At first glance, many of the new styles of compression bras appear to be similar in design and appearance as some of the higher quality of sports bras. However, it is essential for any women to understand that there are significant differences.
For most women wearing compression bras is not going to be a lifetime concern. Rather these bras are used to treat lymphedema and then to provide additional compression during times of reoccurrence of swelling.
Since compression bras are commonly used after breast cancer surgery, it is common to find the pockets for exterior prostheses in the bra design. This provides the compression under the exterior prostheses while allowing you to have a natural profile and shape even while wearing the compression garment.
For first time buyers of compression bras, there are some important tips and facts to keep in mind. The first is to always be fitted for these specialized bras by someone qualified to do so. This could be a CLT Certified Lymphedema Therapists or by a qualified member of your oncology team.
The wider the straps are over the shoulders; the more comfortable the bra will be to wear for extended periods of time. In this way, compression bras are very similar to any other type of bra with narrow straps more likely to cut into the tops of the shoulders. Avoiding this is essential as pressure by the straps on the shoulders can restrict the flow of lymph.
Front closure options are important as they are easier to put on and take off and add to the support around the chest and underarm area. They are also fuller and provide wider coverage; limiting the risk the band will cause pressure on any area of tenderness post-surgery. The wider coverage is also essential to provide compression to the bottom of the armpit.
Look carefully at any compression bras and choose a style that allows for maximum adjustment. Th adjustment is particularly important for shoulder straps as the bra has to be situated correctly across the chest and under the arms.
Seamless compression bras are often recommended as they reduce the chance of rubbing or irritation when worn for long periods of time. You may want to consider choosing at least two different bras to allow you to rotate wear to prevent any possible irritation.
There are many different styles, colors and options in compression bras. Talk to other women, ask your treatment team, and work with your CLT to find just the right bra for your body.
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