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What should you think about when choosing the best bra for after surgery?

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Whichever chest or breast surgery you have, there’s plenty to do before and after your procedure.

In addition to lots of snacks and a solid list of shows to watch, you’ll want to have a post-procedure bra ready.

Yes, your surgeon will likely give you a bra after the procedure. That bra will carry you through leaving the hospital and arriving home to your own bed to recover. However, a postsurgery bra tailored specifically to your surgery and needs will be more convenient, comfortable, and definitely more flattering.

Postsurgery bras provide comfort and security for any sutures or drains. They also minimize movement, which helps reduce bruising and bleeding after breast surgery, chest surgery, or open heart surgery.

We’ve compiled tips for finding the best bra for you. We’ve also selected 10 postsurgery bras for different types of breast and chest surgery.

Q: What’s the benefit of postsurgery bras? Why do postsurgery bras get recommended?

A: A postoperative bra can be a critical part of your recovery after breast surgery. They help reduce swelling, support implants that tend to drop, and provide an easy way to attach drainage tubes if you have them after your surgery.

Not all surgeons recommend bras after procedures like tissue flap breast reconstruction, as they can cause too much pressure. Be sure to ask your surgeon if they suggest using one and if they’ll provide one after surgery.

— Catherine Hannan, MD, FACS

Some key features to look for in a post-procedure bra include:

  • No wires. Most post-procedure bras are wire-free. The wire can cut into your skin, which you may not realize due to numbness.
  • Pockets. If you intend to wear a prosthesis after surgery, look for a bra with pockets.
  • Soft fabrics. As a general rule, the softer the fabric feels, the more comfortable you’ll be. Shy away from stiff, tough fabrics in favor of stretchy, high-cotton combinations.
  • Adjustability. Most post-procedure bras should have adjustable straps and closures. You’ll probably want everything to be adjustable from the front, so you don’t have to twist or stretch.
  • Longer lines. Choose a post-procedure bra that has a longer band. This will feel less restrictive than a bra with a short band, which can tighten and chafe.

One of the hardest things to predict is the size of bra you’ll need. You may wish to ask your doctor for advice as to how much post-procedure swelling you can expect.

If you’re having an augmentation or reduction, you can ask your doctor for an estimate of your post-procedure bra size.

The following are some questions you may want to ask your doctor and nurses before surgery. This will help you feel more confident that you’re wearing your postsurgical bra correctly.

  • Fit. How tight should my postsurgery bra be? Would you recommend I purchase my current bra size, or should I order a smaller or larger size?
  • When to wear. How long should I wear my postsurgery bra each day during the first week after surgery? Should I wear my bra when sleeping? Do I need a separate bra for physical activity?
  • Duration. How long should I expect to wear this type of bra after surgery? How many bras do other patients usually go through?

The answers will often depend on what surgery you’re having and how long you’re expected to recover.

While we placed the bra options into categories, many could apply across all post-chest surgeries. Some of the features we looked for include:

  • Price. We included a variety of price points, including 2 options that are less than $25.
  • Customer reviews. We read reviews from actual people wearing the bras.
  • Medical recommendations. We read doctor’s recommendations for compression and support in the post-procedure period.

Keep reading for a list of 10 postsurgery bras.

Pricing guide

You can use the following pricing guide to estimate how much you may spend on a postsurgery bra:

  • $ = under $25
  • $$ = $26–$50
  • $$$ = $51–$75
  • $$$$ = over $75

Best postsurgery bras for after breast augmentation surgery

Marena FlexFit Implant Stabilizer Bra

Price: $$$$

Key features: This post-procedure bra includes a stabilizer band to make sure breast implants stay in place during the recovery period. This bra has a lot of adjustability — the shoulder straps, front closure, and stabilizer band are all adjustable to ensure the right fit for you.

Considerations: The bra has four sets of hooks in the front, which allow you to adjust the bra’s compression as you recover and your swelling decreases.

Pros

  • adjustable in three different places for proper fit
  • adjustable compression
  • positive user reviews
  • available in nude and black

Cons

  • can’t return if it doesn’t fit

BRABIC Women’s Front Closure Bra

Price: $

Key features: This lightweight, seamless bra has an across-the-chest strap to help prevent implant migration. The bra also has three-snap closure options that can help you improve the fit and adjust for post-procedure swelling.

Considerations: Reviewers say the material is soft, which can help enhance post-procedure comfort.

