May 9, 2015 09:25PM Estel wrote:
sherry67 - Several of us wore the Marena bras after our exchange. They are very good. I still sleep in one.
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 5311 - 5340 (5,455 total)
May 9, 2015 09:25PM Estel wrote:
sherry67 - Several of us wore the Marena bras after our exchange. They are very good. I still sleep in one.
May 13, 2015 10:12PM mysunshine48 wrote:
Love, love, love my Cobbie bras. I am wearing them with my expanders. Have had 4 fills and am wearing tank tops and look very normal. Chemo starts tomorrow. Exchange surgery after that. Cobbiebra.com
May 15, 2015 02:15PM Galsal wrote:
Found that a Minimizer bra in the Breezies brand on QVC fits wonderfully! Believe it had the word Tuxedo in the model title. Wearing a 38DDD. The band is much tighter than I usually wear but it will stretch. If I went up to 40, I believe the very slight puckering of the upper pole area on the left breast would increase. That's where some fat grafting is needed. Right side fits beautifully.
May 20, 2015 06:54AM sherry67 wrote:
How long after reconstruction or revision did anyone start to wear a bra? Would love some feed back
May 20, 2015 01:54PM robinblessed54 wrote:
I had a surgical bra on and ace bandage for one week. After it was removed I was told to wear a sports bra 24/7 for 6 weeks. Well it is going to be 11 weeks tomorrow, and I still wear a sports bra but this week have started being brave and wearing a cami that is very stretchy and gives very gentle support. No underwires either according to my PS. I feel great and my girls are so even and beautiful! They are anatomicals and sit perfectly on my chest. I slap some temporary nipple tattoos on them and I feel and look somewhat normal! I plan to get the 3D tattoos. No nipple recon for me. Hope this helps, Robin
May 20, 2015 05:14PM sherry67 wrote:
May 24, 2015 12:02AM kingster wrote:
Sherry, I wore the surgibra for 3 days. Then was instructed to shower and change to a soft bra. I still wear a bra all the time except for a few hours here and there. The implants feel better supported (and so does my back). I now can wear whatever bra I want. I alternate between underwire and no wire. Every ps is so different, so just go by their directions since they know your situation best.
May 24, 2015 04:10AM sherry67 wrote:
Thanks for your comment. Talked to surgical coordinator and have to wear surgical bra for eight weeks tha an underwire. Not to bad but this bra feels suffocating at times. Thanks again
Jun 12, 2015 06:37AM JustAJennifer wrote:
I had my exchange just one week ago, so I'm very much still getting used to the new foob and the other side which was reduced/lifted. I'm amazed every time I do a new search here, there's already a thread about the topic! Very thankful all of you share so much.
Yesterday I was fitted at the PS office for a new bra, to wear for the next 6 weeks 24x7. I wore it yesterday and when I took it off, there was a mark on my skin and indentation on the implant where the seam was. I panicked! But then read here that marks aren't harmful. Thoughts? Is it back to the bra-drawing board?
Jun 13, 2015 04:45PM Estel wrote:
Jennifer - If you're especially concerned, call your PS's office and have them give it a look. It sounds normal to me, but since they fitted you there, have them look to double-check.
Congratulations on your exchange! It takes a while to get used to for sure.
Aug 9, 2015 03:39PM willowreed84 wrote:
I went to Nordstroms at stonebriar mall in frisco, tx to get a bra fitting. The fitter was good. I am a 34 ddd! strange because I used to wear a 34 dd and I am smaller now. I got a chantelle 36410...very pretty. The cup is a "3 part cup". There is a seam running north to south on the front of the cup. That makes the cup wide and shallow. It fits my hamburger bun shaped foobs perfectly.
Aug 10, 2015 08:48PM Estel wrote:
willowreed84 - Sounds like you had a GREAT fitting!
Reconstructed breasts are usually a bit wider and not as much projection as natural breasts so I'm not surprised that you are wearing the same size … you need it for the width, I'm sure. 3 part-cups are good choices for us … helps keep our new foobs front and center. I wear a lot of the Freya 3 part-cups.
Congratulations on getting something that fits your new foobs. Thanks for sharing your experience!
Aug 12, 2015 08:09PM willowreed84 wrote:
I'll check out the Freya brand next time I'm bra shopping.
Oct 13, 2015 06:12PM - edited Oct 13, 2015 06:12PM by Lkscolo
I was anxious and went for a bra fitting today Soma. I am almost three weeks post exchange. I think I jumped the gun. Not one of the 12 wire-free bras I tried on was comfortable at all! It was obvious I still have side swelling which made us go up in cup size but then they didn't fit elsewhere and when I came home I was discouraged and a little sore. So lesson learned....MORE PATIENCE! At about how long after exchange did you ladies find you could wear a real bra?
Oct 13, 2015 08:29PM robinblessed54 wrote:
I had to wear a sports bra 24/7 for six weeks. I still pretty much stick with soft lounge bra from body by Victoria, Pink soft lightweight sports bras. I was told no wires ever which you really don't need. I have Allergan 410 anatomical so these girls don't need to be kept in place. I wear a soft bra because it just feels good to me. I am 7 months out.
Oct 13, 2015 09:15PM AZ85048 wrote:
Lkscolo - Yes, everyone is still pretty swollen at three weeks; whether you think so or not. I waited a little more than three months to go to Nordstrom's (which I highly recommend) for a professional fitting - and even after all that time, I was still a little sore when it was over. Try to be patient, it will be worth it in the end. And don't get spooked when it comes to the alphabet....
