Along with adequate rest and following your plastic surgeon’s post-operative instructions closely, selecting a proper bra after a breast augmentation is crucial for optimal healing. While your doctor will place you in a snug surgical support bra immediately after surgery—for up to six weeks, you’ll only take this off to shower—we asked top plastic surgeons for their insight on all-things bras once recovery is complete.
What to Look For
Doctors including New York plastic surgeon Mokhtar Asaadi, MD recommend their patients wear a soft sports bra with an opening in the front for the first three or so weeks after graduating from a surgical bra. New York plastic surgeon B. Aviva Preminger, MD agrees, offering up Athleta’s Empower Bra Collection ($54–$58), a luxe lineup of front-zip sports bras created with post-mastectomy needs in mind, as a great option.
Equally as important as comfort, adequate support is a key factor to consider when purchasing a sports bra or any type of bra. “Choosing a bra that doesn’t offer enough support for large breasts can contribute further to the effects of gravity on the breast such as stretch marks and sagging,” adds Dr. Preminger. The proper amount of support and compression will also ensure the implants are held in place and are settling and healing where they should be.
What to Avoid
Engelwood, NJ plastic surgeon Shwetambara Parakh, MD contends that patients should stay away from underwire or push-up bras in order to curb any interruption with scar healing and provide a gentle compression. “As the tissue around the implant pocket is healing, you should avoid wearing a pushup bra that creates unnatural pressure on the implants,” she adds.
Baton Rouge, LA plastic surgeon John Williams, MD adds that wearing a wired or push-up bra can potentially keep implants from settling into the correct position. “If these types of bras are worn for an extended period of time during recovery, it may result in permanent malposition of the implants and additional surgery will then be needed to correct the breast implant position.”
To encourage better scar healing, Dr. Parakh also recommends her patients wear silicone strips beginning two to three weeks after surgery. “These strips—make sure they are 100-percent medical-grade—hydrate the scar and promote healthy collagen production. When used religiously for 12 weeks, they definitely make a positive difference in the appearance of scars.” Brands such as Silagen, ScarAway and Embrace have been vetted and approved by plastic surgeons.
Once you’ve recovered fully from a breast augmentation, doctors generally recommend staying away from push-up or underwire bras and instead finding one that fits you perfectly with a gentle compression. Brands such as Cosabella and Soma offer wire-free yet supportive options for a wide range of bust sizes and include helpful sizing guides online and personal help in stores.
“Extended or constant wearing of an underwire or push-up bra—even after recovery is complete—may still result in the breast implants becoming too high and malpositioned, which can become permanent and require surgery,” Dr. Williams reminds us, noting that reaching for a push-up bra every once in a while is perfectly acceptable.
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