What Are the Effects if I Keep Wearing my Sports Bra After Breast Augmentation?

I am 2 weeks post op from breast augmentation. I was told I can wear any bra I'd like as long as its underwire free. I would like to know what the effects would be if I keep wearing the sports bra?

Doctor Answers 14

Here are some ill effects of wearing a sports bra after breast augmentation.

All of my colleagues have given answers that are thoughtful and informative, but they all seem to lack information about one problem I have seen in a few of my patients who wear a sports bra "too much" after surgery. I would define "too much" as most of the day and night, as in some patients who tell me when I ask them to remain braless during the day (when not exercising, jogging, etc.) and they respond with "But I HAVE to wear a bra!" Some patients are apparently raised that wearing a bra is essential for feminine modesty, and they feel so uncovered or psychologically "wrong" about being braless, they would actually violate my recommendation rather than go without a brassiere.

The problem, however, is that the breast pocket is created surgically to be centered beneath the nipple/areola complex, and the chest in cross-section is an oval, with the breasts actually "pointing" slightly to the sides. In other words, the chest is not flat facing forward with the nipple/areola complexes pointing straight ahead. Yet a snug (non-cup) elastic sports or jog bra compresses the breasts inward, pushing the implants together in the midline, stretching and perhaps tearing a few of the fibers that connect the pockets to the breast bone centrally, and potentially creating or worsening symmastia (unaboob). The not-yet-healed pocket laterally can close down and seal shut, malpositioning the implants too far to the center. If worn too much and too long, this malposition and potential symmastia can become permanent.

And surgery is the only way to correct this when it occurs.

The only way to avoid this unfortunate turn of events is to advise patients that until their breast pockets have healed completely, they should NOT wear any sports or stretch bra day and night, and in fact should probably go braless for a part of each day. I also have my patients move their implants in the surgically-created pocket to keep the capsule from becoming the exact same size as the implants. This allows the pockets to stay slightly larger than the implants, minimizing capsular contracture and enhancing softness and natural movement. Some surgeons feel implant movement exercises are not necessary, since there is always some movement of the implants, and if submuscular, the normal contraction of the muscles "massage" and move the implants "enough." Perhaps true, but I like to ensure the pockets stay open and the breast softness and movement "natural."

Like most of my colleagues, I advise no underwire bra until 3 weeks after surgery, or until the (crease) incision is not irritated by the wire. (Surgeons who use other incisions may not have this requirement).

Bottom line: ask your surgeon what his or her recommendation is (and perhaps why), since most of us have given this much thought and have actual reasons why we recommend what we do! Best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 169 reviews

Have a question? Ask a doctor

Sports Bra after breast augmentation

I recommend to my patients that they do not wear an underwire bra for four weeks after surgery. The reason is so the breasts can drop and settle.  After the first month you may wear any bra you would like.  Bras of any sort are always a good thing because breast augmentation does not defy gravity.

Jeffrey Hartog, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Sports bra after BA

Different surgeons have different recommendations for wearing bras after breast surgery. Sometimes it depends on what was does done.  Also breasts respond differently to the implants. Some stretch easily while others are tighter. One size does not fit all. You should ask your surgeon what is right for you.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Bra after Breast Augmentation?

Thank you for the question.

There  should be no problem wearing a sports bra after breast augmentation;  if you have specific concerns best to check with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Sports Bra Usage Following Breast Augmentation

The management of support garments following breast augmentation varies from surgeon to surgeon and depends on a multitude of variables. In the immediate postoperative period we place our patients in a soft comfortable sports bra that’s worn for about six weeks. After six weeks we allow our patients to switch to an underwire bra.

Each patient’s situation is unique and for this reason the management of this issue is modified when necessary. In the majority of patients, we see no long term problems with the extended use of sports bras.

If you’re concerned about this issue, it’s important to consult your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon has information about your procedure that might impact this decision. 

What Are the Effects if I Keep Wearing my Sports Bra After Breast Augmentation?

I instruct my patients to wear a sports bra 24/7 for two weeks after BA. At this point they can change to whatever bra is most comfortable. This can include underwire, or even a small push up if preferred. If you are most comfortable in a sports bra, you could continue with this, keeping in mind that you will always wear something supportive. 

Michael E. Ciaravino, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

No bra for 1 month

I prefer that the patients wear no bra for 1 month after surgery.  This allows the implants to fall into position.  If you wear a bra too much, it can hold the implants up and prevent them from falling into position.

Sport bra? underwire?

Dear Aet,
Thank you for your post.  I do not believe in not wearing an underwire bra after augmentation or lift, and actually recommend it.  I do not feel like it causes a problem with the incisions as long as they are taped and the bra fits well.  I am very protective of my patients with augmentations who are runners. I recommend that they buy the athleta underwire sports bra with the front adjustable straps. My patients really like this bra for running and find that it holds them very stable. It is cupped instead of compressing the breasts together. Some patients use an additional regular sports bra on top of this for extra security. Some like it for everyday wear in the initial post-operative period. Using a regular sports bra that just compresses the breast together rather than cups that keep their shape can cause flattening of the breasts especially in the early post operative period and wearing a bra that doesn't have enough support, especially when running or any bouncing type activity, can cause bottoming out or stretching of the breasts.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Sports bra

I am unaware of any negative effect of continuing to wear a sports bra. I usually have my patients wear something for 4 weeks

Sports bra and breast augmentation

I am not sure that a bra really does anything.  It depends upon the procedure performed. But some surgeons do not even use bras after surgery.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 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.