(Whippetmom and Blessings tried to warn me, but when the fitter said I was a 32DDDD - and explained that was also known as a 32FF, a 32G, or a 34DDD, I was still shocked!)
Listen to what your PS recommends as far as wearing underwires or not. Mine said either was fine, and I've always been an underwire girl, so that worked out great for me. Give it at least another month for all of the swelling to subside and then have fun shopping!
Oct 14, 2015 08:59AM Golden01 wrote:
My PS recommended I wait three months . . . his main reason "so you don't spend a fortune on bras that don't fit". LOL - He was right. I wore zip up the front sports bras until then.
Oct 14, 2015 10:32AM Lkscolo wrote:
thanks AZ85048 for the laugh! And for the advice! I'm from AZ, lived in Mesa!
Thanks Robinblessed54 and Golden01.My PS said "whenever you feel ready". Now I know mentally ready doesn't mean physically. Or vice versa! :)
Oct 15, 2015 08:30AM lala1 wrote:
I'm almost 3 years out and still wear my Bali 3488. I have a couple of non wire nicer bras for occasional wear and a couple of wired bras that I can wear for 2-3 hours at a stretch that I wear for special occasions. I spent the firs 2 years trying desperately to find an underwire that I was comfortable in cause I was afraid of sagging and such. Then one day I thought to myself that comfort is really more important than appearance and I embraced my Bali bras. My PS said he didn't care what I wore and all this post mastectomy "new normal" is hard enough to adjust to so now I just go for what makes me feel comfortable.
Oct 17, 2015 05:07PM owlwatcher wrote:
It took me a long, long time to find a bra that fit. Not all bra fitters are created equal. The one at Nordstrum finally got it right after many months and money spent on bras I thought were my size. Now I am happy, I found the size 32F and the brand Freya.(Not all models of that brand) So that is also what you will have to do, find the model - size - brand. Also you need to track your favorite bra on Herroom, Bare necc. and Nordstrum or other sites so you can see when it goes on sale.
Nov 10, 2015 04:34AM MareeJ12 wrote:
What a thorough look at this topic! Well done :) Have you by any chance looked at products that will help protect them such as when laying on front i.e. for massages and sleeping? I want to know whether you've used pillows and other products such as Mammagard as I'm trying to get myself organised for post-recovery. Cheers
Nov 10, 2015 03:02PM MinusTwo wrote:
MareeJ - Sorry but I've never heard anyone talk about Mammagard. Looks like a great invention. I'm usually a side sleeper. I just learned to sleep on my back & to keep myself from turning by propping pillows on the side. Some women sleep in a recliner for awhile. I was back to normal sleep patterns a month or so after the expander was removed & implants settled.
Nov 11, 2015 11:11AM Golden01 wrote:
HerRoom sale has been extended! Has anyone tried this Wacoal? Very pretty!!
Nov 12, 2015 07:20PM chinapainter wrote:
I am 3 weeks out from exchange. I have Nutrelle 700cc. My PS put me in a surgical bra for 3 days and then I am to wear a soft leisure type bra 24/7 except to shower, no underwire. I am having a difficult time finding a comfortable one. Everyone I have worn rolls up at the band and rides up in the back. I have a 4" incision under each arm where my PS did some clean up work. I going to Victoria Secret and look at theirs which Robin mentioned. Any other advice.
Nov 12, 2015 08:34PM robinblessed54 wrote:
China painter, I have also heard from a lot of ladies that the Coobie bra (sp) is very good as well. It looks a lot like my VS soft bralette/lounge bra. I bought two more of the barrettes over the weekend and I do love them. They do roll up a bit in front but I have no problem with riding up in back. Good luck finding the "right one". It is a constant search! LOL I have a drawerful of different bras. My husband thinks I am crazy always getting one more that I might like better. He is a dear though and just goes along with the bra thing. :)
Nov 13, 2015 06:52AM katykids wrote:
Had my 10 day post op visit with the PS and wore my surgical bra in from July that they told me to wear post exchange. It fit terribly since I had lost 10lbs since the MX. I have been rotating with two others but they were pretty bad. Anyway, she said everything was fine and I could wear whatever bra I wanted. I happened to bring in a zip up sports bra. She really liked that. ;)
Anyway, she didn't care whether it was underwire or not. I said do we have to wait for them to "drop and fluff" and she said she never heard of that and they weren't going anywhere. There might be a small bit of swelling left. But this was pretty much it.
So, I think I will go to Nordstrom and get at least one new bra. I haven't regained my ROM so bra gymnastics are interesting. I think I should try one of my old bras on today.
Nov 13, 2015 11:35AM lala1 wrote:
Chinapainter--I have 2 of these bras Amazon.com: Mastectomy Bra Leisure Size M-A/B Grey: Health & Personal Care which I sleep in. I also wore them for the first month after my mastectomy and my exchange surgery. They are very soft and don't roll up. The do have some runching in the front which shows through on tshirts so I would wear a scarf or jacket. For day to day wear I now wear the Bali 3488. They do roll up under the breasts but are very comfy around the sides and back. You would just have to try them. I'm almost 3 years out now and find I still can't go without some "compression". Otherwise I get mild muscle cramping under the foob and along my ribcage. These leisure bras have been a godsend. I bought mine at the bra/wig store in the breast center at my hospital but found these on Amazon which are the same.
My PS sells the Coobie bras in his office and said alot of his patients love them. He was pretty impressed with the Bali 3488 when I showed up in one though and now recommends them as well.