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 11

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 27 reviews

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 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

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 40 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 69 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.

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 23 reviews

Post surgery bra

thank you for the question.  Bra's after surgery are both for support and compression.  Some doctors don't recommend the wearing of bras and some do since we base it on our experience.  It would be best to follow your surgeon's advice in handling post operation recovery.  Best of luck. Dr. Michael Omidi.

An in-person exam with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to assess your needs and provide true medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Bra choices after surgery

Thank you for your question. My patients will have a surgical bra that I place at the time of surgery. They normally wear this for the first week or two and then transition to a sports bra that opens in the front. This is for both support and compression.  By six weeks, if their implants have sufficiently descended, I let my patients know they can start wearing a normal bra (including a push-up bra). They may still undergo some changes which can change their bra preferences a few months later.

Compression is key, discuss this with your surgeon...

Post-operative bras are utilized in breast augmentation patients for several reasons.In the immediate post-operative period, patients have significant pain and discomfort.These symptoms are often related to the severe swelling that may accompany this procedure.
In an effort to minimize swelling and remodel soft tissue, surgeons often use compression bras following breast augmentation surgery.They believe that compression helps minimize swelling and accelerates the recovery process.Even when they don’t use post-operative bras, they often wrap their patients with a compressive ace wrap dressing.
A loose fitting bra might be more comfortable, but probably won’t help minimize swelling.For this reason, it’s important to discuss this issue with your surgeon before switching bras.

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.