Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Recovering from shoulder surgery: the BRA conundrum

This post is inspired by a search that showed up on my blog stats this week, and was something I have had to think about a lot over the past two years, but especially since my surgery....

Inspired by a search from google: 
"how to find the best bra for after shoulder surgery?"

This is a real issue! Since I have thought so much about it this year, and other people are obviously looking for the information too (and I've searched myself.... with not much success), I figured it was worth an entire blog post!  Finding a good, comfortable bra is never easy anyway - add in any kind of injury/ pain/ shoulder problems to the affected area and it's an entire bra minefield out there!

I can count 16 doctors and 5 main physios/ shoulder therapists I've seen specifically for my shoulder.  ONE of the doctors was female and ONE of the other therapists was female (and both were pre-surgery).  So, basically, the majority of my shoulder-specific, surgery-specific, and post-surgical care and rehab has been carried out by males..... most of whom, I am quite sure, would have no clue as to the best answer for this question!

To get a bit personal first... I actually lost a LOT of weight between my injury and surgery (mainly from the pain related nausea/ inability to eat, plus stress on my body, I guess) and was borderline underweight with a size 0 being too big at the time of my surgery.  At that time I was wearing soft lacy-strapped tank tops I could step into (nothing tight could go over my head).  I am very grateful that I didn't have to worry about the bra issue until a few months after surgery when I - healthily - started putting on some weight and getting a little shape back again.  However, I think I have bought 6 different styles of bra in that time - all of which have helped (or hurt) at different times.

My main requirements, at various times in the (ongoing) healing process:

1. no metal digging into my spine or shoulder blade

2. no wire digging into my ribs, or the lateral side of my scapula, or under my arm

3. no straps, or very very very very soft straps (and no metal bits in the wrong place)

4. or (some days) racer-back straps - depending on what part of the shoulder is sore (or the sorest), these avoid touching the shoulder blades and come closer to the neck rather than putting pressure on the actual shoulder capsule

5. no seams, or squares of thick material sewn together and digging into my ribs/ scapula/ shoulder

6. Something I can fasten myself!!

..........a) something I could initially step into,  then progress to putting over my head - no crazy reaching behind my back, or attempting to 'swivel' one-handed!

.........b) a front fastening - no crazy impossible reaching or swivelling required

..........c) no fastening - even better (e.g. bandeau style)

7. very adjustable straps...... perhaps not the best look for every shape, but definitely necessary to ease pain levels/ increase comfort levels either throughout the day, or on bad days ........ ideally without metal bits that dig into you anywhere - don't think I solved that conundrum really... just finding the right spot for the adjustable sliders has worked for me.


Bra #1: The ultimate in comfort
My favourite, definitely, has to be these rather shapeless, racer-backed, but wire-free, seam-free, can-step-in-and-out-of-them, don't-even-have-to-wear-both-straps by "Barely There" (note: it may say you can wear them strapless -this does not work.  Except maybe for 5 mins in a doctor's office to display your shoulder blade; but not under a dress where it may shimmy its way down to your belly button.  Lesson learned, lesson shared!  At least I had the dress on....!)



For anyone reading stateside, they come in a two-pack (the model has two on) I have found these at Macy's, at Kohls, at a Bali outlet, but even better - at half the price: "Barely There for Target" - exactly the same ($16 for two)!  They come in lots of bright colours, are extremely comfortable and are also less revealing than most bikinis, so being asked to strip off your top in a doctor's office really doesn't feel as embarrassing (although I think the more times you have to do that, the less embarrassing it becomes anyway....) - and as I said earlier, you can take one or two straps down, revealing a full view of your shoulder blades while keeping yourself covered and secure! 

(Just don't put them in the tumble drier - they WILL unravel and they WILL tie every single other thing in the machine together until the only solution is scissors. And a trip to Target.)

Anyway, those are my favourite and are comfortable to sleep in too, especially when weak muscles need support to stop any pulling causing extra pain. My only complaint with these would be when neck muscles get tight, then I give them a break for a day or two and opt for.....


