It needs to be stated right up front – if you are, or suspect you are, suffering from lymphedema, stop reading. Don’t read any further right now. Instead, contact your breast cancer surgeon and medical team. Lymphedema is a serious condition and needs medical attention and monitoring. If you are already under the watchful eye of your medical team and are here looking for the best bra for lymphedema that suits you, do read on!
Chances are if you do have lymphedema, your breast cancer surgeon and medical team will prescribe the best compression bras for lymphedema for you. If nothing specific has been nominated for you, there are some options in this Buying Guide which will undoubtedly suit. We suggest you ask your breast cancer medical team for approval of any garment you’d like to purchase. And, ideally prior to purchasing it!
Bra for Lymphedema Prevention
Even if you don’t have a diagnosis of lymphedema after breast cancer surgery, you may still have been advised that lymphedema is a possible complication. In fact, breast cancer patients absolutely should be informed of the lymphedema risks. So, we hope you are aware! The incidence is relatively low, but the fact remains. Lymphedema in breast cancer survivors is something to be vigilant about. If present, it must be managed as the possible consequences are far-reaching.
If you would like to choose a compression bra for lymphedema or a great bra for lymphedema prevention, then this Buying Guide and Product Review will help you. We’re glad you’re here! There are some great options in the information below.
OPTION 1: Best Compressions Bras for Lymphedema
The ideal bra for lymphedema is one recommended by your surgeon and medical team. If you have not been given a recommendation, you could show them these options prior to purchase. Compression bras for lymphedema are likely to be actually classified as a medical device. So, be sure to seek medical advice and adhere to that over and above anything you might read online. Including here!
OPTION 2: Everyday or Best Compression Bras for Lymphedema Prevention
You may not have a diagnosis of lymphedema but you like to make wise choices. All of the post surgical bras we reviewed here were chosen for good credentials that had them in the line up for consideration for the best compression bras for lymphedema. So, if you don’t have lymphedema, but it concerns you and you’d like to avoid it at all costs, you may like one or more of the options we’ve selected here. These picks have many of the advantages of the medical devices recommended, above, but they’re far more versatile and much prettier!
Best Bras for Lymphedema for 2023
1. Amoena Leyla Seamless Surgical Bra
2. Amoena Sina Seamless Post-Surgical Bra
3. Pamela Seamless Post-Surgical Bra
4. Dawn Post-Surgical Bra By Wear Ease®
5. Wear Ease Compression Bra – Style 790
6. Grace Post-Surgical Bra By Wear Ease®
7. Anita Lynn Mastectomy Bra Style 5768X
8. Wear Ease Sydney Compression Bra Style 780
9. Amoena Sarah Front Fastening Soft Bra
10. Anita Vivana Active - Wireless Mastectomy Sports Bra Style 5300X
11. Anita Salvia Front Closure Wire Free Bra Style 5322X
12. Anita Lotta Mastectomy Bra Style 5769X
13. Anita Women's ISRA First Care Bra Style 5315X
Best Compression Bras for Lymphedema – Buying Guide
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema affects about 15% to 30% of breast cancer surgery patients. So, it is a relatively common complication after breast cancer surgery. Lymphedema shows itself as a persistent swelling because of abnormal accumulation of lymph in body tissue. Understandably, the condition has a significant negative physical and mental impact on the sufferer. So, preventing it in the first place is the primary goal. Failing that, managing lymphedema needs to be effective.
Why Can Lymphedema Come About?
In most cases, when a woman is treated for breast cancer the process will include the removal and biopsy of lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are taken from under the arm area on the side of the body where the tumor exists. Known as a sentinel lymph node biopsy, the sentinel nodes are the first to show evidence of breast cancer having progressed. If breast cancer is ‘caught early’ cancer cells are less likely to have travelled from the originating tumor. A tumor that has progressed will release cancer cells into the lymphatic system in the body. This is how the cancer spreads around to other areas of the body.
The lymphatic system consists of a network of vessels which carries the lymphatic fluid (‘lymph’) and lymph nodes. The role of the lymph nodes is to protect our body from disease and infection. So, they attempt to contain and deal with any ‘nasties’.
When we first present to the medical team with a suspect breast lump, the sequence will start with checking what the tumor consists of. If it shows evidence of cancer cells, the sentinel lymph node biopsy will indicate how far the cancer has progressed. Although the minimum number of lymph nodes as possible will be removed, we still end up with less in our body than we once had. Consequently, a somewhat partially crippled lymphatic system still has to do the same amount of work - and possibly more - as we recover from surgery. It’s a bit like removing a few bus services from the network and expecting to still get all the people to work and school on time!
Here's what to remember...
There’s a whole lot more to know about lymphedema, but what’s most important is:
How do we Prevent Lymphedema After Mastectomy or Breast Cancer Surgery?
Ensuring we’re wearing the best bras for lymphatic drainage is the best first step. That means nothing constricting, ill-fitting or bands and straps which cut in.
So, let’s have a look at the best bra for lymphedema and lymphedema prevention. What factors make the best bra for lymphedema?
What to Consider When Choosing Bras to Avoid Lymphedema after Breast Cancer Surgery
There is much contention as to whether the wearing of bras interferes with lymphatic flow . Some discussions even revolve around whether the constriction caused by underwires and straps and bands could contribute to breast cancer. After all, lymphatic drainage is the body’s way of removing toxins and undesirable substances. The jury seems to be out on whether there is any conclusive proof of these hypotheses. In fact, there is no proof to support these theories. And, assuming most of we women in our modern societies would rather wear underwear than go bra-less, as nature intended, what do we choose to wear? Not surprisingly, most of the guidelines are similar to choosing any mastectomy bras or lumpectomy bras. However, there are a few additional criteria depending upon whether you are preventing or treating lymphedema after breast cancer treatment. Let’s have a look.
1. No Marks or Imprints
The best bra for lymphedema is one that you can wear without it leaving indents or imprints after you take it off. That means no cutting in shoulders or marks around the torso, back or under the breasts. Red, indented marks would imply that too much squeezing is going on, possibly preventing the flow of lymph fluid. This is the opposite of what we want to achieve.
2. Wide, adjustable shoulder straps
The width of the shoulder straps prevents digging in or cutting into the shoulder skin. The larger your breasts, the more likely you are to be familiar with this issue! Ideally, the shoulder straps will be freely adjustable. Freely meaning Velcro® adjustment allows for a more exacting fit than set spacings with fixed hook and loop enclosures. If the shoulder strap length is not right for you, you’ll know it because of the discomfort or pain you’re in.
3. Wide and high support under the armpit
If you can imagine an almost bandeau type bra that softly and gently wraps around under the arm, you’re close. Add to this wide straps, and you’re nearly there. We want to avoid tight, narrow bands cutting around the body and under the armpit where there is a density of lymph nodes. This is where we want ample drainage. Distributing the pressure of the bra garment is the bet way to softly but firmly encase the bosom to aid healing, yet allow lymphatic drainage.
4. Wide and high back
For similar reasons to above, width around the back of the torso distributes weight from the supported breasts to the shoulders and back. Contrast a description of ‘wide’ bands and straps with ‘narrow’ bands and straps and you will be able to picture the cutting in. Then, you can imagine the circulation interference.
5. Soft, breathable, durable and elastic fabric
This is where modern fabrics come into their own. The best bra for lymphedema or lymphedema prevention has a gentle to firm compression quality distributed appropriately across the area it covers. Note that this is in contrast to many compression sports bras which are not necessarily designed with breast surgery recovery in mind. Don’t just grab a sports bra thinking it will do the same job!
6. Smooth, flat seams, free from encased elastic bands
We’re looking for smooth and flat - not ridges. Skin tender from radiation or from surgery and bandages in general needs to be free from features that rub, scratch, press or dig. Any elasticated areas need to be designed into the garment. Garments that have a strip of elastic sewn in are not suitable.
