Post-Breast Surgery Boutiques for Stylish and Comfortable Clothing

The right products and a proper fitting

Before you have a lumpectomy, a mastectomy, a bilateral mastectomy or reconstruction surgery, make an appointment to visit a breast surgery boutique, which may also be called a mastectomy boutique. A boutique environment, often staffed by survivors who can relate to what you're going through, is a great comfort at a time when most of us need all the comforting we can get.

Mastectomy Boutiques

This kind of boutique is filled with attractive clothing that doesn’t look medical. It's a place where you have many choices; you don't just have to settle for what's needed following breast surgery. You'll find plenty of feminine, stylish options. If you don’t know of a boutique in your area, ask your surgeon’s office for a referral to a few that are a reasonable commute by car.

Boutiques, as opposed to surgical supply stores and lingerie stores with a small area of mastectomy products, have private fitting rooms where you may feel more comfortable being measured and trying on bras and prostheses.

Board-Certified Mastectomy Fitters

Ask if a board-certified mastectomy fitter is on staff at all times before you make an appointment. Certification means the fitter has participated in an extensive education program, completed over 250 hours of supervised training, then passed a qualifying exam. It comes from nationally recognized boards such as the ABCOP (American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics) or the BOC (Board for Orthotists/Prosthetists Certification).

A certified fitter's expertise ensures that you will be properly fitted for a prosthesis that meets your needs, is comfortable, and helps you feel confident about your personal appearance.  

In-Person vs. Online Purchase

It's important that you go to a boutique in person, at least for an initial fitting. Buying a mastectomy bra and selecting one or more styles of prostheses is not like buying any old bra. You can't be sure of a good fit unless you are fitted. Buying mail order from a catalog or online, initially, can be a disappointing experience. 

A measured fit is necessary because the breast prosthesis is worn after a mastectomy to restore balance and symmetry with the remaining breast. In the case of a bi-lateral mastectomy, a set of two prostheses will be fitted to re-create the previous size.

Breast prostheses are important not only visually, but medically as well, which is why they're covered by most insurance plans. If you don't replace the weight of the missing breast, it can change your posture and, over, cause back and neck pain.

After a mastectomy, you need to be fitted for a wire-free bra and a prosthesis that won’t ride up, is in balance with your remaining breast, and makes your breasts look the same size under clothing.

After a bilateral mastectomy, the fitting may be somewhat easier than when only one breast has been removed. It's about selecting and fitting a matching set of left and right prostheses that are a comfortable cup size and weight, won’t ride up, are flattering and natural looking, and are in keeping with your overall shape.

Your First Visit 

On your first visit to a boutique, you need to purchase a camisole for support and to secure the surgical drain(s) that will be used if you're having a mastectomy, lymph node dissection as part of a lumpectomy, or reconstruction surgery. The camisole is usually worn home from the hospital following surgery.

When your surgeon feels you are sufficiently healed, you can return to the same boutique and a certified fitter to be fitted for a partial or a full lightweight silicone breast prosthesis to wear for breast symmetry if:

  • You find that following radiation after your lumpectomy, the treated breast is smaller than your other breast. Often this is not the issue until years later when your untreated breast naturally ages and the treated breast does not. All that is usually needed is a partial, very light silicone prosthesis, which is often referred to as a shaper, that can be worn in a pocketed bra or inside a regular bra that holds it securely in place so you look balanced in your clothing.
  • You aren't having reconstruction following a mastectomy or a bilateral mastectomy and choose to wear a prosthesis(es) when wearing lingerie, swimsuits, sleepwear, formal wear, and everyday clothing for work and casual wear.
  • You're having a form of breast reconstruction using implants, which can take a few months to complete. A soft silicone prosthesis, often referred to as an enhancer, allows you to look the same in both breasts as reconstruction is in progress.

Post-Breast Surgery Clothing and Related Products

A variety of clothing items are available that may suit your post-breast surgery needs and preferences.


You can choose from a variety of full-size light silicone prostheses in different styles, skin tones, and weights, including hollow ones that are perfect for warm weather and swimsuits.