Bra #2: the shaped bandeau
I went through a strapless phase for a while when I found any kind of strap pulling tightly on my shoulders to be painful (the strapless phase still resurrects itself when my neck pain increases and the racerbacks irritate it a little). I bought a couple of "Charmed" brand strapless bras from Macy's - with detachable straps, (so one strap could be added if necessary).  These ones don't have a clip at the back - so no metal to dig in to sensitive vertebrae; can step into it or get it over your head (if you can manage that) and it has a little more shape:


(Image from here)


I can't seem to find them on Macy's website, but I have definitely seen them there recently and also in a Maidenform outlet (yeah, we have a great outlet mall very close by...)


Bra #3: the totally strapless bandeau
The other bandeau-style I like is by American Eagle's "aerie".  It's a bit tighter around the top, with no strap options, so on days where I have some inflammation I prefer not to wear it, but generally it is very comfortable and stays in place very securely - moreso than the "Charmed" one (although neither of these have ever managed to slip down to my waist!).  Plus, it comes in very cool colours too...
(Image from aerie)



Bra #4: the 'some tops just NEED a 'real' bra

This one fits some of my criteria, but is definitely not an all-day bra for me right now.  Honestly, this is probably because of my rib involvement, so for someone with 'just' shoulder issues, it might not be an issue.  It is strapless, racer-back, front fastening, and has a bit of shape.  It does have little metal adjustable clips, but because of the racer back, these can be positioned in a way where they don't affect the shoulder blade at all. The lace is very soft and means the 'tightness' from a single strap is evenly distributed - much more comfortable.  My only problem with it is that it has thicker squares of material where the edge of the underwire would be and this presses on a sensitive rib 'trigger point' of pain for me.

(Pic from Maidenform. not the best but it shows it from the back... 
for the 'sexy model-in-a-bra' photo, click on the link)


Bra #5: the 'some tops need normal straps' option

Also from Barely There (appropriately named, I guess!) I have found this one to be the most comfortable when I need non-racerback straps.  For me, this means the 'normal' straps do go right across my scapula, which is still super-sensitive, so this is the most comfortable option I've found.  It does have a normal back closure and I probably couldn't have managed it for several months after my surgery, but my right arm can contribute a little something to that 'swivel' now, so it does work!

(Image from Barely There)


Bra #6: Intelliskin sports bra
My newest purchase.... I decided to purchase an Intelliskin zipper sports bra to see how it compared with the T-shirt (which I posted about here last year).  The T-shirt is helpful in supporting my rib pain, but it is still very difficult for me to get on and off - I can do it ALL BY MYSELF NOW!! - but it is pretty awkward, and it is very hot for summer.  The zipper collection came out after I already had my (complimentary - lucky me!) T-shirt and I decided I'd try the sports bra for the summer.

(Image from Intelliskin - there are better images of the back on their website, 
but it wouldn't let me save them)


I've only had it a couple of weeks and the instructions say to wear an hour or so a day initially to let your body get used to the posture and the muscles it supports and stimulates (more info at Intelliskin's website).  This was ordered specifically to help my scapula stay in the correct place, so it's going to take a while for it to get used to feeling different - it's been so used to being in the 'wrong' place for so long, and my muscles really don't know what's going on, so I am taking it slowly (both on medical advice and the 'listen to your body' advice). I do find the elastic strap begins to push in at my ribs (on the sore points) after I've had it on for a while - that will be something that will improve with time.

In terms of bras, I think it meets all my requirements - no metal bits, no uncomfortable straps, no metal to dig in, front fastening, no wire, and no seams that dig in, but it's definitely a full-coverage sports bra (which is what it is designed for).  It is very tight, so it feels like good support right across my back, shoulders and front, but that also means the zip is very tight - I can do it now, although it is still a bit of an effort, so it would definitely have been easier than the over-the-head option last year, but I might have needed some help with the zip.

I do feel when I am allowed to increase my exercises, it will be much more beneficial - at the moment the idea is it is 'helping' my body know the correct position to be in, and assisting with that while I do my very minimal exercise regime.