7. Front fastening or step-in
Learning how to prevent lymphedema after breast cancer involves being really gentle with ourselves. That means, no contortion and yoga poses early after surgery to fasten bras up behind our bodies. Front fastening bras (hook and loop enclosure or zipper) or step-in bras are best.
Factors to Look for When Choosing the Best Bra for Lymphedema
1. The Best Bra for Lymphedema Will be Purpose Designed and Manufactured
In addition to the guidelines above, we suggest looking for purpose-designed and manufactured bras. Now is not the time to resort to any old sports bra. For example, some sports bras compress in the wrong places. They may actually push things in the wrong direction. Consequently, the wrong sports bra can be detrimental to post breast surgery recovery and results. If you have had any type of breast surgery at all, avoid a standard sports bra. It’s a time to be educated on what’s going on with your body and be aware of issues to look out for. That includes knowing when your body needs specialized garments. Your surgeon and medical team is the place to start.
2. Check the Mission and Integrity of the Brand and Company
It’s not a bad idea to look at the company behind the design and manufacture of the garments you’re considering purchasing. If the company is established as a specialist breast surgery garment designer and manufacturer, it’s likely to have more experience and skill in the production of the garments you’re needing. A company that makes any and all sorts of medical garments is better than a fashion brand focusing merely on skimpy and sexy. But it potentially is still less qualified than a company spreading its resources across many types of medical garments.
3. Mix it Up
After surgery, we can feel quite different for a long time. And, depending upon the extent of our surgery – we can feel different forever! I know I do. Fortunately, there are a plethora of surgical bras and mastectomy bras to choose from. In the early days after surgery and treatment, we may be restricted to a few appropriate surgical bra types. If you’re choosing the best bra for lymphedema today, you’re unlikely to always have to wear it in the future.
At each stage of recovery a great idea is to have a few different types of bras to switch between. Rather than have one and one only that we wear day in and day out, it’s a good idea for fall in love with a few. That way, if the one we love is discontinued, we won’t be bereft! Furthermore, should one of our options be a little less than perfect for our needs – even if we don’t know it – then we’re not wearing that one all the time. Mix it up. Have a few appropriately fitted and chosen designs. Include leisure bras, sensible and functional bras, and pretty bras.
Best Compression Bras for Lymphedema – Reviews
1 Amoena Leyla Seamless Surgical Bra
- Okay, so now we’re talking. The Amoena Leyla bra is a true surgical bra and if we look closely, possibly classified as a medical device. But don’t quote us – it gets pretty complicated pretty quickly! As far as suitability as a bra for lymphedema, this ticks all the boxes. The only question is whether the level of compression Leyla provides is sufficient. And the only person who can answer that question is a surgeon and medical team.
- Leyla comes in a decent range of sensible colors – white, black and rose nude and is ideal for immediately past surgery and until the major recovery period is over. It’s not a fashion statement and won’t be a great t-shirt bra. The gathered cups, shoulder adjustments and zip closure at the neckline sees to that. But, when it comes to choosing a compression bra for lymphedema, health and recovery takes priority. Having said that, it’s not a totally bad looking bra.
- Looking across the range of compression bras available that are suitable for managing or avoiding lymphedema, this one rates highly. Definitely among the top contenders for a suitable bra for lymphedema choice.
- Pretty much everything about the Amoena Leyla is a positive when considering it for one of the best bras for lymphedema category.
- Classed as a surgical bra. The Amoena Leyla is hygienically prepared and sealed so it can be used in the clinical environment after surgery.
- Leyla is described as ‘Seamless ‘. That is, the fabric is woven using special technology to avoid seams and to anatomically shape the garment. The resulting bra construction is strong and stretchable and adapts to the breast size and shape.
- Leyla is a low-pressure level LIGHT compression bra for post-surgery. (See the Amoena Sina and Amoena Pamela for medium- and high-pressure compression levels respectively). As a surgical bra, carefully designed compression zones apply appropriate support of the surgical site to assist healing. Suitable for all common types of breast surgeries.
- This is a pocketed bra. Seamless pockets can hold a breast form or modesty pad. (Not included)
- Special knitted zones and targeted light pressure support lymphatic drainage and healing process; Seamless knitted fixation ring around the pre-formed cup offers stabilization of the breast area without pressure. This is definitely one of the best bras for lymphatic drainage.
- Leyla has a front closure – internally (closest to the body) there is a hook and eye placket and on the outer side is a zipper. The combination of the two provides greater support and makes the fastening process easier.
- Shoulder straps are wide and lined for comfort and to distribute weight. The straps are adjustable with Velcro® fasteners so it’s possible to get the ideal length setting.
- Comes in a choice of functional colors - White, Black, Rose Nude. The Rose Nude is quite pretty.
- The material 49% Nylon, 43% Cotton, 8% Spandex. Noted by the Amoena company to be free of latex, silicone and nickel – all of which can cause skin irritation issues for some people.
- The fabric is described as cool and gentle on sensitive skin to minimize skin irritation.
- The items noted here are more ‘considerations’ than cons, or negatives.
- Because Leyla is more of a zip up ‘vest’ or top than a molded cup fitted bra, the sizing is less ‘granular’ than other styles – available in: Sizes 32/34, 36/38, 40/42, 44/46, 48/50, 52/54 (so, effectively S, M, L and so on). As the fabric is stretchy the sizing system should not pose any problem to most people. However, if you are one to find yourself not fitting ‘standard’ sizes, this factor is one to consider.
- Being a special fabric it’s a recommended hand wash (cold) and line dry (no dryer). So, no throwing in the washing machine and dryer and forgetting about it!
- Leyla is not a pretty bra. It’s very functional and does its job very well. But it is clearly a surgical bra and there’s no getting away from that fact.
2 Amoena Sina Seamless Post-Surgical Bra
The Amoena Sina stands out on its own as a medium-pressure level compression bra for post-surgery. It’s a specific ‘medical device’ for post-surgery and a perfect contender for the best bra for lymphedema management. That is, so long as your surgeon and medical team recommend or approve it.
It’s not pocketed, it’s not terribly versatile (not a t-shirt bra, for example), it’s not likely you’ll want to wear it after your recovery phase. It is what it is – a specific post-surgery garment, cleverly designed to aid recovery. And also brilliantly placed as possibly your best bra for lymphedema management.
Although the price point is on the higher side, given that this is for medical recovery (from potentially serious surgery) it’s still highly affordable. That is when put in perspective with medications, hospitalisations and the upsides it does provide.
- Like the Amoena Leyla, most features of the Amoena Sina post-surgical bra is a positive when considering her for the best bra for lymphedema category.
- Sina is also classed as a surgical bra. Or medical device. The Amoena Sina is hygienically prepared and sealed so it can be used in the clinical environment – the operating room – right after surgery.
- Sina is a MEDIUM-pressure level compression bra for post-surgery. (See the Amoena Leyla and Amoena Pamela for light- and high-pressure compression levels, respectively). This bra is nominated to be suitable for: Breast Reconstruction, Breast Reduction, Breast Augmentation, Breast Lifting and Oncoplastic Breast Surgeries.
- Great shoulder straps – wide, adjustable with VELCRO® fastening for excellent positioning and maximum comfort. Leyla has a front closure that uses easy to fasten (and unfasten) hooks and eyes. There is a padded placket behind the strip of fasteners for comfort.
- The Sina has pre-formed and flexible seamless cups to ensure the best stabilization of the post-surgical breast area by exerting even, all-over pressure. No concentrated pressure points or ridges exist to impede lymphatic drainage.
- This compression bra stabilizes the post-surgical site through special knitted zones on the underside of the cup. In addition, other special knitted zones and a targeted moderate pressure level support lymphatic drainage as well as the overall healing process. The Sina is definitely in the line up for best bra for lymphedema. The only question is the level of compression pressure your surgeon and medical team recommend that you need.