Pros

  • 4.2- out of 5-star rating on Amazon with over 3,000 reviews
  • three closure options for an adjustable fit
  • includes breast support band
  • made from soft material
  • free returns

Cons

  • hook and eye closures may be too cumbersome postsurgery
  • sizing may be too small for some

Best postsurgery bras for after breast reduction surgery

Prairie Wear HuggerPRIMA Post Surgical Recovery Bra

Price: $$$

Key features: In the immediate post-procedure period, your doctor will want you to wear a bra for compression as continuously as possible. The HuggerPRIMA bra has an antibacterial additive that allows you to wear the bra anywhere from 3 to 5 days in a row without washing it.

Considerations: The manufacturers recommend buying one cup size higher if you’re a D cup or higher and worried about a too-tight fit.

Pros

  • made from antibacterial material that doesn’t need to be washed daily
  • front-zip closure
  • can sleep in it
  • can purchase an extender if needed

Cons

  • if the item is returned, you have to pay for return shipping

Burvogue Post-Surgery Front Closure Sports Bra

Price: $

Key features: This soft, wire-free bra has adjustable straps and a front closure. The closure has two positions, which can help provide extra compression or lessen the pressure until your post-procedure swelling goes down.

Considerations: The bra has a crisscross back. Its support level means that many who wear the bra after surgery give it a second life as a supportive sports bra after recovery.

Pros

  • wide, adjustable straps
  • front closure
  • crisscross straps give extra support, allowing the bra to be used during workouts post-recovery
  • free shipping and returns

Cons

  • sizing may be too small for some body types
  • some reviewers find the adjustable straps to be cumbersome

Best postsurgery bras for after cardiac or open heart surgery

Playtex Women’s Original Comfort Strap Wireless Bra

Price: $–$$

Key features: Although not specifically named a postsurgery bra, this bra has several key features that make it a good fit for post-cardiac surgery. These include wire-free construction, comfortable straps, support, and extended wear time.

Considerations: Reviewers say this bra is especially beneficial for those with larger bust sizes — sizing goes up to an H cup.

Pros

  • 4.3- out of 5-star rating on Amazon with over 40,000 reviews
  • wide range of sizes
  • wide, adjustable straps and wire-free cups
  • many colors to choose from
  • free shipping and returns

Cons

  • not made specifically for postsurgery, so it may not be best for recovery
  • scalloped detailing on straps may be too scratchy

True Body Lift Scoop Neck Bra

Price: $$$

Key features: Providing compression and wire-free support in the postsurgical period is important for your recovery from cardiac surgery. You’ll have a sternotomy incision down your chest, making it very important that your bra holds your breasts in place to promote wound healing. This bra should do that, thanks to the supportive construction.

Considerations: Users note that the bra’s larger straps enhance comfort and provide extra support.

Pros

  • supportive design and soft material
  • large straps for extra support
  • no front closure on the chest where the incision will be
  • many colors and sizes to choose from
  • free shipping and returns

Cons

  • not made specifically for postsurgery, so it may not be good for recovery
  • some reviewers say the bra has a tendency to roll up

Best postsurgery bras for after mastectomy

Oysho Post-Surgery Bra

Price: $$$

Key features: This is a versatile bra that has compression capabilities after surgery. It’s wire-free and seamless, which helps to cut back on irritation.

Considerations: The bra also features interior prosthesis pockets, so you can wear it long after your surgery.

Pros

  • front and back closer for adjustability
  • interior pockets for prothesis
  • wire-free and seamless for comfort

Cons

  • only comes in one color

Anaono Gloria Soft Lace Bralette

Price: $$$

Key features: This bra is proof that a postsurgery bra can be both beautiful and functional. The bra is wire-free and also features pockets to insert a prosthesis, if desired.

Considerations: Some bra reviewers note that the lace cups are slightly visible under thinner tops.

Pros

  • pretty design that’s unique for postsurgery bras
  • wire-free
  • prothesis pockets
  • free returns for unworn items

Cons

  • not as practical as other bras
  • straps may not be wide enough to provide support
  • cups may be too far apart for some body types

Third Love Monica Post-Surgery Full Coverage Bra

Price: $$$

Key features: Made with soft modal fabric, this postsurgery bra is designed with comfort in mind. Not only is the bra incision-friendly, but it also comes equipped with prothesis pockets. It’s also available in a wide variety of sizes, from XS to 3X.

Considerations: This bra is popular and sells out quickly.

