What is the Difference Between a Mastectomy Bra and a Regular Bra?

Many women battling breast cancer will go through some form of breast surgery as part of their treatment, including a full mastectomy, partial mastectomy, or a lumpectomy. These changes in your body may lead you to consider your intimate apparel options, including bras.

Mastectomy bras are specifically designed to cater to your unique needs as a mastectomy patient, and many trusted brands including Amoena mastectomy bras, Jodee and Anita offer a complete range of amazing mastectomy bras with a host of features that keep your feeling comfortable and confident. You may be tempted to stick with your standard bras from before the surgery. However, there are a few key differences that make a mastectomy bra the better choice.

Bra Cups
Bra cups are generally standardized, which means you will usually be the same size cup in a mastectomy bra as you are in a standard bra. The major distinguishing difference between a mastectomy bra cup and a standard bra cup are built-in bilateral interior pockets.

Most mastectomy bras feature interior pockets to hold your breast prosthesis more securely without the risk of slipping and causing unevenness throughout the day. These pockets are often constructed from mesh or breathable cotton microfiber to allow for air circulation between the breast prosthesis and the chest wall.

Though some types of breast prosthesis can be worn with a standard bra, they typically require adhesives to remain in place which can irritate the skin and wear out due to sweat and pressure leaving the prosthesis at risk of shifting.

Typically, both regular bras and mastectomy bra have adjustable straps to find the best fit for your body. However, standard bra straps are generally thin and can be elaborate which do not provide enough support for the breasts, putting pressure on the neck and shoulders.

On the other hand, mastectomy bras often feature bra straps which are wider than standard for better support and to evenly distribute the weight of your breast prosthesis and remaining breast tissue across the shoulders to prevent pain. Many styles of mastectomy bra also feature padded straps for extra comfort or ergonomically shaped straps that contour to the body and smooth the back for a slim silhouette.

One special feature of some post-surgical bras are straps that fasten over the shoulder with Velcro for easier dressing and wound care.

The bands under the bust and going around the back provide support and help to distribute the weight of the breasts more effectively. In a standard bra, under bust bands are either very short or non-existent relying on side and back bands attached directly to the cups which can cause the bra to ride up or dig into the skin providing little support.

The bands on a mastectomy bra are generally wider with under bust bands extending below the cups and side and back bands rising higher under the arms and back. This allows for a snugger fit, keeps breast prosthesis held more securely and smooths the back area.

While standard bras can be made from many different materials from satin to silk to polyester, mastectomy bras tend to use softer stretch knits such as cotton microfiber with elastane to prevent irritation to surgical scars and encourage the skin to breathe to help regulate temperature and keep away moisture.

Standard bras may also feature more embellishment such as beading or lace panels which can irritate the skin. However, mastectomy bras are far from plain. Many feature beautiful detaining like scalloped edges, lace between the cups and embroidery which adds a delicate feminine touch.

Final Thoughts
For women who have undergone a mastectomy, a standard bra is unlikely to provide the support you need during your recovery or in the weeks and months after. A mastectomy bra is specifically designed with your comfort and needs in mind. The best way to find the right mastectomy bra for your body is to go for a professional fitting with a certified fitter. Try out a mastectomy bra and feel the difference.

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