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What happens if I don t wear a compression bra after breast reduction?

Wearing a compression bra after breast reduction surgery is crucial for proper healing and optimal results. Compression bras provide support, minimize swelling, and help the breasts settle into their new shape and position. Not wearing a compression bra as recommended by your surgeon can lead to complications and subpar outcomes.

Why is a compression bra important after breast reduction?

There are several important reasons why your surgeon will recommend wearing a compression bra after breast reduction surgery:

  • Provides support as the breasts heal – The breasts will be very tender, swollen and feel heavy after surgery. A compression bra lifts the breasts up and keeps them properly supported as the incisions heal.
  • Minimizes swelling – Considerable swelling occurs after breast reduction surgery. The compression from the bra helps prevent excessive fluid build-up and inflammation.
  • Reduces risk of seroma – Seromas are pockets of fluid that can form under the skin at the incision sites. The compression minimizes the spaces where seromas can develop.
  • Decreases pain and discomfort – By immobilizing and supporting the breasts, a compression bra reduces painful motion and pulling on the incisions and sutures.
  • Helps breasts settle into new position – The compression encourages the breasts to settle into their optimal new shape and position after surgery.
  • Speeds healing process – By reducing swelling, supporting the breasts, and holding incisions closed, compression bras promote faster healing.

Essentially, compression bras provide vital protection and support while your body recovers from breast reduction surgery. They help ensure proper healing and reduce many of the issues that can arise after surgery, like significant swelling, seromas, and malposition of the breasts.

What happens if you don’t wear a compression bra?

Not wearing a compression bra as directed after breast reduction surgery increases the likelihood of complications, prolonged discomfort, and suboptimal results. Potential issues include:

  • Increased swelling and bruising – Lack of compression allows fluid build-up and inflammation to worsen.
  • Higher risk of seromas – Seromas are much more likely without compression to discourage them.
  • Incision openings – Lack of support can put tension on incisions and cause openings or widening.
  • Increased pain – The bouncing motion and pull on incisions without support leads to more pain.
  • Delayed healing – Lack of compression slows the healing process for incisions and breast tissue.
  • Poor breast contour – Swelling and lack of support can prevent breasts from settling into their optimal new shape.
  • Stretched scars – Excessive swelling stretches incisions, resulting in more visible scarring.
  • Sagging breasts – Without compression holding them up, breasts are more likely to sag before healing finishes.
  • Asymmetry – Differing amounts of swelling can cause breasts to heal asymmetrically without proper compression.
  • Infection risk – Poor incision healing and excessive fluid build-up raise the risk of infection.
  • Need for revision surgery – Suboptimal results may require additional procedures to correct issues.

How long should you wear a compression bra?

The length of time you’ll need to wear a compression bra after surgery varies based on the extent of your breast reduction and your surgeon’s recommendations. Here are general compression bra wearing guidelines:

  • Day and night for 6 weeks – Wear your surgical compression bra 24/7 for the first 6 weeks, only removing to shower.
  • At night for 2 months – After 6 weeks, you can switch to a less restrictive bra during the day. But continue wearing compression at night for 2 months total.
  • As needed after 2 months – After 2 months, compression is no longer mandatory. But many patients choose to wear sports bras for added support as comfort allows.

Your surgeon may adjust these timelines based on your individual case. Be sure to follow their specific instructions on how long to wear your compression bra after surgery.

Tips for wearing a compression bra after breast reduction

Here are some useful tips for ensuring your compression bra effectively serves its purpose after breast reduction:

  • Wear it properly – Make sure the bra fits snugly without being uncomfortably tight. All areas of the breasts should be contained within the padding and band.
  • Keep it on – Aside from showers and cleaning, the bra should stay on at all times during the initial 6 weeks. Take breaks very sparingly at first.
  • Avoid underwire – Underwire bras can create pressure points on the healing incisions. Stick to wireless compression bras.
  • Watch for issues – Monitor for excessive swelling, fluid build-up, opening incisions, and intolerable pain and promptly report them to your surgeon.
  • Keep it clean – Follow your surgeon’s instructions on keeping the compression bra clean as you heal. Avoid harsh detergents.
  • Use gauze as needed – Use gauze pads to protect irritated incisions or absorb drainage under the bra.
  • Adjust fit as needed – Your compression bra may need adjustment as swelling subsides. Don’t compromise compression for comfort.
  • Sleep in a bra – Wear a sleep bra or your compression bra at night to maintain support for 2 months.
  • Gradually wean off – Slowly reduce wearing time of your bra over several weeks. Avoid abrupt discontinuation.

When to call your surgeon about compression bra issues

In general, call your surgeon right away if you experience:

  • Unrelenting pain not relieved by medication
  • Sudden increase in swelling, bruising or fluid build-up
  • Any opening or spreading of incisions
  • Bleeding from incisions not stopped by light pressure
  • Foul-smelling drainage from incisions
  • Redness, warmth or pus around incisions (signs of infection)
  • Intolerable discomfort or pressure from your compression bra
  • Noticeable asymmetry or malposition of breasts

Don’t hesitate to contact your care team with any concerns related to your compression bra or issues you experience while recovering from breast reduction surgery.


Wearing compression is vital after breast reduction to help minimize complications and ensure you heal properly. Compression bras support and immobilize the breasts, reducing pain, swelling, fluid build-up, and risk of issues like seroma. They also encourage the breasts to settle into the optimal position and contour following surgery.

Going without proper compression makes healing problems more likely and can compromise your results. Be sure to wear your compression bra as directed by your surgeon 24/7 for at least 6 weeks, and longer if recommended. Let your surgical team know right away if you have any concerns with swelling, pain, incisions, fluid build-up or other issues.

While compression bras aren’t always the most comfortable, wearing them diligently after surgery is crucial. Doing so will help ensure your breast reduction recovery goes smoothly and you obtain the beautiful, proportional results you want.