Shopping for a mastectomy bra can often seem like you have to compromise on pretty and feminine styles. But, at last, brands like Anita Care and Megami are offering beautiful mastectomy bras with a focus on fit and comfort, elevated by premium fabrics and luxurious finishing touches - think delicate lace, draped satin and mesh. Their innovative bras are shaped with moulded cups for a smooth and flattering shape with pocketed cups and thoughtful details providing extra sensitive support.
6 to 12 weeks after your initial surgery or as the healing progresses, swelling subsides and the site of your surgery becomes less tender, you will be able to consider purchasing a mastectomy bra.
What is a mastectomy bra?
A mastectomy bra is specially designed for women who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy and can be worn with a breast form in either or both cups if required. Crafted from soft fabrics, they’re usually free from underwires and have pockets to accommodate a breast form.
FEATURES TO LOOK FOR IN A MASTECTOMY BRA:
WIDE STRAPS: The straps help to keep your bra securely in place and balance the weight. Wide straps are more comfortable than narrow straps as the weight they support is spread over a larger area. Make sure they’re also elasticated and fully adjustable. A gentle curve from the bottom of the strap down the outside of the cup and then onto the tip of the band will avoid discomfort.
FULL COVERAGE: A full cup mastectomy bra with a higher neckline will hold your breast form securely and gently. The cups need to provide hold and support, rather than just cover and should have elasticated edges.
POCKETED CUPS: Pockets will comfortably and securely hold a breast form in place. If the pocket isn't required, it'll provide a soft lining and feels softer against the skin than a bra without pockets.
FREE FROM UNDERWIRES: In the first year after breast surgery, it’s recommended to wear wireless bras as underwired bras can be irritating to sensitive tissues. Opt for a wireless, also known as soft-cup or wire-free.
SIDE PANELS: Side panels to the outer edge of the cups help to centre the breast tissue or breast form. For fuller cup sizes, these panels can also help to create a smaller profile.
DEEP CENTRE: The centre panel connects the two cups together in the middle of the bra. This area needs to be deep to completely separate the cups and hold your breast tissue/breast form in place. A low cut or plunge front will not have the structure to support the breast tissue/breast form and won’t give a natural, flattering shape under clothes.
SUPPORTIVE BAND: The band is the most important part of the bra, providing most of the support. This area needs to be firmly supportive, soft and with just the right amount of stretch at the sides and back of the bra to provide comfort and avoid restriction. A slightly deeper band will help keep the bra securely in place. If the band is too deep it will roll and dig in or inwards which would not hold the bra in place, compromising support and comfort. A band that’s too narrow or too deep also won’t provide adequate support.
U-SHAPED BACK: A gentle curve at the top of the band at the back between the straps is more gentle and supportive than a straight edge.
HOOK FASTENING: The bra’s back fastening should be at least two hooks deep for smaller cup sizes and three hooks plus for larger cups and band sizes to hold the bra firmly in place and prevent discomfort during wear from feeling tight or moving around.
How to find your perfect mastectomy bra fit:
Finding your perfect fit can be difficult, especially if you’re purchasing online and trying on at home. Standards of bra sizing are each unique and every bra fits differently.
The checklist below will give you a set of fundamentals on how a well-fitting bra should feel: this will help you discover your perfect, personalised fit.
1. Look at the centre
Unlike underwired bras, wireless bras don’t lie completely flat against your breastbone however the underband should still lie flat against your body.
2. Check the cups
Your breast tissue/breast form should be fully encased in the cups, creating a smooth silhouette. If you notice the cups are digging in or there is a space between the cups and your body, the cup size is likely to be incorrect.
Fit tip: Always try on your new bra under your clothes to make sure you’re happy with the shape it gives you.
3. The band
When you try on your bra, fasten it on the middle hook. The band of a well-fitting bra will be completely horizontal, feeling firm, but not so tight that it causes any discomfort or cuts into the skin. If the band rides up, the band is too loose: try going down a back size and up a size in the cup (for example, if a 36D is too loose, you should try a 34E).
4. Adjust the straps
Your straps should sit gently on your shoulders without digging in or leaving marks or indentations. If the straps do dig in, make sure they’re not too tight, remember, the support comes from the band not the straps. If the straps still feel too tight, size down one band size and up one cup size, as the band may be too loose which means the band is not providing adequate support. If your straps fall off your shoulders, they may be too widely set.