Pros and Cons of Surgical Bra Vs. Sports Bra After Breast Augmentation?

Is it safe to wear a sports bra while recovering from breast augmentation surgery, or is a surgical bra better? Does it depend on each person?

Doctor Answers 19

Pros and Cons of Surgical Bra Vs. Sports Bra After Breast Augmentation?

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Congratulations on having undergone the breast augmentation procedure. The question  regarding the use of bras is quite common on this website;  there is no “standard” when it comes to the use of specific bras or garments after breast surgery. In other words, different plastic surgeons may have different practices when it comes to postoperative dressings/bras. Therefore, best to check with your plastic surgeon.   For example, in my practice, patients wake up with a surgical bra in place.  This surgical bra,  although not attractive, is supportive and used for about one month after surgery ( Some of my patients have been known to burn the bra ASAP). Then, patient's transition to a soft sports bra for about 3 months. Wired bras are used when breast implants have reached their “final position” and patients have full sensation along the breast skin.   Best wishes; hopefully, you will be very pleased with the longer-term outcome of the procedure performed.

Surgical bra vs sports bra

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Surgical bras tend to have more support while sports bras tend to be more elastic (and less supportive).   In my practice a sports bra is just fine 90% of the time.  Only when I want very precise support is a surgical bra essential.  When revisions are done and implants must sit exactly as I want them to sit, a surgical bra is essential.


Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 521 reviews

Surgical Bras or Sport Bras - What Works Better Following Breast Augmentation

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In the vast majority of patients, we don’t use a bra strap or surgical bra in the postoperative period. There are exceptions, but these are rare. In most cases, we place our patients in a compressive ace wrap dressing which applies mild pressure to the area. This helps minimize swelling and makes patients more comfortable. It also decreases the potential for displacement of the new breast implants within the newly formed breast pocket.

When we perform submuscular augmentation, we feel that the ace wrap dressing helps to prevent superior displacement of the breast implants. This can occur with spasm of the pectoralis muscles and result in loss of the inferior breast pocket expansion. When superior displacement of implants occurs, a bra strap may be indicated.

The vast majority of patients are switched to a sports bra one week after surgery. They wear this bra for about six weeks and in most cases are able to switch to an underwire bra at that time.

It’s important to realize that every patient’s situation is unique. For this reason the management of compression garments needs to be individualized.

Ak the surgeon

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I actually prefer that the patients wear no bra for 1 month after surgery.  This will depend completely on the surgeon's experience.  Fit yourself into their system, it is what works for them.

Breast Augmentation

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I prefer a sports bra for the 1st 2 weeks as I commonly use the incision under the breast.  I like the ones with no formed cup as they support the breast but do not rub on the incisions.  After 2 weeks when the wounds are healed any other bras are fine.  I hope this info helps.

Ronald H. Stefani Jr, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Sports bra or surgical bra

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You ask a great question. First I would advise you to follow the recommendation of your plastic surgeon. In my practice I generally suggest my patients purchase a few sports bras which a much less expensive than a surgical bra. 

Francis X. Fleming, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Surgical Bra VS Sports Bra After Breast Augmentation

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In my opinion it really doesn't matter which one you initially wear after surgery because the implants are usually high.  Once the implants have dropped into position you do need a good support bra so that they don't drop too low. 

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

Surgical Bra and Sports Bra After Surgery Are Similar, but May Not Be the Same

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Surgery bras or compression bras generally are latex free, generate a lot of compression, and have adjustable shoulder straps and back straps.  The adjustability is very important, because as your swelling goes down with time, your surgical bra can accomodate the slight shrinkage of your breasts over the first couple of weeks after surgery. 


Sports bras generate OK to very good compression.  However, not all of them are latex free, so may cause a skin rash if you wear them for long periods of time.  They often do not have any adjustable shoulder straps or back straps, so as your swelling goes down, it may become a little loose.  One strategy is to buy a sports bra that fits right after surgery, with the knowledge that you may have to buy a better fitting sports bra several weeks after your procedure. 


In the end, the choice is yours, but most plastic surgeons will consider a sports bra part of the procedure.  This way, you know you will get a garment that fits you after your breast augmentation.


Best Wishes,


Roy Kim, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Surgery bra or sports bra after Breast surgery.

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Essentially they are interchangeable.  I find a sports bra provides greater compression if it fits properly, but a surgical bra is easier for the 1st week or 2 after surgery.

Beverly Friedlander, MD
Short Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Surgical Bra Vs. Sports Bra after Breast Augmentation?

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I don't think it really matters whether patients wear a surgical bra or a sports bra after breast augmentation. A surgical bra that opens in the front is easier to put on that a sports bra that you would pull over your head. Many sports bras today will have a zipper closure in the front and this makes it easy to put on. A lot of women will say that the sports bras look better than the surgical bras. As long as women do not wear underwire bras for the first few weeks, then using a surgical bra or sports bra does not seem to make a difference. 

Stanley Castor, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 129 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.