Mar 20, 2015 07:51PM robinblessed54 wrote:
kingster, glad it went well at work! I go back Monday. My glue is still the whole length of incision. I agree, it can take its time.
Posted on: May 25, 2010 07:30PM - edited Feb 15, 2013 08:16AM by val61
BRAS.......whether you love them or hate them, they are often part of our reconstruction journeys. Whippetmom and I decided to share some information that we discovered throughout our respective journeys through breast reconstruction. There are different practice styles and philosophies among plastic surgeons (PSs), and this extends to their feelings and recommendations about bras after exchange. Some of our PSs have very specific instructions regarding underwire/wireless bras; some say no bra is necessary, and some say nothing on the subject. It seems that a great number of PSs fall in the latter category.
Please note: We are NOT physicians or medically educated....just fellow bc sisters who have researched this subject and want to share what we've learned :)
If you have lymphedema or have been told you are at risk for it, please discuss the issue of bras and supportive breast wear with your physician. Risk factors:
Why would I need a bra after reconstructrion? To keep those lovely implants where your PS placed them. Because underwire bras provide such excellent implant support and stabilization (when properly fitted), many plastic surgeons advocate the use of them soon after the exchange surgery. The wire provides "encapsulation" to help prevent implant migration. This was my experience. My PS sent me for a professional bra fitting (at Nordstrom) as soon as the drains were removed. I wore that underwire bra 24/7 (I bought two :) - worn VERY tightly in both band and straps - for the next 3 1/2 months.....yes months! That is the time it generally takes for scar tissue to form the "capsule" around the implant. Until then gravity and arm movements can cause the implants to migrate.
Some have asked if underwire bras could harm the new sutures and pocket work after exchange. While those of you whose incision line is along the IMF (inframammary fold) will likely be unable to wear underwire for awhile, most of us with traditional trans-aerolar incisions will be allowed to wear them. My PS's belief is that an underwire is absolutely necessary to provide adequate support for the implants, as there is little else to support them initially. We need to think about what's supporting our implants. Many of us here have had TE's [tissue expanders], so our implants are essentially held in place by our (often very thin) expanded tissue coupled with the various chest muscles and sutures. (Not the case for those who've had flap procedures.) Eventually (3-4 months according to most PSs) scar tissue forms the capsule, which then adds some additional support. Despite rumors, there is no need to fear about missing the often discussed "drop and fluff" of the implants; wearing a bra will not interefe with that. Even with support from a bra, the implants will settle into the pockets - promise! The degree of "drop and fluff" is greatly influenced by the expansion process (style of TE & fills), so there is a lot of variability among us.
There are some PSs who believe that reconstruction patients need never wear a bra - a topic hotly debated around these forums, for sure. As with much of the reconstruction process, philosophies differ among physicians. There are some PSs (mine included) who feel that reconstructed breasts will ALWAYS need the support of a bra except for short periods. And yes, that includes during sleep - especially in the first several months - perhaps much longer for many of us. Believe it or not, many of us actually discover that it is more uncomfortable to NOT wear a bra :). Gravity is not a friend....to faces, fannies, or foobs!
We realize that not every PS or sister with reconstructed breasts is as "pro-bra" as we are. But for those of you who want to maximize your reconstruction results by minimizing implant migration-and have no contraindicating factors- hopefully this information will be useful. Of course, we want to clarify that the quality of the bra is essential. Not all underwire bras are appropriate for the purpose of encapsulating and supporting the implants on the chest wall. A high quality bra, which uses better fabric and wires in the construction, will provide superior fit and longevity while doing its job of providing proper implant support. Many insurance companies offer coverage for even non-surgical bras, so be sure to check.
What about size? A HUGE question! Sizing is a bit tricky with implants because they are wider and flatter than natural breasts. If you don't have access to a well-trained professional bra fitter (Nordstrom fitters are famous, but many other department stores and small boutiques are good, too), then here's a good place to start: www.herroom.com/bra-fitting-ad... Sizing with implants is very much a trial and error process, but this technique is generally pretty darn close. ***Please note: These are different from the conventional "just measure around your ribs, then your chest" instructions, but I think they result in a truer measure of size for many people. Implants are much wider and flatter than natural breasts, so sizing is a bit iffy, though the technique described at herroom addresses these issues. Just as with clothes, sizing differs between manufacturers, so be prepared to try lots of bras!
