One of the first things I learned about Bra Fitting after I had a bilateral lumpectomy followed by bilateral mastectomy and numerous other breast surgeries was that Plastic Surgeons prefer to fit patients by Bra band size vs cup size.
I never could figure out why that was especially since many patients up-size their cup size once they undergo breast reconstructive surgery in many cases but not everyone. No matter if you choose saline or gummy bear implants for breast reconstructive surgery or undergo another form of breast surgery, what seems most relevant to physicians continues to be to fit patients by Bra band size (preferably offered in Small, Medium, Large, XL, 2XL, etc.) vs various cup sizes. Keeping options simple yet accommodating.
What I’ve learned over the years after many breast surgeries and directly from my Plastic Surgeons is that;
Less is better. Less options pre-surgically for healthcare organizations yields less expense and inventory overall.
Inventory. Hospitals cannot stock a variety of styles in-house. By eliminating styles, colors, sizes, it allows healthcare organizations to carry the minimal requirement pre-surgery.
Fashion is not their passion. Quality in patient care is.
Sizing. Unlike our traditional wire and non-wire bras offered in sizes 28/30A - 50H++ you can just imagine how many SKUs this means for healthcare organizations to carry. By scaling down to 5 or 6 Band sizes offered in S - 3XL in general, this allows many organizations to carry a limited inventory at reasonable costs.
Band sizing. Typically a size Small Bra is best fitted for 30/32 band size. Medium fits 34/36, etc. (see chart).
Production. By eliminating so many SKUs, as a manufacturer, you are able to save a great deal on production costs and time.
Color. Color style options have not been presented to patients - typically “White” has been the norm in post-surgical Bras as the standard used in most hospitals where physicians consider this to be most “sterile” and can best see if the Bra is getting soiled post drainage. If they were black or another color, it would not be as obvious for your healthcare staff to tell. I personally would like to see a few shades of Blush or Nude introduced so patients may recover in style and to match their skin tone. I was constantly returning to the workplace trying to hide this ugly utilitarian white Bra.
Brands. Usually only one brand is stocked by most healthcare organizations, and in fact, most carry none at all. They leave it up to their medical supplier. But leave it to the Brand experts to best fit you so your Bra does not ride up or serve the wrong purpose.
Distribution Channels. Post-surgical Bras are typically stocked by a Medical Supply Company or Surgical Supplier just like they do with Breast implants. They are most-likely couriered to the hospital pre-surgery.
From my experience, my Plastic Surgeon(s) had two sets of implants on hand (in case a complication occurred during the breast reconstructive surgeries) and only two size Bra options on-hand. The hospitals limited the inventory due to overall expense or as they explained to me, they could not afford to stock ‘million dollar boobies and bras’.
Today, we are well aware there are many options on the market with Bras and Boobs (breast implants) that serve different purposes. My suggestion is that Hospitals offer 1 - 3 Brands serving the specific needs of their patients. Listed below are many forms of Breast surgeries that may require different types of Bras which require unique Bra fitting for specific surgical procedures. Hence, one style does not fit all;
Single or bilateral Lumpectomy Augmentative Breast Surgery
Single or bilateral Mastectomy Fat Grafting Breast Surgery
Diep Flap Reconstructive Surgery Radiation Therapy
Nipple/Skin Sparing Reconstructive Surgery Mammosite Therapy
And the list goes on. . .
All of these surgeries may require different apparatus too - basically, tubes, drains and incisions whereby the need to be fit in attractive, comfortable, practical Bras that serve a surgical purpose. This is not a “One Style Fits All” business. Let’s educate our Healthcare organizations and seed the market with improved post-surgical undergarments made just for you!
That’s what I had in mind when I designed the CrisscrossIntimates.com Collection. Learn how you can be an educated supporter and offer advice to other breast patients who may endure a similar experience. Purchase your preferred Crisscross Bra and bring it with you or a family member to your next pre-surgical visit. Request they fit you in the Bra Day 1 Post-Op. The Nina and Grace (Plus size) Reconstructive Bras will hold your medical drains discretely near your breasts or at your sides comfortably, and you can choose from over 10 colors with matching panties and from a variety of contour leggings to recover in style.
We are all about Feel Confident, Look Beautiful day one and beyond when you leave the OR room, for any stage or phase of post-op breast surgery. So look amazing and feel good wearing our Brand. Share and LIKE this article. We’d love to hear about your post-surgical Bra experience. Write us back.
Wishing you all the breast!
Jean Criss is a Survivor, Designer and Founder of Crisscross Intimates and Mediapreneur with over 30 years experience. She is a certified Bra Fitter and has various Breast Cancer Accreditations and Certifications in her field. You can reach Jean at firstname.lastname@example.org and preview her line in the news at CrisscrossIntimates.com/Press and the collection at CrisscrossIntimates.com/LookBook. Shop the Collection at CrisscrossIntimates.com also on Amazon.