After battling cancer and going through an invasive surgery like a mastectomy, the last thing you want to have to worry about is finding the right lingerie or swim suit to wear that will not only keep you comfortable, but will also keep your incisions protected as you recover, and still make you feel feminine.
To help alleviate some of the headaches that come along with finding that perfect item, we went straight to Dr. Garrett Harper at Graper Cosmetic Surgery and Laser — who is passionate about helping women battling breast cancer — to find out what intimates patients should wear as well as those they should avoid post-mastectomy.
Turns out that wearing the wrong item post-mastectomy can have a negative impact on recovery and even cause damage. “Immediately after a mastectomy, I ask that my patients not wear a bra or have any restrictive or compressive garments on their breasts. During a mastectomy, the blood flow to the remaining breasts and skin gets reduced. Having a compressive force can reduce it even more and compromise blood flow to the point where incisions can’t heal and tissue doesn’t survive and needs to be removed,” explains Dr. Harper.
However, there are brands that have been designed to help avoid causing more problems, while still offering women the coverage and comfort they need. “Once we are safe to use a bra, a light bra without underwire is appropriate. We have our patients wear Coobie bras,” says Dr. Harper.
Coobies are soft, seamless and stretchy — perfect for someone recovering from a mastectomy. They come in several different styles, sizes, and fun colors. One of the brand’s most popular styles is the seamless scoopneck like the one below, which retails for $20.
Luckily, if you’re interested in trying a Coobie bra, SouthPark’s I.C. London has the largest selection of bra sizes in Charlotte and carries the brand, so you won’t have to play the typical guess my size game that comes along with online shopping.
Along with Dr. Harper’s suggested Coobie brand, there are several other lingerie brands out there that are specifically dedicated to providing women who are post-mastectomy with comfortable intimates and swimwear, including Red Fern Lingerie, which was designed by a breast cancer survivor and produces a number of collections with survivors in mind. Red Fern’s main mission is to create pieces that are not only comfortable, but also help women feel sexy and confident again after surgery. Here’s a look at their Ava Ruby Pink Mastectomy Bra, which retails for $110.
As for swimwear, it’s important to stick to the same rules Dr. Harper mentioned and skip the underwire or anything too restricting for awhile.
The swimwear brand Hulabell is another collection designed for breast cancer survivors by a survivor, who wanted women to be able to be comfortable post-mastectomy, but also feel stylish and womanly. Their suits are made of high-quality fabrics with coverage, comfort, and style in mind. Additionally, Hulabelle can create a custom suit to fit any specific needs, size, or shapes. Designs range from cross back bikinis and halters to crop tops like the one below that retails for $85.
Shops like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus also have a wide variety of swimsuits that provide both comfort and coverage like this black and white one-piece that has thick straps for extra support.
This loose fitting Grecian Norma Kamali one-piece suit is another great option at Neimans.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month Scoop Charlotte is dedicating a series of articles to recovering after a mastectomy. Keep an eye out for more information to come.