While Healing After a Breast Reduction & Lift, Can I Sleep Without a Surgical Bra?

Can I go a few hours a day without a surgical or sports bra?

Doctor Answers 10

We Recommend: Day and Night, Three Weeks

It’s important to realize that no two patients are ever exactly alike.For this reason, post-operative management following breast reduction surgery varies from patient to patient.
We generally recommend that patients wear a compressive support bra following this procedure.This bra is worn day and night for three weeks.The majority of patients have no difficulty tolerating its use.Patients are then switched to a sports bra for an additional six weeks.At this point patients are allowed to return to a regular bra, but underwire bras are avoided until wound healing is complete.
Although it’s probably reasonable to intermittently remove your compression bra for short periods of time, leaving your bra off for extended periods of time could adversely affect healing.For this reason it’s important to wear a compressive bra at night while sleeping.
Patients who undergo breast reduction surgery can expect swelling and discomfort following this procedure.In an effort to decrease swelling, most surgeons utilize compression garments in the post-operative period.Compression minimizes swelling and decreases post-operative pain.It helps to remodel soft tissue and contributes significantly to the contour improvement seen with this procedure.

Surgical Bra after Breast Reduction Surgery

Thank you for your question.

You should communicate with your surgeon to see what he/she recommends in regards to wearing a post surgical bra after breast reduction surgery.

I recommend that patients wear the surgical bra for 3-4 weeks after surgery. It supplies good support for the patient.  I do let patients know that if they need to take a "little break" from the bra every once in a while, it should be fine.

Best Wishes!

Breast Reduction - Do I Have to Wear My Bra 24/7?

Hi Elanore8,

Each surgeon has his or her own routine so you should, of course, check with your surgeon on this.

I usually recommend that the patient stay in the bra for the first 7-10 days and, in fact, they usually like to since it provides some extra support and a sense of protection.  After that it's more a question of how the patient feels; even then, most women stay in the bra (at least they tell me they do!) for about 3 weeks after the surgery. 

By the second week and certainly the third, if the patient wants to be out of the bra for a few hours it's usually fine.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Wearing a surgical bra after breast reduction

Most surgeons develop their own post-operative protocols, based upon what they have found works well for their patients.  Assuming you have already had the procedure, I would recommend that you follow the recommendations of the surgeon whom you trusted to perform the procedure.  If you have not yet undergone your surgery, review post-operative care and activity recommendations with your surgeon prior to having the procedure performed.

My response to your question/post does not represent formal medical advice or constitute a doctor patient relationship. You should continue to see a board-certified plastic surgeon in order to receive formal evaluations and develop/maintain a doctor patient relationship.

Craig S. Rock, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Post op bra

Every doctor has different post op instructions so you should ask your surgeon what would work for you.
The dressings vary from patient to patient. Some patients may be placed in a sports bra; others will wear a stabilizing elastic support strap. Your doctor will decide after surgery and in subsequent weeks, which dressing will suit your needs

Bras for Breast Reduction

Yes, you can go without the bra for a few hours at a time following breast reduction surgery. Earlier on, I would suggest doing this during the day rather than at night. When you are asleep you have less awareness and control over yourself, and may not realize that you are doing damage.

Hugh McLean, MD
Mississauga Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Bra after breast surgery

How long ago was your surgery? I am wondering why you want to have it off for a few hours since most patients feel more comfortable with it on for support.  I would make sure that it is not rubbing you anyplace that is causing discomfort. I have seen blisters occur because the bra is pinching or too tight in certain areas.  Sometimes you are numb on the outside of the breasts and cannot tell that you are developing a problem.  In sum, take it off to examine your skin and then follow your surgeon's instructions from there. 

Sleeping in a bra following breast reduction

There is considerable variability in recommendations among plastic surgeons on sleeping in a bra following breast reduction surgery. If you have already had your procedure, you should inquire of your operating plastic surgeon.

My recommendation would be to wear a supportive bra for around 3 - 4 weeks though many patients finding that wearing one for a longer period of time is more comfortable physically and mentally. This provides better support of your breasts and may allow for quicker recuperation, quicker reduction in swelling and maybe even better long term scars.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Breast reduction and breast lift compression

My routine is to have someone in a post operative surgica bral full time (24/7) for two weeks and then a sports bra for two more weeks. I think compression cuts down on post operative problems and you end up with a better result.

Jack Peterson, MD
Topeka Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Sleeping after breast surgery

Every doctor is different in what they prescribe post-surgery.  You should really check with your surgeon on what instructions they want you to follow after surgery.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 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.