to stiffness and pain.

What to Do to have a Good Recovery After Breast Surgery

To ensure a successful recovery after breast surgery, consider the following tips:

  • Follow Medical Advice
    • Adhere to your surgeon’s instructions meticulously. This includes:
      • Taking prescribed medications
      • Following wound care routines
      • Attending post-operative appointments
  • Rest and Limit Activity
    • Give your body the time it needs to heal by resting and avoiding strenuous physical activities, including heavy lifting.
  • Wear Recommended Bras
    • Use the appropriate bras recommended by your surgeon, which may include surgical bras or compression garments. These provide vital support and promote healing.
  • Stay Hydrated and Eat Healthily
  • Avoid Smoking and Alcohol
    • Steer clear of smoking and alcohol as they can hinder healing and increase the risk of complications.
  • Manage Pain and Discomfort
    • Take pain medications as prescribed and use ice packs as directed to manage pain and reduce swelling.
  • Incision Care
    • Keep your incisions clean and dry, following your surgeon’s instructions. This helps prevent infections and promotes optimal healing.
  • Limit Sun Exposure
    • Protect your surgical scars from sun exposure to avoid hyperpigmentation.
    • Use sunscreen and cover the area if necessary.
  • Emotional Well-being
    • Stay positive and maintain a healthy mindset.
  • Reach Out for Support
    • Don’t hesitate to lean on friends and family for assistance and emotional support during your recovery.
  • Monitor for Complications
    • Keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms or signs of infection, such as excessive swelling, redness, or fever.
    • Contact your surgeon if you suspect any issues.

By following these guidelines and closely following your surgeon’s recommendations, you can increase your chances of a successful and smooth recovery after breast surgery.

Surgical Tape Care

You need to take special care of your surgical tapes since you’ll need to have them on for eight weeks after the surgery. These tapes reinforce the incisions made during the surgery. You should avoid removing them since they help reduce the impact of scars on your skin.

Dos and Don’ts Post-Recovery

Dos:

  • Light Exercise
    • Begin gentle exercises after 6 weeks, such as shoulder rolls, arm stretching, and light circling.
    • Wear your recommended surgical or transition bra during these exercises to prevent complications.
    • Stop any exercise if you experience pain, as it may indicate overexertion.
  • Wear Prescribed Bra
    • Follow your surgeon’s advice and wear the prescribed bra day and night until you receive clearance to go without it. This helps maintain breast position and protects incisions from daily movements.
  • Medication Compliance
    • Adhere to your doctor’s instructions regarding pain medication.
    • Take the prescribed dosage at the specified times to manage pain effectively.

Don’ts:

  • Drink Alcohol or Smoke
    • Steer clear of alcohol and smoking during your recovery.
    • These substances can hinder the healing process and affect both your skin and internal organs.
  • Apply Makeup or Unapproved Chemicals
    • Refrain from applying makeup or any chemicals that are not prescribed by your doctor to the incision site.
    • Your incisions are still in the healing process and should not be touched.

If you’re unsure about which bra is best for your post-operative recovery, consult with one of our doctors. The ideal bra choice should prioritise comfort, purpose, and support while aligning with your specific needs during recovery.

Common Types of Breast Surgery

Breast Augmentation

Breast augmentation is the only procedure for breasts that uses implants. Implants are sacs filled with either saline or silicone and they help form and shape the breasts.

Breast Lift

A breast lift, on the other hand, removes excess skin and reshapes the breasts. This specific procedure will not significantly change the size of the breasts but can raise the position of the nipples and the areola.

Breast Reduction

A breast reduction removes extra fat, tissue, and skin in the breasts. This can address physical discomforts such as neck pain, back pain, and skin irritation associated with large breast size.

For a more detailed article regarding these procedures, simply search them on our website.

Further Reading – Medical References:

Specialist Plastic Surgeons and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon

With a wealth of experience and training, our Specialist Plastic and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeons are dedicated to best-practice patient care and education, customising Surgery for each and every patient to best meet their needs and desired surgical outcomes.

Dr Craig Rubinstein
Dr Broughton Snell
Dr Stephen Kleid
Dr Gary Kode

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001124843

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon based in Hawthorn East, Melbourne. With over 20 years of surgical experience especially in all areas of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery, but particularly in breast surgery. These include Breast Augmentation and Breast Reduction as well as Breast Surgery Revision.

Furthermore, he believes that surgical customisation, precision planning and technical expertise help him to provide optimal surgical outcomes for his patients.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001190266

Dr Broughton Snell

Dr Broughton Snell is a Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. His training in Plastic Surgery took place in Australia and the United States of America (USA).

Dr Snell is a fully qualified specialist plastic surgeon having completed his Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) Surgeon MED0001052799

Dr Stephen Kleid

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty, as well as, a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid trained at Melbourne University, then completed surgical training at various hospitals including Royal Melbourne, Royal Children’s, The Eye and Ear and St Vincents. He worked as a surgeon at the University of Florida Medical school for further experience.

Specialist Plastic Surgeon MED0001405964

Dr Gary Kode

Dr Gary Kode is a Specialist Plastic Surgeon, with experience in Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery, as well as non-surgical treatments.

Dr Kode is a member of several organisations, including the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), The International Confederation for Plastic and Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, and he holds a Fellowship with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.

What to do next?

Our Patient Liaison Team can assist with any questions you may have when considering a procedure. You can send in an enquiry form below or call our Melbourne Clinic between 9 am – 5 pm Monday - Friday.

Disclaimer: Results depend on individual patient circumstances and can vary significantly. Results may also be impacted by a variety of factors including your lifestyle, weight, nutritional intake and overall health. Consult your Specialist Plastic Surgeon for details. This information is general in nature and is not intended to be medical advice nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Surgery risks and complications will be covered in detail during a consultation with your Surgeon.

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