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Can You Wear A Bra After Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

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09 Jan 2023

According to the latest research conducted in 2021, it is estimated that more than 800,000 people in the US have had at least one shoulder replaced through surgery. It is a fairly common procedure that is growing in prevalence and that is done more in women than men.

Shoulder surgery replacement scar

Shoulder replacement surgery’s purpose is to reduce pain and increase range of motion for patients, and the reasons why someone might get the surgery are wide ranging. It can be because of shoulder injuries due to aging and sports to more chronic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

As with any surgery, it is normal for people to have questions about what they can or can’t do afterwards. It’s also normal for people to have questions about how they can support a partner who’s gone through surgery.

One of the most common questions, according to our physical and occupational therapist partners, is whether women can wear a bra after shoulder replacement surgery.

The topic of how to put on a bra post-op is very common as women are now faced with an even more limited range of motion during the recovery period. Adding to the confusion can be the different information found online. Some doctors recommend patients move the affected shoulder, while others recommend patients keep the shoulder as still as possible during the recovery period.

What’s important to understand is that every person's recovery process is different. What works for one person may not work for another, so it is essential to listen to the instructions from your personal doctor, physical therapist, and occupational therapist. They will know your situation best and will give you recommendations suited to your needs. 

wearing a bra after shoulder replacement surgery, woman in a terracotta shoulder surgery bra staring at camera

With that being said, it is generally safe to wear a bra after shoulder replacement surgery as long as it is comfortable and does not cause any discomfort or irritation on the affected shoulder. The first few weeks post-op will likely be the hardest, but the shoulder discomfort begins to ease 4-6 weeks after surgery for most women. 

It is also important to consider the type of surgery. If it’s a total shoulder replacement versus a rotator cuff surgery, there may be more restrictions on the shoulder’s mobility and range of motion, which can affect a woman’s ability to put on a bra. 

During the first few weeks of recovery, it is common to experience swelling and discomfort in the shoulder area. Wearing a bra that is too tight or constricting can exacerbate these symptoms, so it is important to choose a bra that is comfortable and provides adequate support without being too tight. Certain types of bras, such as those with thin straps, are usually not a good option since they apply all the breast weight and pressure to one shoulder spot rather than distributing the weight. 

The best bras for post-shoulder surgery will be those that are easy to put on and have a front closure, such as Springrose’s adaptive bra. 

For some women, no bra will be comfortable on the affected side. In this case, the solution is to put on a bra but leave the strap on the affected side hanging down.

Alternatively, it may be necessary to go without a bra. However, many women feel uncomfortable not wearing a bra for those initial weeks and months of recovery following the surgery. 

In this case, Springrose bras can help. Springrose bras are designed to be put on with one hand, so that women don’t need to rely on a friend or loved one to get dressed. There are many ways of putting on Springrose’s adaptive plunge bra, and it can still be used daily after the shoulder has completely healed. With its beautiful design, there is no need to compromise on comfort, functionality, and attractiveness when looking for a bra that you can wear after shoulder replacement surgery. 

Post shoulder surgery bra

In summary, it is generally safe to wear a bra after shoulder replacement surgery as long as it is comfortable and does not cause any discomfort or irritation. However, every person's recovery process is different, so it is important to consult with a doctor or physical therapist for personalized recommendations based on specific needs and situations.

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