16 Things You Need After a Mastectomy

16 Things You Need After a Mastectomy

When you’re recovering from a mastectomy or reconstructive surgery, you’ll need to surround yourself with people and supplies that can help you make this challenging time easier. You can feel a lot better by pampering yourself and allowing others to support you when you need help with meals and chores. As you rest and move towards independence, you’ll want everything you need within reach. You’ll also want to dress in clothes and undergarments that feel comfortable while they help you heal from your operation. Below, we’ve put together a list of items, from post-surgical bras for women and bras for post-mastectomy to pillows and supplies, that will help you on your journey.

1. Front-Closure Compression Bra

When you have a mastectomy, your doctor may advise you to wear a compression bra to reduce swelling. Choosing a specially designed foundation piece like our Post-Surgical Wireless Bra with Front Closure can help you stay comfortable as you heal while holding everything in place. The soft flex fabric and PowerSlim® fabrics provide support without rubbing against your incisions, and the adjustable front hook-and-eye closure will make it easy to attend to your bandages as you recover.

2. Compression Wrap or Binder

After surgery, wearing our compression wrap promotes healing by helping lymph move through and drain out of your tissues. The Velcro closure in front allows you to easily adjust the fit and level of support.

3. Front-Button Clothing

Your range of motion will be limited for the first few weeks after your surgery. Since you won’t be able to raise your arms when you need to change clothes, you will need to stock your wardrobe with loose-fitting garments that utilize wide elastic openings, snaps, zippers or front-button closures. Wearing pajamas and soft button-down shirts with loose-fitting pants or skirts will help you stay comfortable as you heal.

4. Pocketed Mastectomy Bra

Wearing a soft, pretty and supportive bra like our Mastectomy Pocketed Lace Trim Wireless Bra can help you feel more feminine as you recover from your operation. This light, full-coverage foundation features a touch of SmartLace® at the neckline and has pocketed cups that can be worn with prostheses or padding as you heal. The bacteria-fighting BodyFresh fabric will keep you feeling cool and comfortable as it smooths your back. Wide, ergonomic straps are designed to offer extra support without digging into your shoulders, and the seamless cups will feel good against your skin all day long.

5. Drain Lanyard or Belt

After your mastectomy surgery, your doctor will place surgical drains in your chest. These tubes emerge from your incisions and allow fluid to leave your body. A drain lanyard or belt will hold your drains close to your body and keep them from pulling out so you can feel more secure as you shower and move around.

6. Mastectomy Drain Jacket, Cardigan or Vest

You may need to wear your surgical drains for up to eight weeks, but as time passes, you will feel more energetic and mobile. When you want to get out of the house, take a walk or see friends, it can help to wear a jacket, cardigan or vest with inner pockets that will keep your surgical drains in place and discreetly hidden. Look for easy-to-wash cotton, nylon and fleece garments that allow you to adjust your equipment as needed.

Sometimes, your drain jacket is in the wash, or you’re wearing clothes without inner pockets. At these times, you can use large safety pins to attach your drains to your clothes and hold them in place.

7. Reclining Chair

There’s no way around it: Having a mastectomy can drain your energy and make it troublesome and painful to move around. Since laying down and getting up out of bed can be difficult, many healthcare specialists and former patients recommend resting and sleeping in a reclining chair until your strength returns.

Mastectomy Post-Surgery List

8. Mastectomy Pillow

A mastectomy pillow is made to help you heal comfortably after surgery. It’s constructed to cover your chest while cushioning and protecting your incisions. These pillows are made to fit your body’s contours and support your back, shoulders and chest so you can feel your best as you heal. They even work to help alleviate swelling and reduce discomfort and scarring in the weeks after surgery.

9. Wedge Pillow

When you’re resting on the couch or in bed, a wedge pillow can prop you up and keep your back at an angle that helps fluid drain away. These pillows can make it easier for you to get in and out of your bed or seat and reduce strain as you move. The most comfortable of these pillows will be made from cooling memory foam that is soft yet firm and will include a machine-washable cover that is easy to clean.

10. Shower Seat and Handheld Shower Head

Surgery can be hard on your body, and in the first days or weeks after your operation, you may feel too frail to stand up in the shower. When holding yourself steady takes too much effort, resting on a shower seat will allow you to wash yourself safely and in privacy without needing to be held or bathed by an attendant or loved one. Fitting your bathing area with a handheld shower head will make it much easier to wash yourself and shower alone.

11. Body Wipes

If your doctor tells you to stay out of the bath or shower for a few days after your surgery, having some hygienic cleansing wipes on hand will help you stay fresh. For a more pleasant, spa-like experience, look for towelettes that are infused with essential oils.

12. Medical Supplies

As your incisions heal, keeping them clean and protected is essential. You’ll probably need to change your dressings from time to time, so it’s helpful to keep 4x4 gauze and medical tape on hand. If your doctor has instructed you to keep track of how much fluid is draining from your body each day, you will probably be using drainage cups for this purpose, and it can help to keep a reserve of these at home.

13. Padded Seat Belt Cover

Breast surgery will leave your chest feeling tender, and car rides to and from the doctor’s office can be painful. Placing a padded cover on your seatbelt can help make the drive more comfortable.

14. Soft Bathrobe

A cozy bathrobe can help you feel covered up and comfortable in the hospital or recovering at home. Some robes are specially designed to hold your drains after surgery. Still, if you have a conventional robe you really like, you can sew in a pocket or pin your drains into the lining.

15. Light-Blocking Eye Mask

Sometimes, blocking out the world is the best way to rest as you recover from breast surgery. A soft silk, velvet or cotton eye mask can help block out bright light and distractions so you can sleep deeply. Your best bet is to get a full-coverage mask with an elastic band that will stay on your head without being too tight.

16. Slip-On Shoes

After surgery, buckling or tying your shoes will be impossible for a while, so you’ll need a good pair of slip-on shoes with rubber soles that you can step into and walk in easily. It’s also a good idea to get slippers that will keep your feet warm when you’re making your way through the hospital or the house.

Woman posing with a white bra

Leonisa’s Post-Surgical Essentials Can Help You Feel Your Best

Recovering from breast surgery takes patience and courage, so be sure to give yourself some grace. Taking care of yourself is key to regaining your health and confidence so you can feel like yourself again. Leonisa believes that good foundations can help every woman feel her best, so we design our post-surgical bras and post-surgery shapewear with your needs in mind. When you take time to mend and appreciate your newfound health, you’ll be able to heal and enjoy life with your family and friends once again.

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