- Sina is a crop top style with good width under the arms, high coverage across the back and front, with a rounded neckline. This gives ideal coverage around the upper body with no ridges or pressure points that will impede lymphatic drainage. So the Amoena Sina bra is ideal in the lineup for best bra for lymphedema management.
Reasons to be Popular with Wearers
- Positive reviews from women wearing this bra after mastectomy and reconstruction love how supportive it is. Furthermore, the great coverage across front and back means there’s no narrow straps that can rub and pull at scars. This can be the case with other mastectomy bras that aren’t so specifically designed for the recovery period.
- Sina is available in three functional colors - White, Black, Rose Nude. We’re quite partial to the Rose Nude color! Better than only a choice of black and white. Why not have a touch of prettiness and softness while recovering from breast surgery?
- The Nylon fabric is promoted as free of latex, silicone and nickel, so won’t cause allergies or reactions in people with sensitive skin. It’s also soft and enables the Sina fabric to be manufactured seamlessly.
- Nice and easy to care for, with a machine wash warm, gentle cycle recommendation. And line dry (no tumble drying).
- Amoena’s website suggests that because the Sina is designed for medical professionals to apply to patients directly after surgery, it is only available for hospitals, retail stores, and clinics to buy. However, we have found it available HERE for purchase. If you decide it’s the best bra for lymphedema for you, we hope you don’t have difficulty sourcing it.
- Sina is a zip up ‘vest’ or crop top style, so the sizes available are less ‘granular’ than other styles offer. Amoena Sina is available in sizes: 32/34, 36/38, 40/42, 44/46, 48/50, 52/54 (so, effectively S, M, L, XL etc. ). Being a stretchy fabric the sizing system should not pose any problem to most people. However, if you regularly find yourself not fitting ‘standard’ sizes, this factor is one to consider. It’s not going to be the best bra for lymphedema for you if it doesn’t provide a nice fit for you.
- The Sina is made of primarily Nylon (where Nylon is a commercial name for a type of polyamide thermoplastic i.e. a synthetic material): 98% Nylon, 2% Spandex. Nylon is an extremely versatile material with many great uses. However, it has significant negative environmental impact at most parts of its lifecycle. This includes from manufacture to disposal.
- Sina is not a pocketed bra. So, you can’t use a breast form or modesty pad. This may affect insurance eligibility so be sure to check. If you would like to keep wearing this bra longer term and also wear a breast form, it’s not so versatile.
A true surgical bra
- Like Amoena’s Leyla and Sarah, Sina can also be used with a Compression Belt when needed. So a special fastener flap in the middle of the back is available for that. This added feature, or flexibility, is really a Pro point on this bra. This is a feature that really emphases Sina’s function as being all about breast surgery. That and the functional adjustment of the shoulders using VELCRO® mean it’s going to be great for its purpose as a post-surgical bra. It’s also ideally designed to be in the line-up as best bra for lymphedema due to its medical garment nature. But it is a wee bit ugerlee and probably won’t really be one you’ll want to wear after recovery. Although, we still like the Rose Nude color!
3 Pamela Seamless Post-Surgical Bra
Essentially everything we reviewed and reported for the Amoena Leyla and the Amoena Sina are precisely the same for the Amoena Pamela. The one exception is Pamela is classified as having a HIGH pressure level of compression. Check with your surgeon and medical team as to which level of compression is appropriate for your circumstances.
Women who have used the Amoena Pamela after developing lymphodema are very happy with it. It is described as comfortable, pleasant on the skin, easy to fit, with good adjustment. Reports of the Pamela bra dramatically reducing ongoing pain due to lymphedema are not unusual. One lady reported looking forward to putting it on in the morning! So, the Amoena Pamela is a definite contender for best bra for lymphedema management. The purchase price point is on the high end, but who would argue for such a beneficial health benefit?
4 Dawn Post-Surgical Bra By Wear Ease® Style 700/701/702
We’re kind of excited about the Wear Ease, Inc® company and range of products! Wear Ease, Inc® is a certified ““woman owned business” who exist to meet the needs of women facing breast or chest surgery. Their approach is powerful and refreshing and a blessing to women coping with surgery and surgery side effects. Their range of compression bras are all up for best bra for lymphedema nominations!
This Dawn Post-Surgical Bra by Wear Ease® is ideally designed for the best bra for lymphedema category. It ticks all the boxes, has a high cotton content, is designed and made in the USA and is incredibly versatile. Wear Ease® say they aim to to meet the needs of women through recovery and transition to their new normal life, and with this design, we thing they achieve that.
The only possible reasons this might not suit you is if you don’t like a step in bra or fall outside the range of sizes provided. We’d also like to see more colors added to the range in time. But for the price and fitness for purpose, Dawn is a winner.
- Dawn bra is highly versatile. Wear Ease recommend it for wearing after a wide range of surgical procedures and treatments, including: mastectomy, lumpectomy, biopsy, radiation therapy, breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast reconstruction, and for transition during mastectomy recovery. It’s comfortable enough to sleep in, relax in, travel in and generally wear day to day.
- Because it is a pocketed bra and can take breasts forms or simply modesty pads, it can be worn confidently with different garments. So it’ll be great for long term wear and because of that represents excellent value.
- Wear Ease Dawn is designed with built-in pockets to hold breast form prostheses, if needed. The compression is snug enough to hold therapeutic devices in place, to deal with localised swelling, for example.
- The Dawn compression bra is able to be ordered with different options, depending on the stage of surgery/recovery you’re at and your needs. Drainage pouches can also be integrated into this bra and simple, temporary fiberfilled breast forms can also be purchased. But the bra comes just on its own, too, if that’s all you want. Great versatility.
Attractive and Easy to Wear
- The Wear Ease Dawn bra is a “step in” bra that is easy to ease into over your hips, which is good for limited movement and avoiding straining arms into unnatural positions.
- The Dawn bra styling is similar to a typical sports bra, so it’s a nice-looking style. The front has attractive gathering to comfortably support the breasts. This attractive appearance is refreshing for a post-surgery garment!
- It’s a bra that is going to be easy to get into and comfortable to wash and wear. One of Wear Ease’s goals is to achieve a good customer experience and so gain customer compliance (meaning they actually wear it!!). So, with great design, features and comfort, that’s highly achievable with the Dawn. You can’t be the best bra for lymphedema if you won’t be worn! We think this is approach is awesome.
Material & Construction
- Wear Ease Compression Shapewear is specifically designed to meet the needs of women recovering not only from breast or chest surgery, but also in the event of side effects such as edema and lymphedema. So it’s going to be the best bra for lymphedema prevention, in our view.
- The fabric exerts firm pressure for maximum control & compression. That, and high cut underarms and high cut back targets swelling.
- Shoulder straps are wide and provide good support.
- Made of 92% fine, no-pill, combed cotton, 8% spandex jersey, the material is lightweight, supportive, comfortable and soft. The material is Latex free and the design contains no metal fasteners to irritate sensitive skin.
- Easy to look after! Machine washable (gentle, cold) and able to be tumble dried (low) or line dried. Too easy!
- We love (and you probably will also love) that all products are designed and sewn by women, for women, in the USA.
- Despite the great design and the fact that this is a home-grown company and garment, it comes in at a Lower Price Point. What’s not to love about that?
- Limited but good color choices – just white and nude at this stage. We think white and nude is a better selection than white and black, which is what most surgical bra options seem to offer. This is a selection that is really lagging back to a not-very-mindful time, in our opinion. Lazy choices! So, well done, Wear Ease, Inc® ladies!
- Limited colors available (just white and nude) but perhaps more will be on the way as the company continues to grow in this market. We’d love to see that.
- Depending upon your figure, stepping in and pulling up this bra may or may not suit. If you’re not comfortable stepping into a bra then the only other way to get into the Dawn is to pull over the head.
