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March 20, 2024

What Bra Do I Need After Breast Augmentation?

Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the United States. Each year, hundreds of thousands of women undergo some type of breast surgery that involves implants.

Breast augmentation surgery is one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures in the United States. Each year, hundreds of thousands of women undergo some type of breast surgery that involves implants. However, it is surprising and somewhat alarming how many women are not instructed on how to properly care for their “new boobs.” As a female plastic surgeon who has had her own Mommy Makeover, it is of utmost importance to me that my patients love their results for years to come. I do not want these women aging out their breasts quickly and returning for a surgical revision every 2-3 years. Breast implants should technically last a decade, regardless if they are filled with saline or silicone. Here are some questions that my own patients frequently have. My postoperative instructions for success are also described to help you achieve and maintain the best results for as long as possible. Keep in mind that each surgeon has their own preference, so it is recommended ask your board certified plastic surgeon what is their preferred regimen.

Do I need a bra after breast augmentation?

Absolutely 1000% yes! A proper bra is necessary after a breast augmentation. The type of bra does change as the internal postoperative changes and healing occur. Many women erroneously think that once they get a breast augmentation, they can go braless because their breasts are so perky and “stand up on their own.” Quite the contrary, the proper support can improve the longevity of the surgical results and of the residual native breast tissue the overlies the breast implant.

Immediately after surgery, my team and I gently place our patient into a soft front open surgical bra. We typically pick a size that is at least one or two sizes larger than the chest circumference to account for postoperative swelling. The straps are also adjustable to fit torsos of all heights. Fluffy gauze in laid over the breasts to absorb any potential drainage and the patient is secured into the bra. A pro tip is that our bras are black; light colored bras are unforgiving with any potential drainage, spilled food, etc. I see my patient for a 24-48 hour check, remove the fluffy gauze and replace it with large “ABD pads.” The patient is then instructed to take it easy and attempt a luke warm shower with 100% assistance on postoperative day 3 or 4. The bra comes off in this shower and the steri-strips (stickers on the incisions) stay on the skin and can get wet. After the shower, the tapes are pat dry and the bra is replaced. Using maxi-pads is another pro tip. Placing the sticky side towards the bra and the absorbent side towards to breast and nipples is a great way to pad and protect the relatively sensitive newly operated breasts.

For the next 6 weeks after surgery, patients are recommended to continue wearing a bra of a similar nature. The bra should be a front-open type to avoid the need for extreme stretching of the shoulders and arms. The bra should not be severely tight or snug to avoid premature internal scarring in undesirable areas. For example, if an implant is not given the opportunity to “settle” naturally and stays high on the chest, scarring can occur quickly at the base of the implant that keeps the implant too high in this position. Should this occur, deep massages can help, but a surgical release of the inferior internal scarring may be necessary.

The band of the bra should be on the upper part of the woman’s ribcage so that it does not sit directly in the under breast creases (ie. Inframammary fold). Almost 98% of my breast incisions involve the inframammary area, which can be very sensitive during the healing process. With the exception of showers, patients are instructed to wear this type of breast twenty-four hours a day, seven days week. While this may seem excessive, it is important to support the breasts externally while a significant amount of internal healing is occurring. In primary breast augmentation patients, the body is trying to form the “capsule” or “pocket” around the breast implant. This is the thin, pliable scar that naturally forms around any foreign body. It is our body’s natural way to protect itself. In implant exchange or explantation surgeries, there is a significant amount of reconstruction and surgical work that is performed internally, making proper support of utmost importance. The scars that we see on the surface almost never correlate with the amount of internal work performed and amount of care required. Once again, the maxi pad pro tip for comfort still applies during the six postoperative weeks.

From the sixth week to the third month postoperatively, the patients can transition to a soft bra of their choice. This is also an appropriate time to get sized at the store, keeping in mind that the size will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is advised to not wear bras that contain an underwire for the first three months postoperatively. The underwire tends to be too firm for the sensitive inframammary fold area. This sensitivity typically improves over time. From the third month and beyond, any supportive daytime bra is acceptable. Daytime bras should essentially keep the breasts on the chest wall and avoid sagging. Bralettes and bands that are built into tank tops are trendy and cute, but do not offer sufficient support. The material and elastic bands are typically too flimsy and does not properly shape the two round breasts. Breasts tend to age quickly with continuous use of bralettes because it’s like wearing nothing. Understandably, there will be days where ladies have the desire to go braless; this is acceptable in short increments. Wear the backless gown! Wear the string bikini! Just go back to your routine when vacation is over.

After the third postoperative month, it is important for women to maintain their results with a nighttime sleeping bra. The Lovoire sleeping bra by Twinberry is the best postoperative bra for sleep. The Lovoire has an adjustable band, wide padded straps, patent-pending vectors for optimal side support and is made with breathable, soft Outlast fabric. It was designed specifically for sleep and anti-aging purposes. By 3 months postoperative, there is enough healing and maturation of external and internal scar tissue where patients are finally ready for such an effective sleeping bra. Of note, sports bras are not recommended for sleep as there is no effective shaping of the breasts. Sports bras only smash the two round breasts into one amorphous glob and spread the breasts out into the armpits, which is a big no-no.

What happens if I do not wear a proper bra after breast augmentation?

Not all women will be open to the idea of wearing bras after breast augmentation. Understandably, women want to feel free, uninhibited, and proud of their new confident bodies. Again, it is acceptable and relatively harmless to go a few days here and there braless. In the long run, consistency is key and maintaining augmented breasts in supportive garments are anti-aging. Breast implants and breast tissue naturally want to follow the convex curvature of the chest wall. Most women’s chest circumferences tend to be small, even under the layer of subcutaneous fat. Implants follow these small chest walls outward and as a result, breasts and their implants lateralize into the armpits, forming armpit boobs. During this time, the patient may experience intermittent pain on the outer sides of the breast without realizing that these are the slow and steady changes and aging of the breasts.

Without proper supportive bras, breasts will age significantly faster, sag faster, droop faster. It is my strong opinion that breast augmentation is a personal investment of time, health, and money; do yourself a favor an wear a proper day and night bra as much as humanly possible. Augmented breasts are beautiful, but they are not normal breasts; they need extra TLC.

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