For anyone wondering about sizing - I am on the small side of the small measurements they give on the site, and it is a very neat (probably perfect) fit on me.  I did wonder about getting the extra small but I made the right decision, so I'd say they are quite small-made.


Also - an important factor (for me) is that all the bras above are not a chest measurement plus cup size - this makes them much more flexible for adjusting/ tightening/ loosening in response to pain as it gives them a bit more flexibility of fit and less rigidity.


SO.... to any men who made it this far - betcha never knew how complicated that could be!


I do hope that somebody somewhere finds the help they were searching for.... the help I couldn't find when I searched before.


And I'm not sure whether this entire post is actually helpful or crazy, so this seemed perfectly fitting:


~ Marilyn Monroe ~



63 comments:

  1. Hello friend,

    Your blog is nice for Knoweledge. It’s a awesome posting. Its very useful for others.

    Dr. Pasquale Longordo and Shoulder Surgery

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  2. Thanks for the advice! I get shoulder surgery next Wednesday and it just dawned on me that I would not be able to wear any of my bras!

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  3. Thank you for this post!!! I injured my rotator cuff in Nov. 2012, and the inflammation that followed made its way to the other arm because of overuse to compensate. Bras have always been a torture device (even without injury). I had given up finding one that I could wear without agony. Then a search for bras and shoulder injury brought me here. I received my 2-pack of the BarelyThere you listed as #1 - and I'm delighted with it! Couldn't find them on Target's site, but Amazon had them for about $23 for the 2-pack. Anyone else reading and planning to order that bra, note that you probably need a size up from their recommended. I'm 36C and bought the large. Their sizing indicated medium - but no way it would feel this good. Best wishes on your recovery!

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  4. Thank you for your comments! I felt a bit crazy writing it - but it is such a big problem and this post has the most hits on my blog for the past month so I guess it wasn't too crazy! I am glad it has been helpful, thanks for taking the time to let me know and to let others know too. I wish you fast healing and relief from your shoulder pain quickly. :-)

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  5. what perfect timing! my shoulder surgery is set for oct 10 and i realized i would not be able to move my arm up for 6 weeks! i'm not small chested...any of the recommended bras seem like a good choice for a d cup? thanks for the info...what a great resource.

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    1. Rotator cuff surgery 4 years ago, and impingement surgery a few days ago for this d cup has been a HUGE issue. After birthing 3 kids, there's no self support for the Barely There brand. Dillard's fitted me with a strapless bra, very uncomfortable. Also wore the strap over good shoulder, and let the other flop around. Not good for an educator in front of kids. Also the Spanx or Cami shaper, just leave the strap off. There is really no good solution for large breasted women and shoulder problems. The doc in rotator surgery removed so much of the clavicle, I now have permanent recess in shoulder where my bra straps hold up these "sandbags".

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  6. Hi! Thanks for your comment, I'm just seeing this now. The best option is probably the Intelliskin one for offering good support - and you can get one that zips up the front, but it's expensive unless you plan to use it for exercising or more general use after surgery (I use mine as a bikini top for my aquatic therapy now too).

    It depends on where you will be most sore as well - number 1 on this page, the barely there ones ('bandini' I think) give you the choice of just using one strap, if necessary, and they are racer-back; for a D cup they'd probably give a more sports-bra effect than a wonderbra effect, but I like them because they have no wires, folds, seams or metal bits to dig in to you., and they are pretty thick - you can actually layer them too, I guess that would give some added support. I can wriggle mine up over my hips too - so no overhead arm movement (but I don't really have hips so that might not work with everyone!) Numbers 2, 3 & 5 are probably not good options but if you do find something that works please come back and let other people know too! And good luck with your surgery!

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  7. Please check out www.RecoveryBra.com The RecoveryBra was designed for after shoulder surgery... is fully adjustable... does not impact incision sites and you can put it on by yourself. Great for going to PT.

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  8. THANKS FOR THE LOVELY COMMENTS! I AM GLAD YOU LIKE THE POST ASWELL! MORE TO COME!

    rotator cuff surgery - Rotator cuff surgery is a complex and highly technical procedure.

