Lymphedema and bras?

Shellshocked2018_ Member Posts: 283
edited January 2020 in Health and wellbeing
Hi everyone, I haven’t been on this forum for awhile, I have  a question. I’ve been wearing new supportive bras for a few weeks ( no underwires), discovered since wearing them my arm , surgical area and breast is swelling and tender.
Have been having lymphatic massages every 3-4 weeks as a preventative , started dry brushing, and I have a sleeve to wear during the day when I feel the need, or if I know I’m going to be using my arm a lot doing gardening etc.
Unfortunately I’m a 12E, so going without a bra makes my back sore by the end of the day.
Wore a crop top today, arm feels better, but I need more support due to my breast size , looking for recommendations and ideas that has worked for you.
Has anyone else been down this path?

Thank you in advance.



  • kezmusc
    kezmusc Member Posts: 1,544
    Morning @Shellshocked2018_

    I had up and down swelling for ages.  The more work I did during the day, the more swollen and hot at night.  In saying that though the more you can do with your arm the more it helps I believe.  I found that where the wire sat made a big difference.  If you can get a bra that the side wire sits a bit lower it seemed to help a lot.
    Berlei makes a bra called the "Brazillian".  The wire and side support doesn't come up as high as some of the others, it's lightly padded so very comfy and  pretty. Very supportive.  Even holds the bounce while horse riding :) I've had no issues with lymphodema and do a lot of physical work.  
  • Blossom1961
    Blossom1961 Member Posts: 2,430
    Hi @Shellshocked2018 The more supportive non underwire bras are usually tighter so they can support you. I am a firm believer in the light underwire bra that has padding around the wire. Much more comfortable than those without wire. My mastectomy bras do not have wire in them and are so uncomfortable by the end of the day. I sometimes wear my ‘normal’ underwire bra and tuck my prosthetic in. Quite funny when it creeps its way up and my “boob” is popping out my neckline. Oops.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,392
    I wore the same underwire bra post mastectomy that I had worn pre mastectomy, for 12 months. A persistent, very large seroma scuppered my chances to fit a prosthesis. Obviously, the underwire didn’t sit on my scar or anywhere uncomfortable, but with hindsight it may have allowed longer term changes and healing to occur without any different pressure. When I finally got a prosthesis, a professional fitter demonstrated that a bra without underwire could be both comfortable and supportive. I’d have no issue with using underwire again if required. 
  • Shamrock81
    Shamrock81 Member Posts: 17
    I don’t have a bra answer as I’m still figuring that out myself. I’m currently juggling some Kmart front zip sports bras, Lorna Jane front zip sports bras, mastectomy bras and crop tops and those Ahh Bra things. Mention it to your specialist as she might be able to check the compression level. Maybe even go back for another fitting if you’ve used a bra fitter?
    My swelling gets worse on hot days so perhaps that’s a factor? 
    Good luck 
  • Dory65
    Dory65 Member Posts: 323
    Hi Shellshocked2018,
    gorgeous miniature Schnauzer in picture!
    Re bras, I can recommend Product Code: YYEQ Berlie Post Surgery Deluxe Bras. I got a discount code in my Berlie My Care Kit sent to me by the BC nurse. MYCARE50%. Might still work.
  • smokie08
    smokie08 Member Posts: 157
    Hi @Shellshocked2018_ I found the bras from KMART  quite comfortable (2 for$20) they are wire free. Also I still do the exercises the phisyo gave me after the surgery every day.  I find if I don't do them my arm feels tight and I get a bit of swelling. I have to move my arm quite a bit in my job and have had no problems with lymphedema.

    Take care xoxo 
  • Shellshocked2018_
    Shellshocked2018_ Member Posts: 283
    Thanks everyone for your input.
     I broke my shoulder during radiation treatment in October so I was unable to do my exercises daily, which I was doing religiously before I broke my shoulder. Getting back into doing the exercises again, so we will see how it goes.
    Thanks once again