When recovering from a mastectomy, it's likely that you'll be sore and have limited mobility, which can make ordinarily simple tasks a real challenge. Your restricted range of motion will make it difficult to do everyday things like putting on clothes. The good thing is, this inconvenience won't last forever! But while you’re in recovery, it’s important to wear the right things to avoid unnecessary strain.
Before you go in for your surgery, take an inventory of the clothes you have and what you may need to be comfortable after the procedure. Getting everything together beforehand will save you the hassle of having to go out and purchase items after your procedure. To help you out, we've rounded up some of the best items to wear while you're recovering from a mastectomy.
9 Things to Wear After a Mastectomy
Here are nine things you'll want to be sure to have in your closet before undergoing a mastectomy.
1. Button-down tops and dresses
This is an option that you may already have a few of in your closet. After a mastectomy, doctors recommend that you should avoid lifting your arms higher than chest level. Tops that button down the front and don't have to be pulled over the head allow you to dress without raising your arms. These types of garments will certainly come in handy while you're trying to keep your arms low.
For an even easier outfit, check out button-down shirtdresses. These are essentially shirt-length dresses that button the entire way down. They’re trendy, easy to put on, and eliminate the need for pants. It’s a win-win!
2. The Recovery Robe
Whether you're hanging out at home or making your way to follow-up appointments, you'll want to be comfortable. The Brobe's Recovery Robe has features made for mastectomy patients based on feedback and requests from women who have had the surgery. While normal robes are also a good option, the Recovery Robe has special features like pockets inside the garment that hold post-operative drains and ¾ sleeves that allow for easy IV access.
3. Anything you can step into
Tanks with a built-in bra shelf, flowy dresses, strapless pieces— these are all great options when you're dealing with limited mobility but need a break from the button-down styles. Get creative as you find solutions to situations, you might just discover some new styles to love.
4. Front closure bras
While your chest is recovering, you'll need to keep a certain level of compression on the incisions at all times. However, putting on a traditional back-clasp bra can be nearly impossible. This is why a front closure bra is a must. This one provides plenty of support and even has pockets for ice packs to help with muscle soreness post-op.
5. Wrap dresses
Just because you're recovering from surgery doesn't mean you won't want to get out of the house every now and then— with your doctor's permission, of course! Wrap dresses are a great, easy-wear option when lifting your arms is out of the question but you still want to look a little dressed up.
6. Surgical drain belts
Any outfit can be made into a post-op friendly piece with the right tools. Try utilizing a surgical drain belt to keep JP drains under wraps while you rock your favorite usual pieces. A drain belt will keep your drains in place and prevent them from tugging or pulling out.
7. Comfortable pants
Similar to how you want to wear something comfortable and not restrictive on top, you’ll probably want to ditch tight yoga pants and leggings after surgery. These can be a hassle to get on and pull up your legs. Instead, opt for a looser fitting option like these jogger pants. Pants with drawstrings allow you to adjust the tightness to whatever feels most comfortable.
8. Slip-on shoes
Reaching over to tie shoes may cause some pain and discomfort for a while, so it’s important to invest in a good pair of slip-on shoes for around the house and outside of the house. While it may be tempting to grab the flip-flops, these aren’t the best idea after a mastectomy. Not only do they offer virtually no support, but they can also be a tripping hazard. Instead, look for options that are comfy, offer good support, and have non-skid bottoms.
9. A comfy blanket
A blanket isn't necessarily a clothing item, but it is a must-have accessory for post-surgery and worth mentioning. Make sure you have a soft blanket ready for you to snuggle up in after your mastectomy.
General tips for choosing the right post-mastectomy clothing
No matter which garment you pick, here are a few general tips to keep in mind when choosing clothes.
Get the right fabrics: Not only do the styles of the clothing you choose make a difference, but so does the material that they’re made from. Soft material that won’t abrade the skin is always best. Breathable, non-synthetic fabrics will keep you feeling fresher, longer.
Choose clothes you feel confident in: Recovery clothing options don’t have to look like hospital gowns. Choose clothes to wear after your mastectomy that you feel confident in. Keeping morale and spirits up during recovery is so important, and loving what you wear plays a role in that.
Listen to your body: If something doesn’t feel right, don’t wear it. For instance, your favorite button-down shirt may seem a great option, but if it has a seam near an incision, it may cause you discomfort and irritation. To have the best recovery possible, always listen to what your body is telling you.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to follow your doctor's orders and to make sure you feel like your best self! Whether that means being comfortable in a functional robe, feeling fabulous in a wrap dress, or a little bit of both, we're confident you'll find the right pieces to get you through your recovery period.