- Potentially the sizing covers all ladies, but if you’re a hard-to-fit in standard sizes type person, check this out closely before purchasing. Sizes come in: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, 1X-Large, 2X-Large, 3X-Large
5 Wear Ease Compression Bra – Style 790
The Wear Ease® Compression Bra provides compression and support needed for managing swelling from lymphedema after breast surgery. Its design focus is very much on all of the ideal features to aid recovery from lymphedema, so has to be almost the very best bra for lymphedema options.
Except for the fact that it has a high proportion of Nylon in the fabric, its design and construction is absolutely ideal for managing lymphatic drainage. Consequently, it is at the top of the list as a compression bra for managing lymphedema any time post-surgery. We’d prefer an alternative shoulder adjustment method and some additional color options, but these are relatively weak arguments against what is an expertly designed bra.
The price is a high price point. But we’re talking health and recovery from surgery, so expert care is worth paying for.
- The Compression Bra by Wear Ease® is an ideal and comfortable bra for after breast surgery including mastectomy, breast augmentation, breast reconstruction and breast reduction. This ‘top shelf’ Wear Ease® Compression Bra is ideal for recovery from surgery, edema and lymphedema.
- It is designed with a double layer of fabric for gentle compression all around the torso for women with post-surgical discomfort or breast and torso lymphedema. Designed with height at the sides under the arm providing good coverage for the underarm (axilla) area where fluid tends to collect. Back coverage is also extensive which is great for compression. Also, built-in “slings” lift the bust providing excellent fit and compression.
- This is a pocketed bra - inside (seamless) pockets are available to hold and keep breast forms (breast prostheses) in place. Breast forms are not included, but it is possible to purchase a temporary fiber filled soft form as an optional extra.
- The 1.5” wide, soft "latex free" elastic under band encircles the torso, providing comfortable support. The band also provides attachment for drainage tube pouches which are available as an optional extra.
- The fabric is designed as cooling in hot weather because it transfers moisture away from body and dissipates body heat build-up. Also said to be abrasion and rip resistant, silky soft, Latex free and with an antimicrobial finish. It’s actually mostly Nylon! Convenient and well designed, cushioned front zipper for easy donning and removal.
- Designed and Sewn in the USA by women for women. Wear Ease® is a women owned business.
- There are fifteen size options to choose from. Hopefully 15 sizes from XS through to 4-XL will mean most women should find one to fit. Feedback suggests that the Wear Ease® Compression Bra runs large. So, the recommendation is that when the bust measurement falls between sizes, choose the size down.
- Adjustable and detachable hook and eye shoulder straps – NOT VELCRO®. From experience, hook and eye shoulder straps are not the most ideal fastener for over the shoulder. The selection of length options are generally not ‘granular’ enough, so its difficult to get the perfect fit. This adjustment is certainly better than just relying on fabric stretch. However, inadequate shoulder adjustment can lead to extreme discomfort in surgical zones, which is quite distressing for the wearer. We’d really rather see VELCRO®
- Although the product website states that this style “provides” easy and flattering fit” and “does not show under clothing”, we’re not in full agreement. Under loose fitting clothing or highly patterned clothes or dress shirts, it may be disguised. But, from experience, the hook and eye shoulder closures as well as the zipper front are most certainly going to be visible under a t-shirt style top. The soft gathers under the breast area will probably be disguised, and as long as the neckline of the clothing is not too low, the bra may be hidden. But, most likely, this bra will not be terribly easily disguised unless it’s under full coverage, bulky clothing. However – it’s for surgery recovery and for management of the likes of edema. So, as probably the best bra for lymphedema, it’s not necessarily required to be a fashion statement as well!
- The fabric is described as ‘new’ and ‘silky’ with high resistance to rips and abrasion (what ARE we going to be doing in this bra??!!) That all sounds great. However, the composition of the fabric is: : 83% nylon and 17% spandex. Nylon is a commercial name for a type of polyamide thermoplastic (i.e. a man-made material). Although Nylon is an extremely versatile material with many great uses, it has a not insignificant negative environmental impact. This includes from manufacture to disposal.
- At the highest end of the price range for all garments we’ve reviewed, so be sure to measure up and choose carefully before purchasing.
- We’d love to see a couple of additional, pretty colors added to the range of White, Latte and Black.
6 Grace Post-Surgical Bra By Wear Ease® Style 740/741/742
Almost everything we said about the Wear Ease ® Dawn we repeat word-for-word about the Grace bra. Almost!
The Wear Ease ® company – check. The totally on-point design of their compression bras, which are all up for the best bra for lymphedema nominations – check. Unfortunately, we feel Grace falls down (falls from Grace? Sorry) in the fabric, being 92% unenvironmentally friendly polyester. The front zipper is going to be great and easy to use but will probably be quite noticeable under a close-fitting or stretch top. In the scheme of recovery from surgery and lymphatic drainage issues, these points can of course be overlooked.
We still nominate the Wear Ease® Grace bra for best bra for lymphedema, but we’ve had to score it a little more critically on the fabric and versatility criterion.
Wear Ease® recommend that compression garments be replaced every three to six months to ensure consistent compression levels. Since Wear Ease® garments are so highly affordable, this is more achievable than it might be if other (higher priced) brand products are chosen.
Versatility and Suitability to be Considered Among the Best Compression Bras for Lymphedema
- The Grace bra is as highly versatile as the Dawn. Wear Ease recommend it for wearing after a wide range of surgical procedures and treatments, including: Mastectomy, Lumpectomy, Biopsy, Breast augmentation, Breast reduction, Breast reconstruction and for transition during mastectomy recovery.
- Again, it’s comfortable for sleeping in and for general day to day wear.
- Also, a pocketed bra suitable for breast forms or modesty pads. So, it can be worn confidently with different garments, although it will probably show bumps if worn under a t-shirt.
- Wear Ease Grace provides sufficient compression to hold therapeutic devices in place, to deal with localised swelling, for example. The high back coverage, high under arm coverage, good coverage across the chest and wide, supportive shoulder straps are all excellent design points in this garment. These features are what make a garment the best bra for lymphedema management and prevention, even.
- Like Wear Ease’s other post-surgical compression garments, the Grace has three ordering options. Drainage pouches can be integrated into this bra and simple, temporary fiber filled breast forms can also be purchased. The bra also comes just on its own, if that’s all you need. Very versatile.
Appeal and Wearability
- The Wear Ease Grace Post-Surgical bra has a cushioned front zipper closure with protective placket on the inside (against the skin). Front opening is convenient and ideal for breast surgery recovery, so ticks that box for the best bra for lymphedema scoring.
- The Grace bra styling is similar to a typical sports bra, so it’s not a bad-looking style. The front has soft gathers to comfortably support the breasts. It’s neither particularly sporty-looking or underwear-looking. Rather, somewhere in-between. Wear Ease® products are uniquely styled.
- Again, it’s a bra that is going to be easy to get into and comfortable to wash and wear. One of Wear Ease’s goals is to achieve a good customer experience and so gain customer compliance (meaning they actually wear it!!). So, with great design, features and comfort, that’s highly achievable with the Grace. You won’t be ranked as the best bra for lymphedema if you’re not being worn! We think this is approach is very forward thinking.
Material & Construction
- Wear Ease Compression bras are specifically designed to meet the needs of women recovering from breast and chest surgery. Also, and in particular, in the event of unwanted side effects such as edema and lymphedema, these garments are on-target. So, these Wear Ease® garments are going to be the best bra for lymphedema prevention, in our view.
- Easy to look after! Machine washable (gentle, cold) and able to be tumble dried (low) or line dried. Recommended to be washed in a lingerie bag.
- We love (and we’re sure you will also love) that Wear Ease ® products are designed and sewn by women in a women owned company, in the USA.
- Despite the great design and the fact that Wear Ease ® is a home-grown company and garment, it comes in at a Lower Price Point. Very pleasing.
- Limited but workable color choices –white, nude and black.
