What Happens if You Don’t Wear Your Post-Surgical Bra?

Nov 1st, 2021

Following mastectomy surgery, a breast reconstruction, a breast enlargement, or a breast reduction, your doctor or plastic surgeon may recommend that you wear a surgical bra for several weeks during your recovery. A post-operative bra provides compression technology and comes with additional features to facilitate a speedy recovery.

If you choose not to wear your compressive bra for the recommended length of time, it may have detrimental consequences for your health and healing process.

breast enlargement


Lymphedema is a chronic immune disease that causes your body’s tissue to swell excessively. It often occurs in the hands and feet; however, because it is a disease of the lymphatic system, damage to one area, such as the chest, can lead to swelling in other areas of your body.

During mastectomy surgery, the lymph nodes under your arms can become blocked or damaged. This occurs most often with breast conserving surgery, lumpectomy, and lymph node removal. Damage to the lymph nodes prevents the fluid from draining correctly, causing it to accumulate in the soft tissue.

Compression bras use graduated pressure to increase lymph and blood circulation around the chest wall and underarms to combat lymphedema. You can also purchase compression stockings and sleeves to minimize the effect of lymphedema in your extremities.

Higher Risk of Infection

Wound care is crucial for fast healing after surgery. Surgical drains need to be changed frequently, and the area around the incision must be kept clean to avoid introducing bacteria into the wound.

Wearing a post-op bra can help you manage wound care more effectively and reduce the risk of infection. Many post-operative bras come with additional features like drain tube pouches, access for drain ports, front closures, and over-the-shoulder Velcro straps to facilitate easier dressing and gauze changes.

Slower Healing

If you stop wearing the surgical bra before the recommended time provided in your surgeon's aftercare plan, you may notice that it takes longer for your incision to heal. Compression bras increase blood flow to the surgical site, flooding the area with nutrients and proteins to boost cell renewal and speed up healing.

Post-surgical swelling is a normal part of the body’s immune response. However, persistent swelling can also inhibit the body’s natural healing factors. Compression bras use gentle pressure to reduce swelling.

Breast Implant Displacement

If you have opted for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy or had a breast augmentation, wearing a bra after breast surgery can help keep your breast implants in place.

Breast implant displacement occurs when your implants shift out of their correct position. They typically move higher on the chest wall or migrate under the armpit. However, if the plastic surgeon has created a pocket too large for the implant, it can slip into the fold under the breast, causing a sagging appearance.

Choosing to wear a bra after a breast augmentation or reconstruction ensures your implant stays in the correct position until they settle or “drop and fluff.” This process can take between 3 and 6 months, depending on the size of your implants.

You should avoid wearing underwire bras after any type of breast surgery, but especially a reconstruction with implants. The best bra to wear after breast surgery with implants should include a belt that applies pressure across the top of the implants. You are also advised to wear your compression bra at night to prevent changes in your sleeping position from damaging your implants.

Best Post-Surgical Bras

At Mastectomyshop.com, we offer a vast selection of post-surgical bras to meet your needs. Here are a few of our top picks.

Allyson Post-Surgical Bra

Allyson Post-Surgical Bra by Wear Ease

A soft wide band and satin straps make this the perfect choice for comfortable support post-op. The bra is designed for use following various surgical procedures, including mastectomy, biopsy, lumpectomy, breast reduction, breast reconstruction, and open heart surgery. It comes with or without drain pouches, making it suitable for day wear or while you’re sleeping.

The  Allyson Post-Surgical Bra by Wear Ease comes in three neutral colors, is machine washable, and can also be worn as a mastectomy bra later on.

ANITA Post Operative Compression Bra

ANITA Post Operative Compression Bra

This ANITA compression bra is a great choice providing an individual fit that prevents tissue irritation and pressure marks on the skin. The bra aids in healing through gentle compression on your scar tissue and relieving lymph drainage channels.

It’s easy to put on and remove thanks to the front zip, featuring an underlying hook and eye fastener.

ABC Post-Surgical Camisole

ABC Post-Surgical Camisole With Drain Management Function

Immediately following a mastectomy or whenever you require drainage, this comfortable ABC camisole is an excellent option. The cotton blend is breathable with easy-open shoulder straps so you can step into this piece. It also comes with two attachable drain pouches.

Support Your Body After Surgery With a Compression Bra

Wearing a  high-quality compression bra after breast surgery is crucial for proper healing and support during your recovery. For the best selection of post-operative compression bras and ultra-soft recovery bras, visit Mastectomyshop.com.