Pros

  • soft material
  • built-in prothesis pockets
  • free returns

Cons

  • only two colors available
  • straps may not be wide enough for support

Best postsurgery bras for after breast reconstruction surgery or revision surgery

Marena FlexFit Drain Bulb Management Bra

Price: $$$$

Key features: This bra has two pouches that secure to the bra to hold postsurgery drains. It’s a great fit in the immediate postsurgical period for mastectomy and reconstruction. By having a secure spot for your drains, you can reduce pain and discomfort from the drains pulling on your skin.

Considerations: Talk with your doctor before surgery to make sure they’ll use drains. Some doctors don’t, which could affect your need for this bra.

Pros

  • made specifically for right after surgery
  • built-in drain pouches
  • front-zip closure

Cons

  • may show under clothing
  • not everyone will need to use this bra

Heart & Core Larissa Post-Surgical Bra

Price: $$$

Key features: While most postsurgical bras use hook-and-eye closures that can be difficult to navigate, this bra provides an alternative with Velcro. Using the Velcro, you can adjust the sizing across the chest as well as on the shoulder straps.

Considerations: The bra has four tabs to hold bulb drains, if applicable, for post-procedure purposes. Some people also wear this bra after mastectomy and cardiac surgery.

Pros

  • Velcro closure
  • very adjustable sizing
  • comes with tabs for holding bulb drains
  • free shipping

Cons

  • only available in black and white
  • may show through clothes

Best postsurgery bras accessory

Marena Implant Stabilizer Band

Price: $

Key features: This strap allows you to turn nearly any bra into a postsurgery bra after undergoing breast augmentation surgery. With an easy hook and loop closure, this strap can accommodate up to a 48-inch bust.

Considerations: This is just the band. You’ll need to buy a bra separately.

Pros

  • allows you to wear your bra of choice postsurgery
  • can be used day or night
  • reviewers say it’s comfortable to wear

Cons

  • may not be an option for all
  • can’t return if the package is opened

PriceStyleWhat it’s best for
Marena FlexFit Implant Stabilizer Bra$$$$front closurebreast augmentation surgery
BRABIC Women’s Front Closure Bra$front closurebreast augmentation surgery
Prairie Wear HuggerPRIMA Post Surgical Recovery Bra$$$front closurebreast reduction surgery
Burvogue Post-Surgery Front Closure Sports Bra$front closurebreast reduction surgery
Playtex Women’s Original Comfort Strap Wireless Bra$–$$back closurecardiac or open heart surgery
True Body Lift Scoop Neck Bra$$$pull-oncardiac or open heart surgery
Oysho Post-Surgery Bra$$$front closuremastectomy
Anaono Gloria Soft Lace Bralette$$$back closuremastectomy
Third Love Monica Post-Surgery Full Coverage Bra$$$pull-onmastectomy
Marena FlexFit Drain Bulb Management Bra$$$$front closurebreast reconstruction surgery or revision surgery
Heart & Core Larissa Post-Surgical Bra$$$front closurebreast reconstruction surgery or revision surgery
Marena Implant Stabilizer Band$strapbreast augmentation surgery

How does a surgical bra work?

Surgical bras work by supporting your breasts while allowing your tissues to recover. Sometimes, they also offer light compression. They’re usually designed to be soft and comfortable, as well as wire-free.

How long should you wear a surgical bra?

This depends on your specific surgery as well as your doctor’s instructions. For breast augmentation, for example, people typically need to wear a postsurgical bra for anywhere from 3 weeks to 4 months.

Can I take my surgical bra off for a few hours?

After a few days, you might be able to remove your surgical bra for short periods of time. However, most experts recommend wearing it all day to promote healing.

Do I need to sleep in my postsurgery bra?

Yes, you will need to sleep in your postsurgery bra to prevent bruising and bleeding. For some types of surgeries, even after you no longer need to wear a postsurgery bra all day, your doctor may recommend you wear a sports bra to sleep.

What bra is best after surgery?

Talk with your doctor to determine the best postsugery bra for you. Typically, a bra that is specifically made for surgery and well-fitted to your body is the best option postsurgery.

Be sure that the bra doesn’t have wires, is adjustable, and is made from a soft material for maximum comfort.

Postsurgery bras can provide compression, support, and a place to secure drains after surgery.

Of course, this advice is no substitute for your doctor’s. If you have further questions or health concerns, call your doctor’s office to get more information.