- Only limited colors are available (just white, nude and black) but they are workable colors. We’d love to see more colors added to the range.
- It’s possibly due to the colors, but this bra has a distinctive ‘surgical’ look to it with the zipper option. This is in contrast to the Dawn style, which looked quite nice and would be more versatile, in our estimation.
- The Grace is made of primarily Jersey Microfiber (92% polyester, 8% spandex) Microfibre has impressive beneficial properties including durability, softness and absorbency. However, it has a distinctly negative impact on the environment.
- If you’re a typically difficult-to-fit-into-standard-sizes type person, check this out closely before purchasing. The Grace sizes come in: X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, 1X-Large, 2X-Large, 3X-Large, as opposed to band sizes and cup sizes.
7 Anita Lynn Mastectomy Bra Style 5768X
The Anita Lynn is a newer bra to the market and as far as design features go, it ticks so many boxes. We don’t see it listed as a medical device but it’s certainly a contender for the best bra for lymphedema risk minimization list. Easy front opening. Firm but comfortable compression. Width in under breast, under arms, shoulder straps and around the back. Pocketed bra – with modesty pads provided. Great to look at. Fans of the bra, which has been on the market for less than 2 years, say there’s a lot to love about it. We agree. Some have happily worn it 24/7 for weeks in a row.
So, it’s really disappointing that the sizing is so inexact. This is a mid-priced bra, not expensive, but not cheap. No one wants the bother of ordering something and having a high chance of it not fitting. But, when the sizing options are only S, M, L, XL and XXL, there’s a likelihood of getting it wrong. That, coupled with the fact that it’s made from environmentally unfriendly Microfibre, have taken it down a ranking or two against our criterion.
- As the manufacturer states, this Anita Lynn surgical bra has a sporty look and it’s uncomplicated. Its features and simplicity mean it’s quite versatile. So, chances are if it suits you, you’ll get a lot of use out of it.
- The Anita fastens at the front with a full-length zip making it very easy to get into and out of.
- Comfortably wide and soft adjustable shoulder straps earn this mastectomy bra another tick. Even better is that the adjustment is at the back, rather than at the top of the shoulder where fasteners can dig in.
- The material is soft and elastic (Microfibre - described as “the ultimate comfort fabric”) and provides gentle compression. See Cons, below.
- Tags on the garment indicate OEKO-TEK which a lot of consumers increasingly look for.
- Described as a seamless ‘crop-top’ style, this bra comes higher up under the arms to provide firm but gentle support.
- The back is also a higher-rise design providing stretch and slight compression.
- Not a designated medical device (as far as we can ascertain) but the weave provides noticeable compression. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with lymphedema, it is up there as a contender for the best bra for lymphedema avoidance.
- The bra is good quality and very well made and this is noted by a number of wearers.
- Anita Lynn features removable moulded pads in the double-layer cups. Conveniently, the pads do come with the bra and help to create a natural looking silhouette when worn. The pockets for the provided pads – or your own breast forms - are accessed near the armpits.
- The Microfibre fabric is easy to care for - just on a delicate machine wash (40 degC) and fast-drying.
- The ruching in the front of the bra allows for a comfortable, hugging and gently compressive fit. And, if you're wearing something loose, it’s invisible. However, the ruching and zipper can be seen through certain clothing styles. Wearers have commented that they’d prefer no ruching. So, it’s not a ‘t-shirt’ bra in this regard. A minor point, but a point that indicates slightly less versatility than other bra options might offer.
- Microfibre has impressive beneficial properties (durability, softness, absorbent) BUT has a distinctly negative impact on the environment.
- Sizing options are more limited than other designs, unfortunately. It seems that you choose Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large and XX Large. This is going to make choosing the right size a bit hit and miss. Indeed, the reports we’ve seen from customers has supported this observation. Many report their purchase as ‘too tight’ or ‘too small’. So, it’s clearly difficult to select the right size first up.
- Anita products are not manufactured in the United States, but at select locations around the world. Read more about the Anita Company HERE .
8 Wear Ease Sydney Compression Bra Style 780
The Wear Ease® Sydney Compression bra is a refreshing and exciting alternative to the run-of-the-mill compression bra options make by everyone else in this space. With a ‘surplice’ (crossover) neckline, high underarms and back and elastic properties, it also caters for those needing compression in those areas.
It’s an ideal bra for after the usual breast surgeries, for coping with lymphedema and excellent for women dealing with tissue expanders in the lead up to breast reconstruction. The Sydney has width, coverage and compression in the right places, and no fasteners to wrestle with.
It is on the higher side of the price range, but comes with all the features one might expect, like built in pockets (modesty cups provided) as well as four decent colors. We’re definitely putting the Wear Ease® Sydney up there as the best bra for Lymphedema management and prevention.
- The Wear Ease® Sydney bra can be worn following a range of surgical procedures and treatments. These include: mastectomy, lumpectomy, biopsy, breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast reconstruction, and for transition during mastectomy recovery. So if you’re likely to be passing through several of these phases, you’ll get to wear it for all of them. This is great versatility.
- Sydney is a sleek and simple compression bra designed for active wear and also performs well as a swim top. It’s comfortable enough for daily wear and can also be used as a sleeping bra.
- Built-in pockets are provided on both sides for a breast form or prosthetic to be worn in. Removable modesty pads are provided with the purchase of the Sydney bra. These provide a smooth, natural shape.
- The Sydney Activity Bra has high cut underarm and a high back. The material coverage in these two areas targets swelling on the back and in the underarm area. So, it's perfect for underarm (axilla) compression and upper back compression. So, the Sydney Compression bra is not only great for figure control. It’s also a comfortable solution for managing swelling caused by surgery and lymphedema.
- The best way to don the bra is to step into it and slide it up over the hips. That method sounds very unusual, because it’s not what we’re used to. But surprisingly, it slips on quickly and easily. Wearers are happy with this method because they don't need to deal with front and back hooks.
- As well as the great back and underarm coverage and wide shoulder straps, there is a wide underband that goes around the torso. Pleasingly, wearers report that this band is very comfortable and it stays nicely in place without rolling. It’s wide and not constrictive.
- The fabric is described as supportive, ‘slick’ and ‘quite lustrous’, non-cling, cool and quick drying for ultimate comfort. This all sounds excellent for comfort when we’re going through a potentially challenging and uncomfortable time. It’s easy to wash, retains it shape and is lightweight, strong durable and flexible. And easy to wash (gently). Also Latex free.
Refreshing and exciting!
- What we love is that the Sydney is an attractive and elegant alternative to a standard compression bra, not least of all because it has the flattering surplice (crossover) neckline.
- It’s also an excellent bra for women dealing with tissue expanders in preparation for breast reconstruction after mastectomy. Goodness knows we need options during this phase!
- We love the gorgeous fuschia color and the white, nude and black are very workable as well.
- Designed and Sewn in the USA by a women owned company.
- There are only seven size options to choose from. With only 7 sizes from XS through to 3-XL chances are a lot of women who are not a ‘standard’ size and shape will struggle to get a nice fit with the Sydney Compression Bra. We’d like to be proven wrong, though, as this bra is a lovely style option. As well as being a good design in running as the best bra for lymphedema.
- The 80% Nylon 20% Spandex fabric has a good many benefits, as listed in the Pros, above. However, Nylon is not at all good for the environment (details can be found in other reviews on this page) so that’s a real downside, unfortunately.
9 Amoena Sarah Front Fastening Soft Bra
A really sensible post-surgical bra, ideal for recovering from breast or chest surgery when firm, well-distributed compression is needed. This is one you probably wouldn’t purchase unless it (or something like it) was recommended to you for your particular circumstances. It’s absolutely functional, ‘clinical’ in fact and looks it. Only available in black and white and at the top of the price range of all of the contenders in the best bra for lymphedema category we’ve looked at. For that, though, you can also use drain pouches with it and a compression belt if needed.
