Breast augmentation is the most common plastic surgery procedure performed each year in the USA. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, approximately 300,000 patients underwent augmentation mammaplasty in 2017, a 40% increase since 2000.
During my consultation with patients who are considering breast augmentation, most women request information about the selection of a bra following surgery. Women intrinsically understand that no standardization for bra size,in particular cup size, exists in the fashion industry. Women remark that they may be “sized” a C cup by one department store only to discover another retailer sizes them differently, perhaps as a B or even D cup.
The same holds true for women who seek breast augmentation. No ethical surgeon can guarantee cup size. Instead, I rely on the use of sizers and photography at the time of consultation.
My nurse and I alleviate our patients’ concerns about bra selection since the initial bra placed immediately following surgery is fitted at the time of the preoperative visit. The postoperative bra is comfortable, easy to remove and reapply during the healing process. It typically fastens in the front, has adjustable straps,and is washable. This garment works well for the one week following surgery. We encourage patients to use a sports bra after a week that soft, fastens in the front, and has no underwire. Our patients should wear this bra during the daytime and while sleeping as much as possible.
We recommend delaying bra shopping until at least 6 weeks flowing surgery as the surgical sites need to heal properly. In addition, breast implants take at least 6 weeks to drop and settle completely and for postoperative swelling to subside.
Bras with underwire support should be avoided until at least 6 weeks following surgery. If the breast implants are still settling then we delay underwire support until the implant position is ideal and stable. The underwires should be soft and supportive but not constricting. We also encourage patients to bring in their bras for us to examine if they are uncertain as to the fit.