Wearing an Underwire Bra After Breast Reduction Surgery

A common question that I am often asked by women who are considering a breast reduction or have already undergone surgery is “When can I start wearing an underwire bra?” Some are under the impression that they are not supposed to wear one at all following surgery whereas others have heard varied recommendations as to when they can start wearing one. This can be quite confusing.

Woman in Black Bra

What Is the Right Answer?

In reality, there is not one absolute, definitive answer. One of the reasons for this is that there are no evidence-based studies in medical literature that identify a specific period of time that is better than any other to start wearing an underwire bra again. Consequently, each plastic surgeon determines his or her own protocol based on a variety of factors including the experiences of their patients. Some may recommend waiting at least one to two months, whereas others may suggest somewhat longer.

Protocol for Wearing an Underwire Bra Following Breast Reduction Surgery

Upon removal of their operative dressing a few days after surgery, my patients are placed in a sports-type bra that they will wear day and night for at least two to three weeks. After this, they can either continue wearing this as long as they like or switch to any comfortable, supportive bra that they like, including an underwire bra. They should wear it as much as possible, though they don’t have to sleep in it. The purpose is to help to maintain the improved shape of their breasts for a longer period of time by counteracting, to some extent, the relentless forces of gravity.

When shopping for your post-surgery bras, you’ll want to look for ones that:

  • Are “breathable”
  • Have adjustable straps
  • Do not rub or place a lot of pressure on your incision sites

You may find that the size of your breasts will change to some extent during your recovery. This is caused by swelling and is completely normal. Consequently, you may want to hold off on buying a lot of bras early on until you are further along in the healing process where your breasts are fairly close to their ultimate size and shape.

Woman in Support Bra

With normal postoperative healing, the incision along the crease at the bottom of the breast will be inflamed and even tender for several months. During this period of time, an underwire bra may be somewhat uncomfortable to wear. As a result, most patients will often wait at least three to six months before wearing one on a regular basis. Once your incision scars are healed, you will be able to wear any bra you wish, as long as it provides support.

For more information about breast reduction surgery or to schedule your free consultation, please call our office at (480) 451-3000 or fill out our online contact form.