Why a Compression Bra Is Better Than a Sports Bra After Breast Surgery
Sports bras are often recommended by surgeons for women to wear immediately after breast cancer surgery. This could be because they have soft cups, no underwires and are designed to provide the gentle support that stops breasts from bouncing too much during exercise. There may also be a psychological benefit – a woman might feel she is already on the way to recovery because she is wearing a sports bra, not a surgical garment. But there are many reasons why a sports bra is less than ideal for a woman who has had breast cancer surgery.
Fit for purpose?
Because sports bras are designed to support breasts during exercise, their features work really well for women who haven’t just had surgery: they don’t work so well for those who have, however. Most sports bras close at the back. Some also have closures behind the neck. Many are designed to be put on over the head. These options are not easy for a woman who has had major surgery, because she won’t be able to put the bra on, fasten it, undo it or take it off without help. After breast surgery a woman’s mobility is drastically limited – it hurts her to move her arms and she certainly won’t be able to reach them above her head or behind her back.
A sports bra rarely has a deep enough underband to provide the support a woman's needs after surgery, nor does it allow for any post-operative swelling, which means it can feel like it's cutting in, and more important, could restrict lymphatic drainage. And because it’s not the job of a sports bra to apply even pressure across the back, lack of support or design features like racer-back straps can quickly lead to lymph fluid accumulating in the lower back.
Sports bras are often not seamless. Seams can rub on newly operated skin, which at the very least can be painful and at worst can lead to blood clots. There is also little choice in the level of support and compression. Most sports bras won’t support a woman’s surgery site in the right way – they could be too loose, but they could also be too tight and, unlike a compression bra, they are not designed to keep operated tissue in place for the best surgical outcomes.
Designed for better results
A good compression bra isn’t just more comfortable after breast surgery – it is critical to a successful outcome. Designed to help reduce post-operative bleeding and swelling and to support tender skin, a compression bra ensures the right level of immobilization and stabilization of the operated breast tissue, keeping it in place to support an optimized healing process.
Amoena’s new compression bras come in a range of options to meet the needs of different surgical procedures – from mastectomy and lumpectomy to reconstruction. This makes it easier to select the right bra for the levels of comfort, support and compression appropriate for the surgery. It’s also important to bear in mind different patients’ tolerance levels: if you can reduce the pressure slightly to meet her needs, a woman may be more likely to keep using the bra.
These bras have seamless cups that fit sizes AA to G, front closure, adjustable padded straps, wide underband, anatomical design, special panels to help with lymphatic drainage, and the option to add a compression belt. They are easy to fit – only the underbust size needs to be measured – and they offer the right amount of stability and support, as well as ensuring optimal lymphatic drainage. The bras are easy to put on and the adjustable straps offer an excellent fit, as well as quick and easy access to the surgery site.
Although sports bras are great for a workout, it’s clear that something designed to be worn at the gym just isn’t up to the essential role a post-surgical bra plays in achieving that all-important ideal surgical result.