What is a Mastectomy Bra?
There’s a lot you might not know about your mastectomy bra. We've got answers.
By Melanie Zimmer, Senior Designer Lingerie at Amoena
A mastectomy bra is one that features fabric pockets inside the bra cups, which can hold a breast prosthesis in place after mastectomy surgery. Not everyone chooses a breast forms, of course, but a pocketed bra is specially designed by lingerie companies like Amoena, with specific tailoring that accommodates the unique issues sometimes caused by breast surgery.
What Are the Bra’s Special Features?
Mastectomy bras can be unilaterally pocketed, but most are bilateral, meaning there are pockets in both cups. Any woman can wear a pocketed/mastectomy bra — she doesn’t have to have had breast surgery to benefit from the bra as the comfort features have a universal appeal:
- No underwire: Soft-cup, or wire-free bras, don’t have any underwire. The myth about underwire bras and cancer has been widely discredited, but some wires can irritate scar tissue or sensitive skin after surgery.
- Padded cups: In addition to the pockets, some bra cups include light padding that can create a smooth look, which can be of particular benefit where there may be uneven tissue remaining after surgery.
- Centre front and Underband: Stability features like the underband help the bra stay in place, and can cover scar tissue.
- Supportive side seams: Wider side seams under the arms can help hide scar tissue, and add support to the bra all the way around.
- Comfortable straps: Wider, padded shoulder straps are more comfortable for most women, and many mastectomy bras feature them.
What Are the Different Types of Mastectomy Bras?
You’ll find every variety of bra available with pockets – for special occasions, exercise, leisure time at home and even sleep bras and bikini tops for swimming.
- Everyday bras – The ones we wear to work, to school, and on the weekends.
- Seduction bras – A positive body image is important for every woman, and what you wear can help build your confidence. We design new, sexy styles in the hottest colors every season, influenced by top design trends from Paris and Milan.
- Sports bras – You’re keeping fit to maximize your health, and our >active wear collection helps you do that with pocketed support.
- Strapless bra – A mastectomy shouldn’t prevent you from wearing strapless or sleeveless tops. A pocketed strapless bra is a must-have for special occasions.
- Post-surgery bras – Immediately after breast surgery, you need the softest fabrics and seams, the easiest front closures, and extra pouches to help you manage your healing. Recovery Care bras offer you a variety of these medical features.
- Leisure bras – Sometimes, it’s all about comfort. A leisure bra is one you might wear at home, just after your surgery, while sleeping, or just after a long day at the office! Our pocketed leisure bras can accommodate a soft leisure form, too — a light breast form made of foam or fabric that gives you shape, but won’t weigh you down.
- Built-in shelf bras – No bra required! Amoena tops all have a pocketed shelf bra built-in (or, as part of the ensemble), and that means you don’t have to fasten any additional hooks.
- Bikini tops and swimwear — Yes, swimwear has pockets, too, for a genius accessory called a swim form. Swimming almost requires that we show our bodies a little bit. With mastectomy swimwear, you can do so with confidence.
Read more: Amoena - Becoming the Industry Leader
Are There Medical Reasons to Wear a Mastectomy Bra?
No, a woman doesn’t have to wear a pocketed bra after mastectomy; she can choose to have her breasts reconstructed (and continue wearing non-pocketed bras), or not replace the breasts at all, and “go flat” instead. But in some cases, her posture may suffer due to the weight imbalance.
A woman’s body is used to carrying some weight in the chest area; if that weight is removed on one or both sides, your body might try to overcompensate by rounding the shoulders forward or favouring one side. Over time, this additional strain could result in pain or range-of-motion challenges.
It’s important that you feel comfortable in your clothing, and there are significant differences in how we construct our bras, which may make them more comfortable for you than a typical bra. By making sure it fits properly, having that fit checked regularly (at least once a year), and following the care instructions, you can get the most from your bras and your breast forms.