What is the purpose, specifically, of wearing a surgical bra?

I would just like to know the exact reasons Fo wearing a surgical bra please?

Doctor Answers 9

Surgical Bra Purpose

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I would recommend that you follow the advice of the doctor who will be performing your surgery and who is going to be taking care of you in the postoperative period.  There is no one that is in a better position to guide you in your recovery other than the Plastic Surgeon who will be performing your operation. 


Now as far as my own practice is concerned, yes, I do advise my patients who have breast augmentation surgery to wear a surgical bra.  This is simply for the reason that there is a benefit in having some support at least in the early period during the recovery from breast augmentation surgery.  There is very little hard data in the literature supporting the use of a sports bra versus no sports bra at all.  There is actually only one study that I can recall that is about 15 years old that reported that there was no improvement in the incidence of deep bruising or bleeding following breast augmentation with a sports bra compared to no sports bra at all. 


Therefore, you will get different opinions on this subject.  You will have surgeons that categorically advise their patients to wear a sports bra and others who recommend that no bra be worn.  I think a lot of it also has to do with exactly what operation is being done and what kind of implant device is being used for the augmentation.  Certainly, there is a difference in the behavior of saline versus silicone implants in the way that they move in the body.  There is also a significant difference between the recovery and the movement of textured implants versus smooth implants.  Of course, we are not even talking about more complicated operations such as breast augmentation in combination with a breast lift.  So, there are many different possibilities depending on the exact operation that is done and the exact device that is being used. 


Essentially, it boils down to the experience of your surgeon and what he/she believes will be the best way for you to recover following your operation.  So, I would take the advice of your Plastic Surgeon and I am sure your results will be very, very good.  Best of luck to you!

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Breast garments following breast surgery

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Not really sure which garment you are referring to but
1)surgical bra is intended to support your breasts during the early postoperative period. This bra will support your inframmary crease and prevent your breast from bottoming out; it should not have a wire which can irritate your inframmary crease if your incision was placed here.
2)A breast band which will keep your implants from riding high.

Arian Mowlavi, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Post surgical bras

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provide many functions and are used at different points in your recovery.  Every surgeon has their own protocols but in my practice, leisure bras (soft, stretch cup, not really functional) are used for light support and to help with swelling following reductions and mastopexies and with augmentation when upper poles are looking 'good enough'.  Whenever a perfect look is achieved, underwire (if tolerated and everyone has tolerated it in my practice) bras are recommended in a functional way (straps cinched up) to help stabilize the implant position or healing tissues.  My patients have been very happy with their results and being creatures of habit, surgeons pretty much stick with what has worked for them. 

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

What is the purpose of the surgical bra

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Thank you for your question. I do not have my patients wear a surgical bra. I tell my patients to wear a bra that is comfortable and that has no under wire. 

I preform the bloodless breast enlargement which I pioneered years ago. Since blood loss is negligible my patients do not require pressure from a bra to minimize bleeding after surgery. In addition, the breast pocket is precisely dissected out to the size of the implant. I don't require the bra to keep the implants in proper position. The surgery took care of that.

There are different techniques one can use when preforming breast enlargements. Some of the other techniques may require the use of a surgical bra. You can discuess this with your plastic surgeon.     

Joshua Halpern, MD, PA
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Surgical bra

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Thank you for your question. I recommend using a sports bra for support for the first few weeks after BA. I feel like it helps manage swelling, does not rub on the fresh incision, and minimizes the implants from moving around too much which helps decrease pain. There is not a lot of scientific study on this issue to see if it really makes a difference or not, but common sense and experience tells us that it helps many patients.

Paul J. Leahy, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

What is the purpose, specifically, of wearing a surgical bra?

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In my practice I feel there are two reasons for the use of a surgical bra after any breast surgery that I perform.  The first is to provide support during the period of swelling.  If a patient changes prematurely to an inadequately supportive bra she often will notice increased pain and tenderness within a day.  The second benefit is to avoid the use of an underwire that can cut into any lower breast incision (ie from a full uplift or breast reduction incision) or possible close off the lower portion of an implant pocket.  When and if my patients tire of the surgical bra I tell them to change it for an adequately supportive sports bra (without underwire) but be wary of increasing pain as a sign that it's not adequately supportive.

Jon A Perlman MD FACS
Certified, Am Bd of Plastic Surgery
Member, Am. Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS)
Beverly Hills, CA

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Postoperative garments

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Hello and thanks for posting your question on RealSelf!

Postoperative bra protocols differ greatly amongst surgeons. For the most part the garment is meant to give patients support in the immediate post surgical time period. It takes time for swelling to reduce and settling of tissues to occur. Each case is unique and garment recommendations given by your surgeon may vary. if you have questions about the purpose of the garment recommended for recovery, you should discuss this with your surgeon. 

I hope that helped.

Rachel Streu, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Surgical bra

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In my very personal opinion, there isn't any, but surgeons differ greatly on this topic. You may want to discuss this with your doctor before the procedure, who will be able to give a reason for his/her preferences. 

Ciro Adamo, PhD, MD
Italy Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Surgical Bra May Decrease Pain and Complications.

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I personally recommend that patients wear a surgical bra, or a sports bra, or a softbra without an underwire 18-23 hours a day for the first six weeks.

I don't think that it makes that much difference. If a patient is having difficulty with the bra, I instruct them to take it off, or possibly substitute into a more comfortable bra

However, the theoretical reasons for wearing a bra include the splinting of the breast to decrease pain, and I would report that most patients feel more secure and have less movement of the breast while it is tender.

Additionally there is concern that if the breast  moves around too much in the early postoperative period that this could cause disruption of the breast pocket or any breast suturing that had occurred or that it may cause friction to increase the chance of hematoma. 

Common sense will keep most patients out of trouble. 

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.