What is a mastectomy bra?
Find out what makes a mastectomy bra special in our essential guide to mastectomy and post-surgery styles.
In this guide, we will cover:
Mastectomy bra features
To the untrained eye, a mastectomy bra will look like any other bra you may have worn before your breast surgery - in fact they're designed that way. But hidden beneath the seams are a variety of clever features that make these bras unique.
The main difference between your old bra and a mastectomy bra is a hidden pocket which is integrated into one or both of the cups. These cups are designed to hold a prosthesis or breast form in a way that matches your natural breast. In the past, post-surgery women had to sew a pocket into a standard bra. This was a time consuming process with very mixed results - the reality is that standard bras just aren't built to hold a prosthesis. The innovation of creating bras with an integrated pocket has led to far greater comfort and security. Most mastectomy bras are 'bilateral' meaning that both sides are pocketed.
A good mastectomy bra is designed with your comfort, security and femininity in mind. A number of unique design features go into making sure post-surgery bras meet this goal.
1. The Straps
The straps on a mastectomy bra are often wider than those on a standard bra, which is more comfortable for most women. Many also feature padded straps for complete comfort.
2. The Underband
The underband is an important feature of a mastectomy bra. They help the bra to stay in place and are often wider than on a standard bra; this can also help with covering any scars. Most mastectomy bras are non-wired as wiring can sometimes irritate scar tissue.
3. The Seams
Mastectomy bras are designed to be as secure as possible, and supportive side seams help with this. A higher cut helps to cover any scar tissue while soft seams ensure a comfortable fit.
Some mastectomy bras feature an integrated camisole which can help to cover any scar tissue. Not all bras have this and it is down to personal preference as to whether you choose a style with this feature.
Styles Of Mastectomy Bra
Mastectomy bras come in a range of styles and designs because everyone's needs are different. The main differences between these styles are highlighted below, but for a more comprehensive guide you can visit our dedicated style guide page
A t-shirt bra is designed to be worn under a top comfortably all day. They can be padded or unpadded and many styles are seamless so they do not show through clothing. A mastectomy t-shirt bra is often the everyday staple for post-surgery women.
Camisole bras are designed to offer a little more coverage in a subtle, elegant way. They can be a great confidence-boosting bra and can allow you to wear tops with a deeper neckline.
Front Fastening Bras
After breast surgery, some women find it difficult to wear a standard back fastening bra especially in the first few months post-surgery. For that reason, front fastening mastectomy bras are available which offer the same comfor and security as the standard styles.
Staying active is an important part of getting back to normal after breast cancer. A range of mastectomy sports bras are available which allow women to exercise with confidence and support. These styles usually feature wider underbands and straps for security and comfort
Choosing Your First Mastectomy Bra
Choosing the mastectomy bra that is right for you can seem like a daunting experience, but with a few tips, it can be just as easy and enjoyable as before your mastectomy. Your specific needs are unique to you, so there is no 'one size fits all' guide. For this reason many women choose to attend a bra fitting clinic with a breast care specialist. If that is not possible, our top tips will help you decide what is right for you.
In the first few months after your breast surgery, your body is recovering. It is important to choose a style that is soft and comfortable to allow your body to heal. During this time, many women choose a bra with a high cotton content. Once you feel ready, you can begin to explore the whole range of post-surgery bras available. If you have had a reconstruction, you may still wish to choose a mastectomy bra. This is because the added support can be beneficial even if you don't wear a prosthesis.
If you like to wear casual tops and dresses, a t-shirt bra might be what you are looking for. If you prefer something a little prettier, you can find a range of colourful, lacy and patterned bras to suit every style. Or for something a little more luxurious, you could consider a matching lingerie set. You really do have a wealth of choice.
Of course it is important to get it right. That's why we give customers a whole year to try our bras at home, in order to ensure it is the right fit for you. If not, you can return or exchange it completely free of charge. Read more about our 365 day guarantee here.