Choosing Your Bra

After breast surgery it is understandable that you might be concerned about your appearance, or about wearing a prosthesis or different type of bra. At Eloise, we deal with these issues on a daily basis and can help you feel confident and comfortable in styles that cater for your individual needs.

For more information on booking a free fitting with our specialist team, visit our Fittings page.

Which bra should I choose after surgery?

After surgery the hospital will provide you with a soft, foam prosthesis to wear for 6-8 weeks after surgery. During this time it is advisable to wear a soft bra for comfort and gentle support. A front fastening option is a good choice as you may have restricted movement in the arm for a short time afterwards.

When choosing your new bra after surgery, there are a few extra points to consider...

What type of surgery have you had?

If you have had partial surgery or a lumpectomy, there may be only a slight difference to your outline, and a padded bra or small foam filler may be enough to restore your shape. If a larger amount of breast tissue has been removed, a discreet silicone partial prosthesis may be worn inside the bra cup to make up the deficit.

After a mastectomy (or bilateral surgery), a silicone prosthesis is normally worn inside the bra cup. To feel comfortable, this needs to be adequately supported and held in place by a bra that fits properly and is the right size.

Sometimes, more extensive surgery leaves a hollow, and the prosthesis does not stay in place very well. In this situation, a pocketed bra is a good solution as it provides added security and peace of mind.

If you have had reconstructive surgery, you may benefit from a supportive bra, especially at first, to help the new breast retain a natural shape. If you have an ongoing problem with shape difference, we can help.

Not had surgery? Eloise also helps women who have breast asymmetry for reasons other than surgery, and those who simply wish to improve or augment their shape. Please use our telephone advice service or come and see us.

Do you wear a prosthesis?

For the first few  6-8 weeks after surgery a soft, lightweight, fibre-filled or foam pad is usually worn until you are fully healed. The pad (or 'cumfie') can be placed inside a bra or crop-top, or you may find a front-fastening bra more practical, especially if you have impaired arm movement.

After this, a silicone prosthesis is normally worn inside the bra cup to restore body balance. These breast forms vary in shape, size and weight. See our information on prostheses. For comfort, whichever type you wear, you will need a bra that fully covers the prosthesis and gives sufficient support, not just to the prosthesis but to your overall breastweight.

After partial surgery or reconstruction, you may wear a 'shell'  or partial silicone prosthesis, to rectify breast asymmetry. These come in various shapes and sizes. Although not as heavy as regular breast forms, they still need adequate support and the right type of bra to keep them in place.

Which type of bra will suit your needs?

You may be able to wear the same style as before surgery providing it fits you properly, and is supportive enough for your post-surgery requirements.

A well-fitting bra should feel like a like a second skin, and the amount of support required is governed by your overall size. If you are small-breasted you should need only light-medium support, whereas if you have large, heavy breasts, a full cupped bra giving good support is recommended.

The shape of the bra matters too, especially for prosthesis wearers. You may feel more comfortable in a style that gives more coverage at the sides and a slightly deeper front. Wider straps and more than one hook at the back may add to your comfort.

If you lead a particularly active life and wear a prosthesis, you may prefer a pocketed bra or one with cup linings (an inner lining forms a pocket to hold the prosthesis) for added security and confidence. Many of our bras already have a cup lining within. See our pocketing service.

We would advise being correctly fitted for a bra before having a prosthesis fitting to ensure you are in the correct size and that the style is suitable. This is important as the 'right' bra can make a lot of difference to how the prosthesis looks and feels. At Eloise, we offer a specialist prosthesis fitting and you are welcome to make an appointment to try on a range of suitable prostheses.

If you prefer to wear underwired bras there is usually no reason why you cannot do so once your scarring has properly healed, usualy around six months after mastectomy surgery. Providing the wires do not lie directly on the scar and you do not show any signs of lymphoedema, underwired bras offer good support and provide a great shape. Look for 'full-cup' styles that cover the whole prosthesis. We have some beautiful styles in stock with the latest 'flexi'-wires - these do not dig in, or damage your breastform.

Eloise can help you...

At Eloise, we have helped thousands of women to choose beautiful bras after surgery. Our lingerie range is rated one of the best you'll find anywhere and, more importantly, we have the expertise to help you overcome any practical problems you may be facing. If you are unable to visit for a fitting, you are welcome to contact us by telephone or email for advice.