Lingerie Options for Mastectomy Patients

Hello Everyone,

Mastectomy lingerie is, admittedly, an area where I lack expertise.  I have worked with women who have had reconstruction, but women needing to wear prostheses are often recommended to other retailers who offer superior advice and a better selection.  As we continue to expand the shop and pursue new opportunities, mastectomy fittings and lingerie may be avenue where I explore additional training to better serve the needs of all of our customers.  Nevertheless, I did have a chance to post a blog written by a Allison Goodlin which details some fantastic tips and tricks to feeling confident and coming to terms with body acceptance through lingerie after a mastectomy.  Anyone who has other advice to add, please feel free to comment, and if any women have needed a mastectomy (single or double) and wish to write about your experience here, I would love to post it.  Have a great day, everyone!

Erica

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Your body is beautiful, and a mastectomy doesn’t change that. For many women that have undergone either a single or a double mastectomy, finding lingerie options that flatter their new look can be difficult. The scars that remain after breast cancer surgery are a constant reminder of their struggle, and many women fight daily to feel like themselves again. Finding the right lingerie can help you rebuild your confidence after mastectomy.

Anita Care Paris Mastectomy Bra
Anita Care Paris Mastectomy Bra

Although finding lingerie for your post- mastectomy body may be more difficult, it is possible. There are many gorgeous and flattering options for women after a mastectomy. Fighting breast cancer doesn’t mean you can’t love your body, even if it is different than the body you remember.

Analyze Your Concerns

Every mastectomy is different, and each woman will have different areas of concern they want to camouflage when choosing lingerie. Before you even start shopping carefully analyze your body, looking for areas that you want to cover and expose.  Do you have a chemo port that needs coverage? Where are your scars located? Is complete coverage of your scars important to you? Have you undergone reconstruction? Are you using breast forms? When you know what you need out of your lingerie, finding it is a lot easier.

Shop Around

Before your mastectomy finding lingerie probably involved a trip to the mall. After breast removal surgery you may need to shop at more specialized retailers. Don’t buy the first piece you see; shop around until you find lingerie that you love. Don’t be afraid to try pieces on and return things that don’t work. 

Different, but Always Beautiful

It isn’t just the breasts that make a woman’s body beautiful. While your breasts will look and feel different after breast cancer surgery, you still have many stunning features to accentuate. While you adjust to (and learn to love) your new breasts, focus on the other parts of your body that make you feel beautiful. If you’ve always loved your shoulders, show them off. If you’ve got a great bottom, flaunt it. By showcasing your favorite features you feel more confident every time you look in the mirror. You are more than your breasts; love all of you.  

DiMurini Rowena Red Pocketed Babydoll, Available here
DiMurini Rowena Red Pocketed Babydoll, Available here

Some Options to Consider

Finding retailers that carry post-mastectomy shapewear, sleepwear, and lingerie can be difficult, but don’t get discouraged. There are options available, especially if you’re willing to use a little creativity.

  • Choose a Pocketed Bra from a Traditional or Specialized Retailer– The easiest option for finding post-mastectomy everyday lingerie is to choose a specially designed bra from a manufacturer that offers pocketed bras. Anita makes some great ones you’ll want to check out. The special pockets sewn into these bras allow women to wear custom forms that mimic the shape and feel of the natural breast.
  • Alter Traditional Lingerie– If you’re having trouble finding quality mastectomy bras and shapewear, you may be able to modify some conventional pieces to fit your needs. For this to work you’ll need a full coverage bra that fits properly (find a professional fitter if you need help with sizing) and stretch fabric (swimsuit fabric works well). This solution is ideal if you want to add a pocket into a conventional bra to accommodate a breast prosthesis.
  • Reconstruction is an Option- Only 42% of women undergoing a mastectomy opt for breast reconstruction. While the choice whether to reconstruct or not is a highly individualized choice, it is important that women making it have the facts. Dr. Reza Momeni, FACS*, a renowned board certified, New Jersey plastic surgeon explains, “Some post-mastectomy patients have told me that they choose to skip breast reconstruction due to worries about the use of breast implants. While breast implants are an option, women should know that they aren’t the only reconstruction option available. If you’re interested in breast reconstruction, but have a few concerns, make sure you talk with a plastic surgeon before making your final decision. Women fighting cancer are strong and deserve to make an empowered, educated choice about their post-surgical look.” Some women find that reconstruction makes choosing post-mastectomy lingerie easier.
  • For More Intimate Moments– Right after a mastectomy you might not be ready to shop for sexy lingerie. It can take time to adjust to your new body and look. Give yourself time to heal both physically and emotionally before you worry about shopping for more intimate pieces. When the time does come, be patient with yourself. You may find that mixing and matching is necessary. A conventional thong and garter set may be able to pair with a mastectomy bra for a flattering post-mastectomy bedroom look.
  • Do What Makes You Comfortable– Not all women love their new look after cancer, but some women do choose to embrace it. Women who have undergone a single mastectomy and are comfortable with their new body might be comfortable wearing lingerie that shows the sexier side of a single mastectomy. While designers for the Monokini 2.0 project showcase swimwear possibilities for post-mastectomy patients, they boldly show that women with one breast don’t have to cover everything up if they’re comfortable showing off their new bodies. Be bold, be conservative, be whatever you like. The most important thing is that you learn to love yourself once again.

