Are Post-Op Bras Necessary?

This article describes what to look for in a compression bra & why it can be important to wear after breast surgery.

Are Post-Op Bras Necessary?

Do I really need a post-op bra after breast surgery?

No matter if you’re having breast reduction, breast enlargement, breast lift or any other kind of breast surgery, it's not uncommon to be advised to wear a compression bra for two to five weeks after surgery.

As with any part of surgery and recovery, it is important to follow the exact recommendations of your surgeon regarding post-operative bras following breast surgery.

Why might I need to wear a post-op bra?

Wound healing & swelling diagram

Without compression, blood and other fluids can pool in the areas surrounding your incisions. This is commonly called swelling or inflammation, as seen in the diagram above. This flood of fluids is a completely natural part of the healing process and is your body’s way of distributing the nutrients and immunity cells your body needs to heal wounds.

However, excess swelling can be a bad thing. It can extend the time it takes you to fully recover and potentially negatively impact your results from breast surgery. Plus, swelling tends to be very uncomfortable and unsightly. Compression garments like post-operative bras aid in the healing process by preventing excessive swelling while also removing strain on stitches and limiting bruising after surgery.

While compression bras can be important for more intensive breast surgeries like breast reduction, they are also used when recovering from procedures like fat transfer breast enlargement and set your results up for success no matter what.

What kind of post-op bra do I need?

While each surgeon has their favourite brand or type, there are some basic features they agree on.

Any post-operative bra you use should follow these guidelines (as seen in the image below):

  • No underwires
  • No padding
  • Closes at the front for easy dressing and undressing
Woman in compression bra.jpg

The piece of fabric above the breasts in this image is a compression belt. This is an optional feature that is sometimes recommended after breast enlargement surgery. It helps prevent the implants from moving too high on the chest. Speak to your surgeon to find out if a compression belt is right for you during your recovery.

Another element to keep in mind is the colour fabric your bra is made of. While it won’t impact how your compression bra works, consider buying one in a darker colour. After all, you’ll be wearing it while healing from surgery and blood or fluid stains are likely to happen. Dark colour fabrics, especially black, will hide stains more easily than lighter colours like white or tan.

For compression garments purpose-made to be worn after breast surgery, Medbelle surgeons often suggest post-op bras from brands like Macom, Lipoelastic, Asda, and Marks & Spencer. When buying a compression garment, simply choose one in your goal cup size, as these post-op bras are designed to allow for swelling.

Keep in mind that if you are buying a sports bra to wear as your post-operative bra, you need to choose one that is one to two cup sizes larger than your goal size in order to allow for swelling.

Do I need a spare post-op bra?

Constant compression on your chest after breast surgery can be important. Patients may be advised to not go without a compression bra for the first weeks of recovery, except for short moments, like when bathing or changing from one bra to another.

Even if a post-operative bra is provided to you by the hospital, it’s a great idea to have one or two extra compression bras for your recovery from breast surgery. This makes sure you still have something to wear even when one is in the wash. It’s totally fine for these spare compression bras to be less expensive than your main post-op bra. As long as your spare fits the guidelines mentioned above (no padding, no underwires, and front closure), you are all set.

Book your consultation with one of our specialists