Sarah has no pockets for breast forms, so you’ll have to get another bra down the track for that when your initial recovery is complete. The Sarah ticks all the boxes for a contender for the best bra for lymphedema. But just make sure you have something else pretty to put on, if you want something pretty to wear while you’re dealing with lymphedema. Because this isn’t it!
- The Amoena Sarah Bra supports the breast(s) or chest after surgery when compression is needed. Sarah is a crop top style ‘vest’ or bra with wide sides under the arms, high coverage across the back and front, with a rounded neckline. This gives ideal coverage around the upper body with no ridges or pressure points that will impede lymphatic drainage. So the Amoena Sarah bra is ideal in the lineup for best bra for lymphedema management.
- Another ideal design feature is the wide, soft, elastic bottom band designed to not roll up.
- Well designed with broad, adjustable shoulder straps fastened with VELCRO® for optimum placement.
- Appealingly, Sarah has a high cotton content Material: 62% Cotton, 24% Nylon, 14% Spandex
- Ideally for a surgical bra, Sarah has a front opening with hook and loop fastener. Cleverly in keeping with expert design, Amoena have provided hook and eye numbers ranging from 7 rows for the smallest size to 12 rows for the largest two sizes. So whatever your size, the design has you catered for.
- “Proper” sizing is available – you can choose your size from the full range of band and cup sizes: 34 - 46 A, B, C, D, E. As we say, no sizing guesswork (or less guesswork than with S, M, L !)
- Sarah has molded cups (not gathered or stitched) and flat seams to avoid any rub points or causes of irritation. The front is double layered and provides comforting coverage for healing.
- Sarah is a non-pocketed bra – she does not take a breast form or modesty pad. This may affect insurance eligibility so be sure to check. It also means that if you would like to keep wearing this bra well into the future, but want to also wear a breast form, it’s not so versatile. At this higher price point, greater versatility would be preferable.
- Hand wash (cold) and line dry (no tumble dryer). No short-cutting by throwing in the washing machine! (Not if you want the beneficial material properties to last, anyhow!)
- Comes in white and black only.
- High price tag. Amongst the highest priced garments we’ve seen.
- Like Amoena’s Leyla, the Sarah can be used with a Compression Belt when needed. So a special fastener flap in the middle of the back is available for that. This is a feature that cements Sarah’s function as being all about breast surgery. This added feature, or flexibility, is really a Pro point on this bra. And we also note that drains pouches can be used with this bra. But as we’re focusing on looking for the best bra for lymphedema management and ideally prevention, we’re singling those factors out.
10 Anita Vivana Active - Wireless Mastectomy Sports Bra Style 5300X
Anita’s Vivana Active bra has been around for 10 years. That has to be saying something! We added it to the list to review due to its great popularity, longevity on the market and many excellent features. Our review has since teased out some of the details to conclude that this is indeed an excellent mastectomy bra. Fans of Vivana say that without exception, it’s the best mastectomy bra on the market. And some of those have tried and tested a large number. Others have a number of this bra in their wardrobe. Furthermore, some have been buying Vivana for many of the 10 years she’s been available. So, if you want an excellent all-rounder mastectomy bra Vivana is an excellent option.
Considering Vivana in the lineup as an option in best bra for lymphedema stakes is a little different. Looking at all the features, there is probably nothing about this bra that is going to be detrimental to the wearer. It looks unlikely to put any constriction or restraint in any area that it shouldn’t. There is carefully thought out compression and support around the torso, under arms, across the chest and over the shoulders. However, if you have a diagnosis then consider our other reviewed bras when you’re wanting the best bra for lymphedema management.
- A popular post mastectomy bra that has been on the market for 10 years. A pocketed bra with pocket on both sides for mastectomy breast forms or removable padding.
- Anita’s Vivana bra comes in ‘proper’ sizes. No S-M-L-XL-XXL to guess between.
- “Workable” colors of black & skin. The black option features a sporty zig-zag stitching in contrasting grey on the seams.
- The cups are ‘flat’ meaning there are no gathers or tucks to show through clothing. This feature contributes to the Vivana’s versatility. That and the comfort and support she provides makes her popular for everyday wear.
- Pre-shaped/formed cups provide a lovely profile/figure. They are constructed of low-elasticity Microfibre which contributes to the firm support and bounce reduction for breasts.
- Vivana’s neckline is nicely scooped and quite high cut and so provides appropriate support where needed. So, this serves to minimize the movement of the breasts. No need to wonder why this bra is so popular for sports lovers! Suggested to be suitable for medium impact activities.
- This bra’s clever design and combination of materials are what provide direct support and minimise movement of the breast during sporting activities.
- Wireless with comfortable, flat seams. A wide, sewn-on elastic underband and ample underarm height provides added support.
- The Microfibre pockets (for softness against the skin) on both sides are specifically designed to work with the high-function sports fabric (LYCRA®) of the outer cups.
- Easy to look after fabric – (cold) machine washable and air (washing line) dry. Light, soft, breathable and fast-drying. What’s not to love?
- The shoulder straps are wide over the shoulders and become narrower as they pass down the back to the torso band. Cleverly, the shoulder straps are adjustable and the adjustment slider is on the narrower part at the back of the body (not on top of the shoulder).
- Has been on the market for 10 years and often reported as good quality and well made by customers.
- Hook-and-eye back closure. We like the hook and eye fastening. But, for a mastectomy bra to be in the running as best bra for lymphedema prevention option, we really want to see that front fastener.
- The back of the Anita Viviana is described as a ‘leotard’ back, meaning it is rounded and gently dips low to the torso band. This description is in contrast to a ‘crop top’ or ‘bustier’ style which implies the back sits much higher up the mid-back. This is noted as a downside because – again – to be considered as the best bra for lymphedema prevention or treatment, better coverage of the back would be preferable.
- The fabric and design of the Anita Vivana Active - Wireless Mastectomy Sports Bra provides definite support and gentle compression. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with lymphedema, it is up there as a contender for the best bra for lymphedema avoidance. But look for one of the other suggestions for specific lymphedema bras.
- Vivana is at a mid to higher price point. However, all the positives reported (words like ‘fabulous’ and ‘the best’ come to mind) about it by fans suggest it is good value for that investment.
- Whist Microfibre has impressive beneficial properties (durability, softness, absorbent), unfortunately it has a definite negative impact on the environment.
- Anita products are manufactured at select locations around the world. Read more about Anita HERE (only a negative if you wish your purchases to be from US based manufacturers)
11 Anita Salvia Front Closure Wire Free Bra Style 5322X
A popular, pretty, comfortable, easy to care for and well-designed mastectomy bra. The design takes into account the need for lymphatic drainage by providing gentle coverage where needed. There are no narrow constrictive or cutting points, although the straps could possibly be marginally wider. The positives of the Anita Salvia mean it is a great contender as one of the best bra for lymphedema prevention options.
Downsides – there aren’t really any, apart from lack of color choice and the high proportion of not very environmentally friendly fabric content. Doesn’t qualify as the best bra for lymphedema if you have been diagnosed with it. But is a great contender if you want to give your body every chance of avoiding lymphedema issues after breast surgery.
- A really pretty post-surgery bra from Anita. The Salvia has been in production for over 5 years and those who love her keep buying her. Outstanding comfort is one of the things the Salvia is known for. The softness and comfort mean the Salvia is particularly suitable during and after radiation therapy.
- Salvia ticks so many boxes for a post mastectomy bra – and also is in the running as the best bra for lymphedema prevention. This is because the bra is constructed so as to prevent lymph congestion in the side underbust area.
- Front fastener with hook and eye closures. There is very soft towelling fabric on the inside of the hook-and-eye band of the front fastener. So it’s nicely cushioned and nothing can rub or irritate.
- The softly padded shoulder straps and wide, stretchy underbust (torso) band are covered in soft towelling fabric.
