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How To Measure Bra Size After A Mastectomy

Here's a really useful guide on how to measure for bra size after a mastectomy.

Belle Lingerie21 March 2024

How To Measure Bra Size After A Mastectomy

Lots of things can feel different after having a mastectomy, and one thing you might be curious about is what kind of bra you can wear afterwards. Your healthcare team will likely be able to answer any questions you may have from a medical standpoint, but it’s also worth knowing about the types of post-surgery bras available that will keep you as comfortable as possible while you heal. 

You may already know that it’s important to measure yourself before buying a new bra so you can be sure you get the right size - but is that also true for mastectomy bras?

How to measure for a mastectomy bra

Getting the right bra size is just as important following a mastectomy as it is at any other time - if not more so! A bra that’s too tight could cause undue irritation or discomfort, while one that’s too loose could fail to give you the support you need. How you measure your new size will differ slightly depending on your situation. 

Measuring for a mastectomy bra after breast reconstruction

If you’ve had breast reconstruction surgery or breast implants fitted after a mastectomy, then it’s a good idea to wait until you have the green light from your surgeon before measuring for a new bra. This will help to avoid any complications that might arise if you were to measure your new size or wear a bra before it’s medically advisable to do so. 

Once you’ve recovered enough to do it, you should be able to measure your bra size as normal. However, it’s worth noting that you may still prefer a post-surgery bra for some time after your surgery, as these are designed to be the most comfortable during post-op recovery.

Measuring for a new bra after a single mastectomy

If you’ve had a single mastectomy, just one of your breasts was affected. The process of measuring your new bra size begins the same way - finding your band size by measuring around your chest just underneath the remaining breast tissue. 

Next, it’s time to measure your bust. Keeping your tape measure in line with the fullest part of your breast, measure from your sternum at the centre of the front of your chest, round to your spine at the back - essentially measuring half the circumference of your chest. Then multiply that figure by two to get the full bust size measurement and compare that to your band size. If it’s one inch larger, you’ll need an A cup; 2 inches larger and you’ll need a B cup; 3 inches larger and you’ll need a C cup, and so on.

This tells you the cup size you need to get for your remaining breast. You can then opt to get a breast form prosthesis which sits in the pocket of your mastectomy bra to replace the lost tissue if you wish.

Measuring your bra size after a double mastectomy

If you’ve had a double mastectomy, then start by measuring your band size once you’ve recovered enough to do so. Next, you have a choice. If you intend to wear breast forms, then there’s no need to measure your bust for cup size, as you’ll decide that when deciding which size of breast forms you want. 

However, if you’d rather not use breast forms and want to embrace your new natural size, then it’s a good idea to measure your bust size so you can get a bra that isn’t too small or too big, leaving the cups gaping. If this is the case, you’ll need to measure your bust all the way around your chest, round it up to a whole number of inches, and then compare it to your band size as described above.

Do you have to wear a bra after a mastectomy?

While you are recovering from your surgery, the best thing to do is to follow your healthcare team’s advice when it comes to what kind of bra to wear. They may recommend a post-surgery bra to limit irritation and support remaining tissue, or they may give you guidelines on how long you should wait before wearing certain types of bras. 

Once you’ve healed - which may take as long as a year - it’s likely you’ll be able to wear any bra you like. This includes non-mastectomy bras, but it’s worth knowing that if you intend to wear breast forms to replace lost tissue, this is more easily done with mastectomy bras that have purpose-built pockets to hold the breast forms in place. 

If you wish, you can wear no bra at all - it’s completely up to you. Many women feel more comfortable with the support a bra offers, but you might find your preferences change after a mastectomy. Whatever the case, you’re free to make the choice that best suits you.

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