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How to choose the best sports bras and compression bras to wear after breast augmentation surgery

How to choose the best sports bras and compression bras to wear after breast augmentation surgery

Wearing the right bra after breast augmentation surgery will ensure your incisions heal properly and your implants stay in the correct position while you recover. And as your breasts are likely to feel sore and swollen, choosing the right bra will mean you’re as comfortable as possible.

A supportive bra can also help reduce the risk of post-surgery complications such as lymphedema and seromas by applying constant, gentle pressure to your breasts.

Below we look in more depth at your options for bras after breast augmentation.

What’s the best bra to wear after breast augmentation?

Most cosmetic surgeons will recommend wearing:

  • a medical-grade compression bra (or high-impact sports bra) for the first four weeks after surgery
  • a comfortable sports bra for the next few months, after your surgeon has given you the go-ahead to stop wearing a compression bra

These bras fully cover your breasts and provide all the support and comfort you need while they heal.

What features should I look for in a post-breast augmentation bra?

The bra you choose will depend on your personal preference, where your incisions are and what your surgeon recommends. However, the bra should do the following:

  • Support your new breasts and keep your implants in the correct place

Choose a bra with a wide underband (this is the elasticated band at the bottom of a bra) that fits snugly, without riding up at the back.

The cups should fully enclose your breasts and be separated in the middle—there should be enough space between the cups so the centre of the bra sits flat on your chest. This ensures your breasts aren’t pushed together.

Your bra should support your new breasts but not put pressure on them, so if your bra feels too tight, choose a larger size. You can find out more about choosing the right size post-surgery bra below.

  • Be soft, seamless and wireless

Seams and wires can irritate incisions, feel uncomfortable and even prevent your breasts from healing properly.

Choose a bra with a high cotton content as this will be super-soft and allow your skin to breathe. This is important as you’ll need to wear a bra day and night for the first few weeks after having surgery.

  • Fasten at the front so you can easily get your bra on and off

You might find lifting your arms above your head or reaching around your back painful during the first few days or weeks after surgery. A front-fastening bra makes taking your bra on and off as comfortable as possible.

  • Have wide adjustable straps

The size of your breasts will change after surgery as swelling settles down. Bras with fully adjustable straps keep you comfortable during this time.

What size bra will I need after breast augmentation?

As a rule of thumb, for your first post-surgery bra (which you’ll wear after any strapping has been removed) choose:

  • a bra one cup size larger than the size of your implants
  • a band size a size larger than you currently wear—this should allow for any swelling

It can be tricky to know what size bra you’ll need during your recovery as your breasts will not only increase in size due to your implants, but are likely to be swollen for a few weeks after surgery too.

Bra manufacturers use slightly different measurements, so a D cup in Debenhams may be a different size to a Calvin Klein D cup.

Another factor to consider is that breast implant sizes are measured in cubic centimetres (ccs) rather than cup sizes. So while you might want your augmentation to achieve the look of a D cup, you may actually get a DD or a full C, as your surgeon will choose implants that fit the look you want rather than aim for an exact cup size.

You can use this breast augmentation bra size calculator to get a rough idea of the size you’ll need post-surgery. You can read more about choosing the right cup size for your breast augmentation here.

The above advice will give you a good starting point, but you can expect to have to buy a number of different bras as your breasts change shape and size during your recovery.

When can I get fitted for a bra after breast augmentation?

It’s a good idea to wait around six to eight weeks before getting fitted for a new normal bra, rather than a compression or sports bra.

Bear in mind that it can take at least six months for your breasts to settle into their final shape. However, any swelling should settle down a couple of months after surgery as your breasts find their final shape and size.

You’ll probably need to buy a number of new bras over the space of a few months as your breasts continue to change.

It could be six months or more before your final bra fitting. At this point you’ll be able to splash out on new lingerie you can enjoy long-term.

How tight should my bra be after breast augmentation?

The ideal fit for a post-surgery bra should be snug but not tight. The best indicator that your bra fits correctly is that it’s comfortable, and although you might feel some pressure, this isn’t excessive or painful.

Signs that your bra is too tight include:

  • the straps or edges leaving marks on your skin
  • a feeling that it’s cutting off your circulation—in extreme cases this could cause pins and needles
  • the bra band riding up your back
  • your skin bulging out under your armpits or below the underband
  • your breasts spilling out of the top of the cup

Choosing a bra that puts firm pressure on the part of your breasts that was cut open can help to reduce bruising and swelling and speed up your recovery.

You can find out more about what’s normal with pain and swelling after breast augmentation here.

What if the bra I wear after my breast augmentation hurts?

If your bra feels uncomfortable, it could be that it’s the wrong size. Bear in mind that as your breasts continuously change in the first few weeks after surgery, it may take a few attempts to find a bra that fits comfortably.

Check there’s no underwire in your bra as this can rub against incisions and dig into your breasts.

If you’re in a lot of pain, speak to your plastic surgeon for advice on the type of bra they recommend to help ease your discomfort. They may also want to check your incisions to ensure they’re healing 

Can I sleep without a bra after breast augmentation?

Your surgeon will give specific advice for when you can go braless at night, as it will depend on the type of breast surgery you had.

In most cases though, you’ll need to wear a bra to bed for around four to six weeks after having surgery.

What types of bra can I wear after breast augmentation?

Can I wear a strapless bra after breast augmentation?

