Back to Bras: Adjusting to Bras After Reconstructive Surgery

post surgery braThe below question is answered by Charleston breast surgeon, Dr. Richard M. Kline, Jr. of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction:

How soon can I wear a regular bra after the first stage surgery?

Well, I am not sure I know what a regular bra is.  Sport bras are very similar to the bras which we use in the hospital and we often recommend the people transition to sport bras.  I think most patients could wear almost anything they wanted, even an underwire, somewhere from 1-2 months after surgery, although this may not be as comfortable as some other options.

If you do need to have a special bra after your incision lines have healed, we are happy to provide a prescription. We’ve had lots of our patients rave about Nordstrom’s for post mastectomy bras. Not only do the kind folks there provide a professional fitting for mastectomy patients, but they also handle the insurance paperwork for you too!

Here are more helpful hints for post surgery clothing:

If you are having a DIEP breast reconstruction, abdominal swelling limits clothing choices. Wear loose-fitting garments to the hospital. Women should avoid fitted, zippered pants and skirts because they probably won’t zip when it’s time to leave. Even clothing with snug elastic waistbands may be uncomfortable. A loose chemise or drop waist dress or jumper is a good choice.

Slacks or skirts with elastic in the back and a smooth band in the front may be slightly more comfortable than those with a totally elastic waistband.

Consider clothing that doesn’t wrinkle easily. Resting and naps are necessary while recuperating.

Cotton underwear breathes and is absorbent and comfortable next to the skin. Cotton’s fiber ends help the fabric stand away from the sensitive incision area rather than hug it, as some textured, synthetic fabrics do. If you don’t already have cotton briefs, buy a pair a size larger than your normal size. A little extra room adds comfort during recuperation. For waistline incisions, bikini cut styles may be better, while full cut panties and shorts might be preferred for incisions in the lower abdomen and buttocks.

Loose-fitting nightgowns and nightshirts are comfortable, especially when made from absorbent, breathable cotton or cotton-blends. If you prefer pajamas, select those with drawstrings. Elastic waists may be less comfortable for some people depending on swelling, tenderness, and location of incision. Sweatpants or crew pants are a comfortable change from bed wear, especially those with drawstrings, which allow some flexibility at the waistline.

Flat soled shoes that slip on your feet rather than tie are great to have, too, as you may be limited in your ability to bend over and tie your shoes.

Are you thinking of having reconstructive surgery and have questions or just want more information? Then click here to ask our team, we’d love to hear from you!