What kind of bra do I need and how should it fit? Well, the main goal of the bra post-recon is to stabilize the implants both laterally (from the side) and vertically (from the bottom). Some of us may need a bra that also does not allow the implants to move too much toward the center - the dreaded "uniboob." For most of us, though, the main goal is to find a bra that does NOT push the implants out to the side. I can't stress this enough! This is one of the leading reasons for revisions. This can be very difficult to find, especially in a non-wired bra. Be careful of any trim along the center edge of the cups, as even this can push the implants out. The best type of bra is an UNLINED one - yes, no lining or padding at all - because these can interfere with optimal positioning of the implants. Here's the clincher: ideally the band should be extremely tight and the straps pulled as tightly as possible so there is no "vertical play" in the implants. We Americans are all about comfort, and we wear our bras far looser than our European friends! You should initially be "aware" that you are wearing a bra, which is a nice way of saying its going to be snug :). In fitting an underwire bra, be especially careful that the wire completely encapsulates the implants, especially on the outside. The wires should sit just on the outside edge of the implant (under your arm). In the center, be careful that the wires sit slightly AWAY from your chest and don't touch the implants, which could push them to the outside. If the center wires push into the sternum (a common complaint), the cup is too full. If the wires sit more than about 1/4" away from the sternum, the cup is too small. Our upper-pole fullness depends on our implant style. Some bra brands tend to run fuller in the cup than others. The idea is to keep the implants contained in the proper position on the chest wall, and most importantly, to keep them from migrating laterally or medially on the chest wall. If you engage in high-impact exercise (running, aerobics, etc.) the same instructions apply, plus one more: the implants should be held snuggly against the chest with NO BOUNCE! This may require two sports bras - one for encapsulation and one for compression - but it'll be worth it in the end.
Some of our "Bras 101" favorite brands are:
Freya, Fantasie, Chantelle, Marena, Wacoal, Anita, Goddess, and Soma.
Good luck! And remember - this is just ONE point of view!
Some of our favorite bra websites:
Thanks for stopping by and checking out our thread! Hugs!
Posts 5281 - 5310 (5,464 total)
Mar 20, 2015 07:51PM robinblessed54 wrote:
kingster, glad it went well at work! I go back Monday. My glue is still the whole length of incision. I agree, it can take its time.
Mar 20, 2015 09:26PM DiveCat wrote:
Last time my glue was still there in parts almost a month later. It's a good thing for it to be there a while. It will come off when it's not needed :)
I am envious you get to wear regular bras...all the lovely Panache ones I got after my first surgery no longer will fit me :( - and I am under instruction to wear my surgical bras/sports bras "as much as possible" for at least 4 weeks. My surgical bras are super comfy and lower cut at least, but the wide straps make picking out my clothes interesting!
Mar 20, 2015 10:40PM robinblessed54 wrote:
Divecat, are your sport bras wire free? I can't wear wires. Believe me, this may look like a "regular" bra, but it is industrial and holds them tight. I hope it works like a sport bra, the ones I have put dents in me! I have to wear it for 6 weeks!!
Mar 20, 2015 10:53PM mjh1 wrote:
robinblessed - I found the Genie bras worked the best for me especially becaue my incision was IMF. They were nice and snug yet very comfortable. I even slept in them for the first month.
Mar 21, 2015 12:25AM kingster wrote:
Divecat, what type of implant did you have before? What did you get now? I got mentor memory gels 700ml both. S
Mar 21, 2015 12:39AM - edited Mar 21, 2015 12:43AM by DiveCat
Yup wire free for now.
My surgical bras leave marks - it's not harmful or anything though, and hey fit properly. ....even after my last surgery I joked about my Silly Putty breasts. My pretty lace bras would leave pretty lace imprints...
Mar 21, 2015 12:47AM DiveCat wrote:
I had 435cc Allergan Natrelle Inspiras...I am in Canada where these seem to be commonly used. They are high profile smooth silicone rounds, similar to the Style 20s in the US.
I now have 450g Allergan 410s (aka gummies), moderate profile, moderate height. They end up being 1cm wider, 0.1cm shorter, and with 0.3cm more projection than my previous ones :)
Mar 21, 2015 08:48PM tiddlywinks wrote:
Just had lipo underarms and above breast on thursday...also exchanged implants for more projecting ones. Should I be wearing an ace bandage for compression. My underams and sides are more swollen and fat than before surgery. I was sent home in a pretty loose front closing mastectomy bra. I thought about wrapping an ace bandage around, but afraid will squash my implants. I have cuts from inner breast all the way to back on each side. Stability would be nice, but I don't want to mess up implant positioning. Any tips?
