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

Nov 1st, 2021

Did you know that skipping a post-surgical bra after breast surgery can lead to increased pain and even implant displacement? Wearing a bra after breast augmentation, reduction, or a mastectomy is critical for a smooth recovery. These specially designed bras provide the support and compression needed to reduce swelling, promote healing, and keep implants or reconstructed tissue in place.

Neglecting this essential part of your post-op care can result in complications like lymphedema or an increased risk of infection. Don’t underestimate the importance of a post-surgical bra for your mastectomy or breast augmentation recovery.


Lymphedema is a chronic condition in which the body’s tissues swell excessively, often in the hands and feet. Because it affects the lymphatic system, damage in one area, like the chest, can cause swelling elsewhere.

During a breast augmentation or mastectomy surgery, the lymph nodes under your arms can become blocked or damaged, especially with breast-conserving surgery, lumpectomy, and lymph node removal. This damage prevents fluid from draining, leading to a buildup in the soft tissue.

Compression bras apply graduated pressure to improve lymph and blood circulation around the chest and underarms, helping combat lymphedema. You can also use compression stockings and sleeves to reduce swelling in your arms and legs.

Higher Risk of Infection

Wound care is essential 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 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 for easier dressing and gauze changes.

Slower Healing

If you stop wearing the surgical bra before the recommended time in your surgeon’s aftercare plan, your incision may take longer to heal. Compression bras increase blood flow to the surgical site, delivering nutrients and proteins that boost cell renewal and accelerate healing.

Post-surgical swelling is a normal part of the body’s immune response. However, persistent swelling can affect the body’s natural healing process. Compression bras apply 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 plastic 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 breast augmentation or reconstruction ensures your implants stay in the correct position until they settle or  “drop and fluff.” Depending on the size of your implants, this process can take between 3 and 6 months.

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 includes a belt that applies pressure across the top of the implants. You also need to wear your compression bra at night to prevent changes in your sleeping position from damaging your implants.

Best Post-Surgical Bras

Mastectomyshop.com offers a wide selection of post-surgical bras. Here are a few of our top picks.

post surgical mastectomy bra

Allyson Post-Surgical Bra Allyson Post-Surgical Bra by Wear Ease

A soft wide band and satin straps make the Allyson Post-Surgical Bra the perfect choice for comfortable support post-op. This 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 is available in three neutral colors, is machine washable, and can also be worn as a mastectomy bra later in your recovery.

valencia compression bra

Anita Post Operative Compression Bra

The Anita Valencia Compression Bra is perfect for post-surgery healing. It offers controlled compression to aid lymph drainage and speed up recovery. The adjustable Velcro straps and easy front zip with an underlying hook-and-eye closure allow you to dress and undress easily without straining your shoulders or chest.

Its full-cup, non-wired, non-padded design provides gentle support and prevents pressure marks, helping you heal smoothly and comfortably.

post surgical bra

Anita Marbella Compression Bra

The Anita Marbella Compression Bra has seamless molded cups and stretch cotton fabric, so it feels great on your skin. The bra offers lateral chest support for controlled compression and adjustable Velcro straps for a perfect fit.

It features a handy zipper with an underlying hook closure and a wide elastic band with a soft cotton lining, which promotes healing.

marbella compression bra

ABC Active Recovery Bra

Exercise is an integral part of your recovery plan after breast surgery, but you need to minimize breast movement to avoid irritating scar tissue and displacing breast implants. ABC’s Active Recovery Bra offers optimal support and superior comfort.

It features double layers of breathable fabric and seamless pocketed cups for soft compression. The zipper front with top and bottom G-hooks keeps you secure, while adjustable straps with hook and eye closure provide a perfect fit. The wide band and side panels offer extra support and comfort against sensitive skin.

active recovery mastectomy bra

ABC Post-Surgical Camisole With Drain Management Function

This comfortable ABC camisole is an excellent option immediately following a mastectomy or whenever you require drainage. 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 for easier wound care.

Support Your Body After Surgery With a Compression Bra

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


Do I need to wear a bra after breast cancer surgery?

After breast cancer surgery, including lumpectomy, mastectomy, or breast augmentation, wearing a supportive bra helps reduce swelling and provides comfort.

Surgeons typically recommend wearing a bra day and night for the first 4 to 6 weeks after surgery. Post-surgical or compression bras or high-impact supportive sports bras without underwire are ideal. These bras aid in healing and stabilize your new breast shapes.

How tight should a compression bra be after breast augmentation?

After a breast augmentation procedure, a medical grade compression bra needs to be snug but not overly tight. It must provide firm support to minimize swelling and aid healing without causing discomfort or restricting blood flow.

The bra should fit snugly, providing consistent pressure across your chest while still allowing you to breathe comfortably and move without pain. For a comfortable fit, make sure you can place two fingers under the band and straps.

What is the best bra after breast surgery?

A compression or post-surgery bra is the best type of bra to wear after breast augmentation surgery, reduction, or mastectomy. Post-surgery bras offer essential support and compression for healing and implant positioning.

Choose bras with adjustable straps to accommodate swelling and size changes. Ensure they are made of breathable fabric to stay dry and comfortable, reducing irritation and infection risks. Follow your surgeon’s recommendations for the best fit and recovery outcome.