May 20, 2016 11:58PM - edited Jul 16, 2019 02:30PM by Moderators
Start by asking the nurse navigator or equivalent contact at your hospital whether they will provide you with a post-surgical camisole (or something else), or if you need to get your own if you want to use one.
There are many approaches for holding the bulbs, ranging from camisoles, to drain belts with detachable pockets (velcro), to "Pink pockets". Some prefer improvised solutions such as safety pins alone, or a tank top plus safety pins, tool belts, kangaroo-pocket sweatshirts worn inside out (bulbs tucked in the pockets), etc. If you plan to use tank tops with pins, make sure the tank tops have enough stretch that you can step into them, as arms should not be lifted above 90 degrees at first.
The website www.breastfree.org describes various options with links on this page:
Pink Pockets: http://www.pink-pockets.com
My hospital did not provide any garment. I had gauze with clear tape on top of the incisions, and the nurses used big safety pins to pin the bulbs to the inside of my top while I was there. At home, I had two camisoles (in case of washing), but didn't use them much. I liked the stick-on "Pink pockets" a lot better. They were roomy and easy to use and place where I wanted. You can get 4 pairs for ~ $20.00.
Various camisoles are dual function, with pockets for holding drains and ability to hold puffy forms, if you wish to use a form. (I was instructed not to use the puffy forms until my drains were out.) They are not cheap, but I did not try to get insurance to pay for mine, because I wanted to save my coverage for good silicone prostheses.
For showering (once you are cleared), many use a lanyard or just a fabric ribbon tied around the neck with large safety pins to hold the bulbs.
For clearing the tubing (the nurse will show you how), I bought a box of individually pre-packaged antiseptic "alcohol swabs" (sterile, alcohol soaked squares of a fabric-like material) at my local drugstore. Use the "swab" to hold the tubing in the "sliding" hand, pinched between index finger and thumb, to make sliding along the tube easier.
I still have the two camisoles (an earlier Softee model: SofteeTwo, size small) with one pair of puffy forms laying around and directions, if you are interested.
Bilateral mastectomy without reconstruction, 9/2013