Prosthetic and bra fitting after breast cancer surgery
After breast cancer surgery, some women decide not to wear a breast prosthetic or have a reconstruction and sometimes just wear a padded bra. I often recommend a pre-formed padded cup bra shape as it creates a very light shaping.
Another favourite is a sports bra top in a compression style which fits close to the chest wall. This is not too tight and will ensure that you always feel comfortable.
If you decide to wear a breast prosthetic or breast prostheses I would recommend first being fitted for a bra, as getting the correct fit and shape is key.
80% of the support from your bra comes from the band around the bra so ensuring this is both comfortable and supportive is essential.
Pocketed or non-pocketed bra?
A pocketed bra has pockets on the inside of the cups with an opening where the prostheses can be placed. Some women like to wear a pocket as it offers security, holding the prostheses in place and having less risk of the prostheses slipping out of the bra.
If you decide to wear a non-pocketed bra with your prostheses, my advice would be to ensure you are wearing the correct size and shape bra for you. Always fit to the natural breast as its easy to change the prosthesis to match.
There are many prostheses to choose from. When I am fitting you, I will look at the projection of the natural breast, and its shape, size and volume. I’ll match a prosthesis to your shape. If you have had a bilateral mastectomy then we can discuss what shape and size, you would like to have from your prosthesis.
Some prosthetic bra-fit tips
- Make sure that the bra cup fits the natural breast with any side seams sitting behind the breast and not digging into the breast. The prosthesis should fit neatly into the cup and not poke out over the top or sides of the bra. There should be no puckering or overstretching in the cup area
- Check that the sides of the bra are not too high under the arm. This can cause rubbing if there is scarring especially soon after surgery
- Straps need to offer additional support, but not all of the support. They should neither slip off the shoulder nor dig into the shoulders. This is especially true if you are new to wearing a protheses, as you may find it feels heavier than the natural breast as it is not part of the chest wall
- Straps can become loose from washing and wearing so check your straps and tighten them as this happens. If you close your bra on the loosest hook, you’ll be able to tighten the bra as it stretches over time
- Lastly, remember to look down at your bust line rather than through the mirror to check your alignment is equal
For more information on my personal bra fitting service for post-surgery, you can read more here.