While a mastectomy does change the way your body looks, it doesn’t have to change how you feel about yourself.

~Allison

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Allison Goodlin is a professional writer, who enjoys writing about health, beauty tips, and skin care. She has written for several beauty blogs and fashion publications, but has recently found an interest in the plastic surgery industry. After watching her aunt overcome breast cancer, Allison has focused her research on breast surgeries, with emphasis on patient lifestyle after breast augmentation, breast lifts and especially breast reconstruction for cancer patients. She is dedicated to informing seasoned and future patients on the how-to’s after breast surgery. She truly feels that each patient should experience the excitement of purchasing lingerie once your new look has finally healed and with the experienced surgical advice, patients will be equipped with the information to enjoy their buying experience.

* Feel free to contact Dr. Reza Momeni, FACS, a board certified plastic surgeon in New Jersey that has extensive experience with cancer reconstruction with any questions you may have.

Lingerie Options for Mastectomy Patients
Erica
Erica is a lover all things lingerie and is passionate about helping people find the bra which fits and flatters. Side passions include reading, writing, hiking, dairy-free food, walking her Jack Russell terrorists, and dying her hair everything from black to red.

6 thoughts on “Lingerie Options for Mastectomy Patients

  • September 24, 2014 at 5:01 am
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    Thank you for this post, Erica, it is really helpful. I am a big fan of your blog as a 30 h Cleo fan but I have just had 18 months treatment for breast cancer and am feeling lopsided and rather unlovely these days so this was great. Even in the Uk it is hard to find good post surgery options in my size. Best wishes to you and your family

    Reply
    • Erica
      September 24, 2014 at 11:21 am
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      Hi Jan! I’m glad you found Allison’s post helpful. 🙂 I thought there were some great pieces of advice in there, and I was happy to have her post it here. I think the post-surgical market is definitely expanding more, but with insurance only covering so much and then a lack of awareness of the market, I know the options are still too limited. It’d be great to see more lines catering to the mastectomy or even lumpectomy customer who wants to feel confident and sexy too. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  • March 22, 2018 at 6:05 am
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    What a disgusting Joke do you really think that bra can be worn by a mastectomy victim? Were is the sexy lingerie I am searching for this is page four and I’m done. This is absolute crap. do you know about scaring do you know that a woman wants to wear something pretty. Do you understand anything? No you don’t after reading this non sense.

    Reply
    • Erica
      March 23, 2018 at 1:56 pm
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      Hi Tara! This was a guest post from almost four years ago. A lot of development has happened in mastectomy industry since then, including new start-ups, broader selection from existing manufacturers, and general design improvements. The article was meant to be a jumping off point for mastectomy patients looking for ideas, not a comprehensive guide. Consider looking up companies like this one whose sole focus is mastectomy: https://www.anaono.com/ She has some very cute stuff available and is a breast cancer survivor herself.

      Reply
  • June 21, 2019 at 11:47 pm
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    Where are the pretty nightgowns for mastectomy patients? I had both breasts removed in the late 1980s and ever since then have been hunting for some really pretty nightgowns and negligees. I have not found one store that sells this type of nightie so we can feel sexy again too. They will say they sell lingerie but they only sell bras or underwear.
    So far I haven’t found one store that sells pretty mastectomy nighties and I have looked a long time.

    Reply
    • Erica
      July 18, 2019 at 4:19 am
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      Hi Kathy! Could you be more specific as far what you are looking for? Do you want them to have built-in bust support or places for pads/prostheses? Perhaps one of our readers would know some other ideas for you.

      Reply

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