Bras After Lumpectomy

After a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, your bra needs can be radically different then before surgery. While buying a post-surgery bra may seem like a daunting prospect, it is still possible to look beautiful and feel comfortable in your bras.

The size and type of your lumpectomy helps determine the type of bras or prosthesis you should be wearing. Because breast surgeries vary from patient to patient, it is important to follow your doctor's advice regarding appropriate bras, especially in the period immediately after surgery.

What types of bras are appropriate immediately after surgery?

Your doctor should recommend what type of bra to wear immediately post-surgery. If you do not need a medical-grade compression bra, your doctor may recommend wearing a wirefree bra, such as a low or medium-impact sports bra. A front closure bra may be easier to put on and off than a bra with a traditional back hook and clasp.

What types of bras can I wear after I heal?

Depending on where your surgery was performed, you may have sensitive areas on your breasts. Because every woman has a different comfort level, it is important to pay attention to what types of bras feel best for you.

If the sides or bottoms of your breasts are sensitive, you may prefer to continue wearing non-underwire bras. See our Wirefree Bras page for a large selection of bras without a wire.

If there is a small size difference between the size of your breasts, a stretch cup bra can comfortably fit both sides without any padding or fill.

How can I make my breasts look more even?

Feeling comfortable emotionally in your new bras is almost as important as being physically comfortable. If you are bothered by the size difference between your breasts, there are plenty of ways to create a more balanced silhouette.

The most natural-looking solution is a partial breast form or compensation form - a bra insert that is designed to be worn after breast surgery and utilize the same technology as forms for full mastectomies. Unlike full breast forms, a compensation form is designed to smooth and fill in the breast tissue rather than replace the whole breast.

A partial breast form can be worn with any mastectomy bra to keep the form securely in place. If you would like to wear your form in a non-mastectomy bra, look for styles that have full-coverage cups.

Just want to fill out one side when you're wearing more revealing clothing? A bra with removable push-up pads can be used to subtly add volume to the smaller breast. Simply remove the pads from the larger side.

How can I find my size after a lumpectomy?

Being measured for the right size bra is crucial for breast maintenance and breast health. You should always size your bra to the larger breast.

If you are unsure of your size, here are directions for finding your bra size when one breast is larger than the other. This process is easier if you have a friend help ensure that the measuring tape is straight and taut.

1) Measure your chest directly under your breasts, making a straight line across your back. The measuring tape should be tight, but not cutting into you. This is your Band Size Measurement.

2) Measure the larger of your breasts. To do this, start with the tape measure on your chest wall between the breasts. Go over the fullest part of your breast and halfway around your back, stopping at the spine.

3) Multiply this measurement by two. This is your Cup Size Measurement.

4) Enter these measurements in our Bra Calculator Tool to see your bra size.

Please note that bra sizing is not a perfect science, so it may take a little trial and error to find the perfect size. If you need more help with bra or prosthesis sizing, contact our team of expert bra fitters for personal advice.