Mar 21, 2015 09:21PM Estel wrote:
tiddlywinks - The best tips I can give you so soon after surgery is to follow your PS's instructions. Take care and heal up! Love and gentle hugs to you.
Mar 21, 2015 09:27PM mysunshine48 wrote:
Estel, This is off the subject of bras, but I am wondering if your direct to implants went well. My PS suggested I do that as I have implants now and am having a BMX. My implants are old. Can I go a little bigger since I will be losing my breast tissue. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. Lynn
Mar 21, 2015 09:28PM mysunshine48 wrote:
Oh, Estel, I just read again.....you must not have gone direct. I thought when it said immediate reconstruction, that was what you meant.....but I guess not. Sure would like to know about this from anyone who has gone direct to implants.
Mar 21, 2015 09:31PM MinusTwo wrote:
Sunshine - try reading some of the thread Breast Recon 101 and the thread Exchange City.
Mar 21, 2015 09:43PM mysunshine48 wrote:
OK, I will, thanks!
Mar 21, 2015 09:46PM MinusTwo wrote:
Sunshine - if you can't find the threads, let me know. I wasn't direct, but know there are ladies who have been there.
Mar 21, 2015 09:58PM mysunshine48 wrote:
I did go to the threads but did not see any posts about going direct to implants. Yes, if you could help me locate some women to ask about this, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
Mar 21, 2015 10:09PM Estel wrote:
mysunshine48 - Here is a link to the breast implant sizing 101 https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/44/topic/...
Whippetmom is the author of that thread and she is very knowledgeable. If you private message her she might be able to put you in contact with someone who has been in a similar situation. I had a DMX with TE placement … that's what I meant by 'immediate reconstruction' I did not go direct to implant. As minus two mentioned, there are women who have so I hope you can find someone to help you. whippetmom is a great resource person.
Mar 21, 2015 10:27PM mjh1 wrote:
mysunshine - what kind of BMX are you having? I had nipple-sparing and at the time of my 1st consult when we were discussing MX's my PS said he doesn't like to do direct-to implants just because of the potential complications and as Murphy seems to have my number on speed dial I chose the TE route. Of course, this does not mean you but I would ask the PS how many direct to he's done and how many of those there have been complications with.
Mar 22, 2015 12:06AM DiveCat wrote:
I had direct to implant, no complications, and am very happy I went that route. You can Private Message me with any questions, I've posted about it around the forums but it might be a pain for you to search those out!
Mar 22, 2015 12:20AM MinusTwo wrote:
sunshine - I was astounded to see when I went to All Topics and then Breast Reconstruction that there are 308 pages of threads. Wow. When I'm looking for something specific I usually go to Active Topics and find one with lots of activity and start reading past posts sporadically. Some threads that were relevant, I actually started at the beginning and in some cases read hundreds of pages.
Estel has given you the link to Whippetmom and that thread is an excellent place to start reading and post.
Here is the other thread I mentioned – Exchange City. I know there have been discussions about direct implants on this thread so you could read back & also post your question.
Mar 27, 2015 11:49AM Dogsneverlie wrote:
Hi everyone!!!!! I had my reconstruction on Feb 24; still in the strap 24/7 but got the OK to wear my sports bras as well - when all the BC started, the only bra that was comfy for me was Bali Revolution Wireless (looks like a sports bra).
The BC breast is still really swollen and taking quite a while to soften up and I have some swelling on the side so even though I have Bali in XL (used to wear on the tightest hook, now wear on the largest hook - not sure if that is because of implant sizing or just swelling) it gets tight. I am going back to work in two weeks......maybe the swelling will be gone by then, not sure. If any of you experienced this, what did you do? Find support cami's? I don't want to get measured for another month or so until my BC side settles down.
I ordered three Coobie's to see if they work better.
Mar 27, 2015 01:12PM mjh1 wrote:
dogs - not really sure why it would be still really swollen a month post-op. By this time, most of your swelling should be gone. Maybe your implant hasn't settled yet which can take time. I found the most comfortable for me were the Genie bras.
Mar 27, 2015 04:36PM Estel wrote:
Dogs - I agree with mjh1. What has your P.S. said about the swelling? I would check with them to see what they think and what they would recommend. I really like the Marena bras because they provide compression as well.
