In many ways, bra fitting for women with implants is the same as without, but there are a few important differences, and a fair amount of confusing advice. Having placed thousands of implants over the years, it’s a subject I have thought about a lot. When I was working on early designs and materials for the internal bra, I even went so far as to visit the famed Poupie Cadolle, whose family has been in the business since the 1800’s and patented the first bra. (I have also sought advice from my staff and patients.)
The first thing to know is that there is no single bra design that is best for every woman and none that is best for any woman all of the time, whether you have implants or not. But most women with implants should wear a bra most of the time, to minimize bouncing, nipple show, and other issues. Adhesive (sticky) bras offer less support but are better than nothing for circumstances when you want to go strapless. Although augmented breasts are not heavier than
natural breasts of the same size, a least for silicone implants, you will want to support them most of the time. The more physically active you are, the more support you will need.
When to go bra shopping after breast augmentation
Surgeons vary in their advice on this, and it will depend on whether additional procedures such as a breast lift were done. For most routine breast augmentations we suggest no sooner than 3 weeks. You will be wearing a post-surgical bra until then.
Where to shop for bras (and where not to)
The important thing here is to get professionally fitted by someone who can offer a range of styles. This is usually a department store such as Nordstroms. Focus on comfort and don’t get hung up on cup size. Take the advice of the experts but recognize that no one knows your body like you do. Just because it’s tight doesn’t mean it’s right.
How the bra should fit
Avoid push up bras that displace the implants upwards or closer together, unless you have been specifically advised otherwise. This can lead to expansion of the implant pocket, resulting in too much movement with position change or activity. The curve of the underwire should match the bottom edge of the breast (inframammary fold).
What features to look for in a bra
Most of the time we suggest a bra with an underwire, but it should be shorter and a bit flexible if possible. The lower part of the breast pocket is generally thinner, so supporting the inframammary fold can minimize bottoming out. Cadolle recommends avoiding bras with elastic on the upper outer part of the cup, as this may contribute to the roll of skin that many women have there. I suggest a wide band, so the similar bra roll doesn’t form across the back.
Should you sleep in a bra?
I can’t prove it, but I believe that a habit of sleeping in a bra can minimize problems such as implants bottoming out or falling to the side when lying down (when not wearing a bra.) Your nighttime bra does not need to be as tight or have an underwire. I offer this as helpful advice, realizing that if someone doesn’t like sleeping in a bra they won’t. But maybe think of it as protecting the long term investment you have made in having beautiful breasts.