It’s best to avoid wearing strapless bras in the first few weeks after surgery. They provide little support and can squeeze your breasts together, which can be very uncomfortable, especially if your breasts are tender.

Strapless compression bras are available if you need a strapless bra for a special occasion. Medasun Medical offer a strapless bra that’s designed to provide support, comfort and style.

Can I wear a wireless bra after breast augmentation?

Yes, a wireless sports or compression bra is the best type of bra to wear after breast augmentation surgery. Wired bras can irritate incisions and prevent them from healing, which can prolong your recovery and make the experience more painful than it needs to be.

You’ll be able to wear a wired bra again around eight weeks post-surgery.

When can I wear an underwire bra after breast augmentation?

You’ll need to wait around eight weeks before you can wear an underwired bra after having breast augmentation surgery.

Can I wear a push-up bra after breast augmentation?

You can, but you’ll need to wait until your breasts are fully healed before wearing a push-up or padded bra. This could take around eight weeks or more. Even then, some surgeons recommend that you only wear push-up or padded bras for special occasions and not every day.

Can I wear a maternity bra after breast augmentation?

No, maternity bras won’t offer the support and comfort your breasts require post-surgery.

Should I wear a Thongbra after breast augmentation

A Thongbra is a surgical bra designed to be worn after symmastia surgery—a procedure to correct breast tissue that appears to merge in the space between the breasts, creating a ‘uniboob’.

If you’ve had surgery for symmastia after your breast augmentation, or if your surgeon feels you may be at risk of developing symmastia, they may recommend you wear a Thongbra. You may have to wear a Thongbra for two months after symmastia surgery to ensure your breasts heal properly.

Should I wear a Coobie bra after breast augmentation?

Coobie is a bra brand that specialises in creating comfortable, wireless and seamless bras in a range of colours and styles.

You can wear a Coobie bra after breast augmentation surgery once your surgeon has given you the go-ahead to stop wearing a compression or surgical bra. This should be around a month after your operation.

If you’re unsure whether a bra is appropriate to wear post-surgery, speak to your cosmetic surgeon for advice.

Can I wear a Victoria’s Secret bra after breast augmentation?

Yes, provided it’s a sports bra and you wear it for the first eight weeks after your breast augmentation operation. The Victoria’s Secret Incredible Knockout Ultra Max Bra is a good choice as it offers maximum support and comfort and features a zip front.

Although sports bras from Victoria’s Secret are stylish, they’re also expensive, so you may not want to buy too many if your breasts haven’t settled into their permanent size yet.

Victoria’s Secret offer a bra-fitting service, so you can be measured for your exact fit once you’re ready to start the fun part of breast augmentation—buying pretty new lingerie.

What are the best bras to wear for exercising after breast augmentation?

As with normal bras, make sure you have a proper fitting for a sports or swimming bra before you resume your exercise routine.

The best bras for running and high impact exercise after breast augmentation

When you feel ready to exercise again and you’ve had the all-clear from your cosmetic surgeon, you’ll need to invest in a sports bra that will support your new breasts.

Look for a design that includes:

  • moulded cups—these will fully support each breast
  • a wide underband
  • adjustable shoulder straps
  • a fastening that makes it easy to get on and off—front-fastening sports bras are ideal

A well-fitted, supportive sports bra will hold your new breasts in position and protect the ligaments and tendons from any excess movement.

It’s best to avoid underwired sports bras until at least eight weeks after your operation. Underwired sports bras can be uncomfortable, so supportive, wireless bras are a better option for your workout.

M&S offer an extra-high-impact non-wired sports bra designed specifically to support women who’ve had breast augmentation.

Decathlon stock the supportive DOMYOS cardio bra with a zip front and adjustable straps for just £14.99.

The best bras for swimming after breast augmentation

You should be able to go swimming around two weeks after having surgery. However, before you do, speak to your surgeon and listen to your body to ensure you’re ready to start swimming again and that your wounds have sufficiently healed.

Your new breasts will need support, even when you’re in the pool. The following tips should help you choose the right swimwear for your post-surgery swimming sessions:

Do choose:

  • styles with proper straps and clasps or zips, rather than swimwear with ties, such as string bikinis
  • halter-neck tops with clasp fastenings—these are a stylish way to give your breasts support at the back and on the shoulders
  • tankini tops—these provide extra coverage and are extremely comfortable, but make sure you choose a style with thick straps and built-in cups, rather than a bandeau style

Don’t choose:

  • bandeau-style tops as these will squeeze your breasts together without offering much support
  • underwire swimwear—if your wounds aren’t completely healed, the wire can irritate incisions

Freya’s Back to Black Crop Bikini Top offers full coverage and support from the sturdy back clasp and high neck. It’s underwired, so make sure your wounds are fully healed before trying out this bikini top.

Figleaves have designed their non-wired Rene bikini top with moulding and padding to provide comfortable support in a stylish design.

Where’s the best place to buy a breast augmentation bra?

Most high-street and online retailers sell sports bras suitable for wearing after breast augmentation surgery. Below are some of the best options:

High-street retailers

Online retailers

Specialist compression garment retailers

If you’re unsure what bra to wear or whether you’re wearing the correct size bra, speak to your surgeon for advice.

For more information on choosing the right cup size for your breast augmentation click here.

You can read detailed information about breast augmentation, including what it is, types of surgery and which method is right for you here.

You can learn more about having a breast augmentation with Stephen McCulley here, or contact us.