Full-size, hollow prostheses (which are not ideal for swimwear or daily wear) are light enough to be comfortable for women with sensitive skin.

Partial forms are also a great option. These partial forms can be used in mastectomy bras, in swimsuits, and formal wear.

Shapers, shells, and push-up products can accommodate any area of the breast that needs fullness. Some of these prostheses can inserted in place under a bra or even be attached to your with a specially formulated skin adhesive.

While you may need new bras every year following your surgery, if there are no changes to your body, you can plan on getting a new prosthesis every two years.

One prosthesis, depending on the style, material and other design features, can vary significantly in price. Quality products average around $400, but you may be able to find them for significantly less. Custom prosthetics may cost several thousand dollars.


Soft bras are available for women who prefer wearing a bra during the several weeks of radiation following a lumpectomy. While many women do go without one, others choose to wear a soft bra so their breasts don’t dangle and make them uncomfortable.

Mastectomy bras come in a variety of styles, colors, and designs. They no longer look surgical. Once they're on, you can't tell by looking that they have pockets holding one or more prostheses securely in place. Bras range in price based on style and start at about $35.


Pocketed fashion camisoles come in a variety of seasonal colors and some have lace accents. They can range in price but, usually, start at about $50.


For a woman who's had a mastectomy, pocketed sleepwear can accommodate a soft cotton prosthesis or a lighter weight silicone prosthesis to give you a balanced look. These also work following a bilateral mastectomy.

Pajamas or a nightgown can range in price from about $30 to over $100 based on style and fabric.


Modern swimsuit styles are feminine looking and incorporate prostheses pockets that are undetectable. You have a lot of choices, too, including one and two-piece suits in popular styles. If you want to cover surgical scars, you can get a high-front suit designed specifically for that purpose.

One of the most popular styles is the tankini, which is a tank top worn over a separate bottom. Its popularity is due in part to convenience in the restroom because you don't have to take down the pocketed top and then get it re-situated afterward.

Suits vary quite a bit in price, depending on features, fabric, and style of the suit.


Most boutiques carry a large number of dress and casual wear seasonal hats that offer complete head coverage for during and after chemotherapy. The hats look and feel like today’s popular styles in fabrics that are specially selected for sensitive scalps.

Sports hats are in large supply, as well as sleep caps. Turbans and caps, in an assortment of colors, are popular for lounging at home. Scarfs for all lengths are stocked for the woman who prefers to style them to her outfits for a different look.

These head coverings give you alternatives to wearing a wig each day.


Wigs are a staple in most boutiques, and you can usually try them on in private. After you've selected and purchased a wig that you like, you can book an appointment with a stylist who can trim and shape it for you.

Boutiques usually carry wigs made of synthetic hair, which are easier to care for and less costly than human-hair wigs. Wigs range in price from under $100 to a few hundred dollars depending on the quality of the wig and the style. These include hand-tied wigs or those with a monofilament top that gives the appearance of a natural scalp and allows you to part the hair.

Other Products

In addition, a boutique often stocks products that you may need during treatment and beyond, such as:

  • Wig care products including shampoos, combs, brushes, and wig stands
  • An eyebrow kit to create brows until they grow back after you're done with chemotherapy
  • Scar cream to reduce the appearance of surgical and reconstruction scars

Insurance Coverage for Post-Mastectomy Products

Before you shop for post breast surgery clothing and other products, check with your insurance company as to what they cover initially and annually, plus what providers are part of their plan. Since coverage can vary make sure you know what your deductible and copay will be. Select a shop that specializes in post-breast surgery clothing and products and is an in-network provider under your plan.

If you are covered by Medicaid or Medicare, you need to find out what you are covered for beyond a prosthesis(es) and bras, both initially and annually.

Resources for When You Don't Have Insurance

Underneath It All and some other boutiques maintain banks of cleaned and recycled breast prostheses. Typically, if you commit to buying a regular-priced bra, they'll fit you and give you a recycled prosthesis for free.

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