Are Post Surgery Bra's for Support or to Keep Compression?

I am 11 days out and the bra is my only issue. I am wearing an XL sports bra but by the end of the day my breats and back or tingling like it is too tight. Can I wear a larger bra that does not compress the breasts or is compression what is needed

Doctor Answers 8

Use of a Bra for Compression and Support Following Breast Surgery

The use of a post-surgical bra following breast surgery (augmentation, lift, reduction) is for both support and compression. Providing good support is more important than excessive compression. The ‘support’ will decrease post-operative pain and discomfort, reduce early stress on the skin closures, and help reduce dependent swelling within the breast. The ‘compression’ will help reduce swelling and enhance its resolution.

In fact, any type of garment that provides breast support and compression can be utilized. Immediately after the operation, I place patients in a Surgilast tube top. This is a tubular elastic dressing that has a fishnet appearance. It is easy to place and avoids the need to worry about a properly fitting bra. Some patients continue this post-op and others change to a sports or other comfortable bra. I emphasize to my patients that whatever they chose to wear should provide support and compression, but most of all be comfortable. I want my patients to actually wear the garment for its benefits, so I certainly don’t want the garment to increase post-op discomfort.

I recommend that patients wear post-op support and compression (every day, all day) for 6 weeks following surgery. During this time I prefer that they avoid an under wire bra. Patients can begin wearing an under wire bra after their swelling has subsided, the inframammary skin closures are healed and non-tender, and their implants have settled like I expect.

It does sound as if the bra you are wearing is too tight, and you should find one that fits more comfortably. I’m sure your surgeon can offer some suggestions to help you.

Best wishes. Ken Dembny

Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Have a question? Ask a doctor

Post-op bra's after augmentation

Great question.  Every surgeon will have a different recommendation or reason for post-operative bra/garments.

I feel a sports bra should be worn for light support and light compression. Your breasts should feel comfortable in the bra.  You should be wearing your post-operative bra 24/7 for at least 4 weeks.

If your bra feels to tight, it most likely is.  It is always good to ask your surgeon and even show them what the bra looks like on. 

Going to a larger size bra should not effect or interfer with your final results, which can take up to 6 weeks for everything to settle out and be a natural shape.

Sarah E. McMillan, MD
Bellevue Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Sports bra after breast augmentation

My concern with the bra being too tight is it may be pushing the implants upwards.  If the bra is acting as a push-up bra, the implants may stay high and never drop.

You may want to have the fit checked with your surgeon.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Post Surgical Bra?

Thank you for the question.

The postsurgical bra should fit comfortably;  if it is to type it may cause blistering or skin pigment changes. I'm sure wearing a larger bra will still provide the benefits of support and mild compression without the downsides that you have described. Your plastic surgeon's 's office will likely be able to help with specifics.

Best wishes.

Support bras after breast surgery

After most breast procedures patients are provided with a post surgical bra to wear for the first few weeks after surgery.  My take is that the bra provides some compression to speed the resolution of swelling, and also some support for increased comfort.  I typically keep patients in soft bras for the first few months after breast augmentation until i'm sure the implants have settled satisfactorily.  For breast reductions and breast lift patients, I usually allow the use of a more supportive bra afte 4-6 weeks if there are no wound healing issues.  If the bra you are wearing feels to tight, it probably is.  You may want to discuss this with your plastic surgeon or one of his/her staff members to see if they can help you find one that fits more comfortably.

Kelly Gallego, MD, FACS
Yuba City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Post operative bra

I usually have my patients wear a post operative sports bra for two weeks after surgery to help support the tissues and compress any swelling.  However, if you are having issues with your bra, I would suggest contacting your surgeon's office to seek alternatives.  If you are already two weeks post op, you can likely just use any support bra that is comfortable.  


Good Luck.

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Purpose of postop bra

The purpose is two-fold: support and compression. Compression to reduce the postop swelling and support without underwires that cut into the breasts. The question is not always size but fit so, if you have concerns that the bra doesn't fit properly, see a local corsetiere.

Robert L. Kraft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Use of compression after surgery for breast augmentation

You should follow the advice of your plastic surgeon. All plastic surgeons will have a different routine for post operative care. Your plastic surgeon understands your surgery and your anatomy and is in the best position for making this decision. Some plastic surgeons like underwire bras others want you to avoid their use.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.