- The way the fabric, underarms and underbust band are designed means there is no undue pressure on the body at any point. The back is quite ‘high’ (wide) so not constricting at all. It doesn’t provide as full coverage of the back of the body as some of the other bras in this list. But unless you require significant coverage for a diagnosis of lymphedema after breast cancer, the Salvia will count as one of the best bra for lymphedema prevention options.
- The Micromodal fabric used in the construction of the Salvia is very soft (some say softer than silk) and is a relatively low-environmental impact semi-synthetic fiber.
- The fabric is easy to care for with a delicate machine wash at 40 degC.
- This is a pocketed bra, with breast form pockets on both sides. There are 3 pocket openings on each side. So, breast forms or modesty pads can be inserted and adjusted from the side, top, or bottom.
- Seamless, pre-shaped cups.
- Available in a beautiful color: Champagne (but, that’s it!)
- Suitable for initial care after breast surgery procedures. Also fine as a sleep bra due to the high comfort level it provides.
- The Salvia is popular and comfortable and well designed to be possibly one of the best bras for lymphatic drainage. However, if you have a diagnosis of lymphedema there are other options that likely better choices.
- Although Micromodal is a semi-synthetic fabric and not overly impactful on the environment, there is a high proportion of polyester and elastane (LYCRA®) in this garment. Both polyester and elastane do contribute to environmental degradation and don’t biodegrade. The components are: Outer fabric (45% Polyester, 45% Micromodal, 10% Elastane)
- It’s a beautiful color, but there is only one color choice: Champagne
- Purchase price is on the higher side of the price range of the best bras for lymphatic drainage, so this may be a hindrance for those on a very tight budget.
- Our research indicates the Anita products are not manufactured in the United States.
12 Anita Lotta Mastectomy Bra Style 5769X
This bra is not specifically stated by the manufacturer to be a compression bra for lymphedema. So, if you have been diagnosed, this is not the best bra for lymphedema treatment or management. However, if you’d like to choose a nice-looking mastectomy bra, with soft material and pleasant and supportive curves, wide straps and bands, this is definitely one to consider.
The only real downsides, by the criterion we mark against, is a rear fastener and man-made fabric construction. But if you are happy with these features and want a nice looking, comfortable post-surgery bra that should be gentle on your lymphatic system, the Anita Lotta is gorgeous and practical.
- Anita’s Lotta design is a really pretty bra! For a mastectomy bra, it’s very modern and has appeal.
- Four great colors are shown on the manufacturer’s website, but not all of the colors appear to be readily available when shopping online.
- The band around the torso is nice and wide. The manufacturer even describes the Lotta as a crop top, and it is almost that - except it looks like a bra! There is good adjustment around the torso, also. Four levels of loops are available on the hook and loop closure fastener.
- The shoulder straps are quite wide going over the shoulder. In fact, they’re amongst the widest we’ve seen on a mastectomy bra. Once over the shoulder area, the straps taper to narrow straps. We think this is a nice and practical effect.
- At the back of the Lotta bra, the straps are adjustable, which is excellent.
- This lovely bra is seamless and double-layered with a curve hugging shape and light support.
- Non-Wired (not that we would review a surgical bra that is wired…)
- It has removable foam pads (so, it’s a pocketed bra). Yes – the foam pads come with the bra. In addition, you can use your own breast form/s.
- The material is really soft (although man-made – see Cons) Microfibre. Microfibre is described as “the ultimate comfort fabric” – light, ‘silky soft’ and breathable.
- The Microfibre fabric is easy to care for - just on a delicate machine wash (40 degC) and fast-drying.
Check with your surgeon/medical team
- Anita, the manufacturer, states it is suitable for ‘initial care’. So, do check with your surgeon and medical team if that’s what you are considering the Lotta design for.
- Not a natural fabric. The components are: Outer fabric (97% Nylon; 3% Elastane) and cup (66% Polyester; 34% Polyurethane). But it is soft and easy to care for.
- The fastener is a hook and loop enclosure at the back, which is not typically recommended for after breast surgery. However, for someone who wants and prefers this feature, the Lotta is one design that offers it. And, an otherwise good design at that. On the plus side, there are 4 levels of adjustment around the torso (4 rows of loops to choose from).
- Although the manufacturer shows 4 great colors to choose from, not all of the colors appear to be readily available.
- Larger breasted ladies have reported that the straps do not extend long enough to be comfortable over the shoulder. So, if you’re a larger sized lady, perhaps don’t go for this mastectomy bra.
- As far as we can ascertain the Anita products are not manufactured in the United States.
13 Anita Women's ISRA First Care Bra Style 5315X
The Anita ISRA First Care Bra is a bit of a dichotomy! It is well loved and fabulous for some – even described as “best mastectomy bra on the market”. Satisfied customers purchase multiple over many years. But unfortunately it has some potentially frustrating design features that are a downfall. The positives are fabulous, but the downsides make it difficult to put it up as a contender for the best bra for lymphedema or lymphedema prevention.
If you love a high cotton content bra, and want something that looks a little less ‘bra-like’, check it out. For something soft and casual, with good features that make it one of the better bra options for avoiding lymphedema, it’s fine. Our take is that it’s good, but not great. Which is such a shame, because we love a high cotton content bra ourselves!
- The Anita ISRA has what some people look for in a surgical bra that is a best bra for lymphedema prevention contender. A very high cotton content, with all the associated benefits of that! The ISRA is 90% cotton and 10% Elastane. (Gentle machine wash, 40degC)
- Customers love it for the ultra-soft stretch material that is comfortable and does not itch or otherwise irritate sensitive skin. Very kind to the skin.
- It is front closing, making it easy to put on (and ticks that box for a post surgical bra). Read more about this feature below in the ‘Cons’ - it closes in the middle with a square of Velcro® and two buttons.
- Suitable for leisure, sleeping and post operative wear. Some wear it for post other types of surgery (not just breast surgery). And, there’s nothing to say it can’t be worn even if you haven’t had surgery! It has that casual, slightly sporty and modern appeal.
- The shoulder straps are wide and soft.
- Because of the stretch and design, the ISRA molds smoothly to the body. It has soft and flatly tailored edge bands around the underbust, armholes and décolleté. Furthermore, it has a stretchy, high, ‘crop top’ style of back.
- Both sides have a pocket to put in a breast prosthesis (not included). If you choose not to use the pocket, it is just another layer of soft material so you won't even notice it is there.
- The ISRA has a lot of features that put it up as a surgical bra that is a best bra for lymphedema prevention contender. Width where it’s needed, so no pressure points. Gentle coverage with stretch. Not a serious medical device for a diagnosis of lymphedema, in our opinion. But a sensible option to avoid causing any problems.
- Has been available on the market for coming up to 4 years.
- We love a front fastening in a surgical bra, of course. But the front fastening design on the ISRA seems ‘experimental’. Like it’s an idea to try something different, which is great. But the two buttons and Velcro® patch have issues. Firstly, some find the bra difficult to button. The buttons are wont to fall off, and after a relatively short time, in some cases. Velcro® come loose (unstitched) and that’s not an easy thing to fix for most people. Others report that the Velcro® scratches the skin if its not perfectly aligned. So, if you’re one of the people who have difficulty buttoning it up and can’t get the Velcro® nice and aligned (perhaps not even being able to see it ‘down there’?) then there goes the benefit of the soft cotton!
- Some report that the seams and button are quite visible under t-shirts or sweaters. It’s not a winner as a t-shirt bra. It seems that everything else is smooth – but the buttons.
- The straps are not adjustable, which can be limiting.
- Although the pricing of the Anita ISRA is on the lower end of the range, it’s not a budget priced bra. So, if you only have enough budget for one or two bras and you need them to be versatile, this one may not suit.
- Anita products are not manufactured in the United States as far as we know.
