If you are about to undergo or have recently had a mastectomy, you’re probably searching for items that will help bring comfort and a speedy recovery. Luckily, there are several seemingly small mastectomy products out there that can make life a lot easier as your body heals. One of these items that many women swear by is a mastectomy pillow.
But what is a mastectomy pillow and what exactly does it do? Here’s everything you need to know about finding the right post-surgery pillow for you!
What is the purpose of a mastectomy pillow?
Mastectomy pillows aren’t just your normal bedside pillow— they are specially designed to accommodate women who have just had major breast surgery.
They might come in different shapes and sizes, but you’ll find that most breast surgery pillows serve several purposes:
- They keep pressure off of your incisions. A small pillow can help prop your arm(s) up and keep pressure off of your chest.
- They keep you comfortable while driving or riding in a car. Seat belts tend to dig into the tender surgical site across your chest. A small mastectomy pillow makes a great buffer between your incision and the seat belt on the way home from the hospital.
- They can prop you up if sitting in a chair without support or a bed that is too flat. Pillows are great to have around in case you find yourself in an uncomfortable sitting or lying position.
Protecting your incisions and ensuring that you aren’t straining your surgical area is key to a speedy recovery, and these pillows help do just that!
How to Use a Mastectomy Pillow
You’ll find all sorts of mastectomy and breast cancer pillows out there. Some are better fit for certain situations than others, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to stock up a few different ones to fit every occasion.
Even after your doctor gives you the okay to sleep on your side, you may still experience some discomfort or soreness. Placing a small rectangular pillow between your breasts can give you extra support and relieve pressure on your muscles.
After your surgery, your underarm area will likely be sore for weeks. A small pillow can help prop your arm up and away from tender areas and lymph node incisions.
For those who have had double mastectomies, it can be helpful to have a larger mastectomy arm pillow at home. These go across your chest and have cutouts to fit under each armpit.
Your upper body isn’t the only thing that you’ll need to worry about keeping comfy. Placing a pillow between your knees while you sleep on your side will help align your hips and keep your back pain-free while you sleep. It also encourages blood flow and can help prevent blood clots from forming.
Doing small things like this to help you fall asleep and stay asleep is crucial to your healing. Remember— rest is of utmost importance in any recovery!
Lower Back Pillow
Similar to the knee pillow, placing a small, firm pillow behind your lower back can offer lumbar support and help relieve any tension in those muscles.
U-shaped neck pillows are great to have around the house or when you plan on going for a day of doctor’s appointments. You never know when or where you might need to take a little snooze, and a neck pillow can bring you a bit of comfort and neck support anywhere.
It will be difficult to sit up from a flat position in bed. To help with this, you may want to invest in a firm wedge pillow, which will prop you up at an incline while in bed without dealing with lumpy bed pillows shifting around. This can make getting up from naps and rest a whole lot easier.
Where can you find mastectomy pillows?
Mastectomy and other post-surgery pillows can be found on many online stores, including here at Brobe!
We offer The Comfort Pillow, which is small, lightweight, and great for on-the-go or around the house. It’s small enough to fit in a tote bag but big enough to bring comfort and extra padding when you need it most.
One thing that sets the Comfort Pillow apart from the average throw pillow is the built-in pocket, which can hold a gel cooling and heating pack. Using warm compresses or ice packs can reduce swelling and lessen pain, helping you heal quicker and feel better.
Of course, always be sure to talk to your doctor or surgeon before using ice or heat around your surgical area. Even if they recommend keeping ice packs away from your surgical area, you can benefit from the cooling relief it brings if you are experiencing hot flashes, as many women do after a breast cancer treatment.
Other Mastectomy Recovery Must-Haves
The right pillow is a must-have for mastectomy recovery, but it isn’t the only thing you’ll need to make sure you have. Here are a few other items you’ll want to pick up or order before your surgery date.
Ensuring you have these mastectomy products beforehand will make life easier for you when you get home.
If you are purchasing for a loved one, all of these also make great gifts for breast cancer patients or gifts for surgery. Even if your friend or family member already has one of these items, it doesn’t hurt to have another on hand! For instance, having more than one robe allows you to wear one while the other is in the wash, ensuring that you always feel fresh and clean.
A mastectomy pillow is a small thing that can go a long way in terms of comfort as you heal from a mastectomy. Before you go in for surgery, make sure to get a pillow that will give you that extra support when you need it most!