Mar 28, 2015 08:33AM Dogsneverlie wrote:
MJH and Estel,
Thank you so much for responding. The BC side is definitely taking a lot longer to settle; still not very soft but it is getting better. My next follow up is April 7 and I will see what the surgeon says. Meanwhile, I am going to try a different bra for sure, ordered a few Coobie bras and will check out the two you have both recommended.
Apr 30, 2015 11:24AM Elizabethaw wrote:
I've finally found a brand that fits me! The "parfait by Affinitas" bras come in the right size for my little rib cage (it's 27"), and the DDs are shallow enough that they fit my implants well. Before surgery I wore a 32B--but that was certainly not the right size. I didn't even know you could get 28 or 30 bands. I'm wearing a 30DD right now, and it fits comfortably and is snug.
May 1, 2015 02:10PM Estel wrote:
Elizabethaw - Yay!
Happy for you! I didn't know about 28 or 30 bands either prior to breast cancer. I generally wear a 30D in most brands.
Which particular bra by "Parfait by Affinitas" did you get?
I only recently tried that brand and I'm liking this one right now.
So, so happy for you. Thanks for sharing!
May 1, 2015 03:20PM Elizabethaw wrote:
Thanks, Estel. Right after I posted that I had a funny "Why am I posting this? It sounds like an ad" feeling. I hope it's useful to someone...
I'm wearing the "casey" (2801)--it's my favorite. http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-2012021/parfait-b...
I also own the "jeanie" (4801), and although I like it, I don't like it as much as casey. No real reason; it just seems to rub me a bit. I just received a little blue version of the bra in your post ("charlotte"), and it's adorable! The description says it's padded, but mine isn't. Is yours?
I have the "kitty" (2101) coming any day now.
Yeah, I may have gone a little overboard! : )
Kohls is my favorite place to buy stuff because you can get 30% off and free shipping for some times every month if you have their credit card. If you don't have the card, they still usually have 15% off coupons. (Ha ha, now that sounds like an ad too!)
May 1, 2015 04:39PM Estel wrote:
Elizabethaw - It's pretty!
We learn from each other so post away. We're all different, and what works for one, doesn't work for someone else so we're all learning from each other. Thanks for posting for works. It really can and does help others. I wouldn't have the bra collection I have now if it weren't for the ladies on here.
Seriously, though, I had chronic pain and a well fitted bra was the only thing that alleviated it for about a year … so I found this thread to be immensely helpful. I had no clue about bras prior to breast cancer and my P.S. didn't know anything either … so it was a real life-saver to come here and find out what worked for others. Thanks for sharing.
I'm a little jealous you were able to get the blue in 'Charlotte.' I can't find it in my size. I agree…it isn't padded the way I am used to a padded bra looking and feeling. It is lined but I wouldn't call it padded. It gives my girls some 'oomph' that I miss from my natural ones. Love the retro look too. :)
Can you get the 28 and 30 bands at Kohls? I have never been able to find the smaller band sizes at that store but it has been a couple of years since I checked. Thanks for the tips. That's why this thread is here.
May 5, 2015 11:27AM - edited May 5, 2015 11:29AM by Elizabethaw
Update: the blue Charlotte is actually too small for me in the cups. I was going to wear it anyway (cause it's cute!), but I figured that the "quadboob" problem was more than just cosmetic. It can't be good for the implants to be pushed down across the top like that. It's odd--the other 3 parfait bras fit just fine in 30DD. I just ordered a 30E in the blue Charlotte, so we'll see if that fits.
And yes, Kohl's does have the 28 and 30 bands! I'm finding it to be by far the cheapest place to buy those small band sizes.
Also, I'm liking the "Champion show-off" sports bra. I run, and it's really comfortable, very supportive.
P.S. Estel, Kohl's does have a charlotte in blue in 30D...
May 5, 2015 08:59PM Estel wrote:
Elizabethaw - Good to know, thanks for the tip.
My foobs are very shallow and I have trouble filling out the cups of a lot of 30D's. I need the "D" cup because of the width. I think that is one reason I like the Charlotte so much it really gives me some upper pole fullness that I miss from my natural breasts.
My favorite sports bra is this Panache:
Thanks again for the tips about Kohl's. :)
May 9, 2015 08:41AM sherry67 wrote:
Did anyone else have to wear the Marena post op bra after revision?