OPTION 1: Best Bra for Lymphedema for 2022
Equal 1st Recommended
If you have a diagnosis of lymphedema, or are at a high risk of developing it, you want a serious garment to take care of you. The best bra for lymphedema needs to be one that is specially designed for the condition and Amoena have done that. We haven't separated the Leyla, Sina and Pamela because they are essentially variations on a theme. Your surgeon would need to advise if you require low, medium or high pressure to aid in your selection. As far as all other features go, this trio tick all the boxes. Wide, highly adjustable shoulder straps. Wide band under the breast and around the torso. Height and coverage applying required pressure at the back, under arms and across the chest. Front opening, pocketed and designed and manufactured to apply the right pressure at the right places. Workable colors, easy to care for fabrics. Fabric content varies slightly - Leyla has high cotton content, but Sina and Pamela not so.
No fashion statement, but if I were dealing with a diagnosis, the best bra for lymphedema for me is one (or all) of these three.
Dawn Post-Surgical Bra By Wear Ease®
So much to love about the Dawn bra by the ladies at Wear Ease®! Where do we start? There's the company - American owned by women who design and sew these garments for women. Their strategy is insightful - 'compliance' - make these garments so ladies want to wear them, so they get the benefit. And then, there's the bra. Dawn ticks all the boxes and that's why it's up here as the best bra for lymphedema for you.
High cotton content fabric gives coverage in all the places needed. High under arms, high back, high front (but not so high as to be unattractive). The fabric exerts firm pressure for maximum control & compression. Dawn is a step-into bra, rather than front opening, but we think this will be fine with most people. Dawn looks less like a surgical bra, or medical device, than others, so that's a plus. Limited but workable colors of white and nude, pocketed to take breast forms and the price tag is excellent. So very affordable. So long as this bra meets the approval of your medical professionals team, we can highly recommend it.
Wear Ease Compression Bra – Style 790
Pretty much anything from Wear Ease® is going to be worth looking at and this Style 790 Compression Bra is hard to go past. We almost did, because it has a much higher price tag (which is partly why it wasn't the first recommendation). However, this design specifically provides compression and support needed for managing swelling from lymphedema after breast surgery. All of its features meet the most important criterion we measure against. Wide shoulders, under band, under arms, and high back and front. Front opening and shoulder adjustment.
The has a high proportion of Nylon in the fabric, but its design and construction is absolutely ideal for managing lymphatic drainage. Clever design means the bra provides an excellent fit for the breasts, as well as the required compression. There are a huge 15 sizes to choose from, so the bra should fit most people. It's also pocketed to take breast forms. If you'd rather a front zip rather than the step-in like the Dawn - and if you're after a good compression - this Style 790 bra is worth looking at. Do check with your team of medical professionals.
OPTION 2: Best Bra for Lymphedema Prevention for 2022
Grace Post-Surgical Bra By Wear Ease®
The Grace bra by American company Wear Ease is one of the best bras for lymphatic drainage you will find. Expertly designed for women following breast surgery, it has all the required features to aid recovery. As well as having pockets to take breast forms, it is available in workable colors (white, black and nude). Also sewn from comfortable to wear, easy to care for (although not terribly environmentally friendly) fabric. Grace has all these excellent features to make it a best bra for lymphedema avoidance and at a mid range price. That's why Grace gets our Top Pick ranking.
Anita Lynn Mastectomy Bra Style 5768X
A relative newcomer to the range of available surgical bras, Anita's Lynn model has already secured raving fans! Lynn is reported as good quality and very well made, featuring removable molded pads (included) in the double-layer cups. Unless you’ve been diagnosed with lymphedema, it is up there as a contender for the best bra for lymphedema avoidance. As well as the features that make it suitable as one of the best bras for lymphatic drainage, it is quite sporty looking! Mid range pricing and soft, comfortable and elastic Microfibre and a nice range of colors make Lynn a nice choice. With only 5 sizing increments (S, M, L, XL, XXL) it may not provide a perfect fit for every lady, we suspect. All the same, if it suits you, the Anita Lynn represents good value so gets our Best Value ranking.
Wear Ease® Sydney Compression Bra Style 780
How absolutely refreshing to see a different type of bra design! And one that still ticks so many boxes for coverage and compression in the right places! Such an exciting alternative to the run-of-the-mill compression bra options make by everyone else in this space. The Wear Ease® Sydney Compression bra caters for those needing compression after the 'usual' range of breast surgeries. As well, Sydney is ideal for those coping with lymphedema and excellent for women dealing with tissue expanders in the lead up to breast reconstruction.
As a step in design, there are no fasteners to wrestle with. Ideal for sleeping in, day to day wear, and even as a swim top. Sydney is on the higher side of the price range, but comes with all the features one might expect. These include built in pockets (modesty cups provided), luxurious fabric as well as four decent colors. We adore the fuchsia! The Wear Ease® Sydney is definitely up there as the best bra for Lymphedema management and prevention. Our Premium Choice selection. I want one.
Best Bra for Lymphedema FAQs
Can I just pick out the best sports bra for lymphedema?
Short answer – no. Standard sports bras are not designed with post-operative recovery as a requirement. As such, they can have a number of disadvantages when compared to medical compression bras, like some of the ones we’ve reviewed here. Design considerations around seams, bands, pressure points and areas are given significant focus and attention by medical compression bras designers. Compression for lymphedema treatment doesn’t mean full on compression all over. It means the appropriate amount of compression and the right amounts of compression in the right places. Furthermore, it means providing this without seams, bands and inappropriate pressure and constriction.
Is there any problem with wearing my favorite underwire bra?
The general guidance recommends to not wear any underwires or stiffeners (or ‘boning’). The reasoning is that these constrictions can restrict lymph flow. Lymphedema specialists say underwires may contribute to the exacerbation of or triggering of lymphedema. Better to be safe than sorry. Seek a recommendation for a compression bra for lymphedema and prevention.
How long after breast cancer surgery do I have to worry about lymphedema?
Unfortunately we’re told that even if lymphedema isn’t an issue in the days, weeks and months following surgery, the risk remains. The risk is due to the fact that after lymph nodes have been removed from the body, there are less of them to drain the lymph fluid. Hence, lymphedema can be the result in the case of an infection or disease that the body is trying to process through less lymph nodes. The sentinel lymph node biopsy procedure aims to remove less lymph nodes than a standard lymph node removal procedure. So, to some degree, we’re better off! The best approach is to not worry about developing lymphedema, but to choose the best bra for lymphedema prevention. In addition, be alert to any unusual swelling in the chest, torso, arm, hand or breasts, particularly on the side of your SLNB.
Wrapping Up Our Best Bra for Lymphedema Guide
You'll be tired of reading it - if you have lymphedema, or suspect you have it - a medical recommendation is the first step. In the absence of any specific bra brand and style nomination from your medical specialists team, there are some excellent options here. We had to divide our assessment into two categories:
- those bras specifically targeting a diagnosed condition of lymphedema, and
- those definitely designed with smooth, even pressure and optimum lymphatic drainage in mind, but not necessarily calculating that pressure in mmHg (millimeters of mercury!) as the medical garments do!
What constitutes the best bra for lymphedema is largely the same as what makes an excellent surgical bra - period. But sometimes when we're choosing items for our recovery, we really need to focus on our true needs. The thing with breast surgeries is there can be so many phases, lasting over so many years. It really is a process - a journey, rather! So, sometimes we'll need a bra specific to a particular season of that journey. Like, a really sensible, specialised bra right after surgery to apply compression and avoid any lymphedema issues. Like the Sina, perhaps. And other times we'll find a bra that makes us feel happy and comfortable and meet all our needs, say, for breast forms. Yet still it can be one that won't aggravate or bring about any issues with lymphatic drainage or healing. The Sydney comes to mind.
Wherever you are on your breast cancer journey, we wish you love, healing and comfortable underwear. We'd love to hear what garment choices you make! Sending Love, Shona x