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  9. I have not been on my blog often recently for various reasons. I do feel that the two posts directly above this one ought to be deleted. This is a personal blog and a place where I hope people can find genuine information that may be helpful to their recover from shoulder surgery - partly because I am simply sharing my experience of recovering from an extremely complex, little-known procedure, and partly because it is all true. I am not selling anything, marketing anything, and I have given honest reviews in this particular post.

    To Rahul Kesharwani, I do not know why you say "more to come", I do not know you. I hope perhaps something has been lost in translation here; but your link is to rotator cuff surgery, and this blog is not about rotator cuff surgery, although this post may be helpful for women undergoing rotator cuff repairs; I haven't experienced it, so I don't know.

    If your comment have been mixed up in translation and you meant that you like my post, then thank you, but I do not feel that promoting your own website under it is appropriate, especially when you ask for donations.

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  10. To the post from recoverybra.com - I also feel that your post is shamelessly promoting your product. Again, I am inclined to remove the post, but having looked through your website thoroughly, I actually have decided to comment on it instead, in the hope that it may help people make decisions based on fact and experience, since this has been my aim with my blog, all along.

    This bra is claimed to have been created by a former shoulder patient, but that claim in itself makes me suspicious - for many reasons. I can guarantee it would have taken months before I would have been able to even attempt to use this bra - my recovery is not 'normal' and nor was my surgery; my recovery time was always going to be longer than a 'normal' surgery, but my dad had 'normal' rotator cuff surgery several years ago, so I can apply my observations from his experience too.

    The first instruction on using this bra is to lie down.... after shoulder surgery most people can't do that. In fact, most shoulder surgeons recommend sleeping in a recliner initially. Often, an immobiliser sling is required - 24/7. And if the patient can lie down, the straps of a sling going across their back in various patterns would prevent 'lying down into' a bra, of any kind. Following closely to that, the way it fastens at the back is not made clear - any bumps (i.e. velcro, if it does need sized) may still press against the affected area. No photographs makes this difficult to ascertain.

    As a secondary thought to the instruction of getting the bra to the right size 'before the surgery' - many people (I'd guess the majority, but I really don't know) don't really plan to have an accident and require surgery, therefore they don't go from being totally 'normal' to suddenly losing the use of one arm with time in between to size a bra - not really realistic.

    cont....

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  11. cont...
    Multiple following instructions require you to "pull tight" - after my shoulder surgery I could barely put weight on the leg on my affected side..... pulling tight (and therefore also resisting, using Newton's third law of physics, requires resistance from the affected side. In my experience, I would have been unable to pull, or to resist - as would most people after shoulder surgery.

    The neck strap looks horrendously uncomfortable. My ortho-upper extremity-nerve doctor is very against anything that pulls at the neck (even sling straps - he prefers those which, at the very least distribute weight more evenly across the upper body, or even just around the waist/ hips). A high halterneck (as in this style) for me is still painful, causes cramping, pulling, spasm-ing, especially neck pain, and I do not wear it. The instructions do not say how this fastens. My guess would be with velcro, as it looks that way. Anyone who has tried undoing velcro with one hand will appreciate the difficulties in this. I have complained about the use of velcro in post-shoulder-surgery medical devices MANY times in the past 2 years. If it IS velcro and you are expected to resist with your head/neck/ upper trunk muscles, go back to point two.

    Lastly (for a main point - I see many other flaws in your design); I do not see how this is going to preserve modestly, as the site suggests. You don't even have a small/ medium/ large option. There is no way someone sized 38DD and someone sized 32A could wear this bra. The 'modesty' of the large-chested and the small-chested (I'm imagining not-full-coverage versus lots of wrinkled material) cannot possible be answered in the one bra. It also still looks like a bra, with 'cup' coverage; nothing more - not especially modest.

    A final general point on the website: without any photographs showing in detail where it sits and what it looks like on an actual person is not helpful. My blog has ended up as the top hit on google when searching for bras and shoulder surgery - not because I've done anything to get it there, but simply because there isn't a lot of info out there on it. I can only assume in trying to promote your product, you've posted under the blog; so in return I have added my comment to your self-promotion.

    As a disclaimer, I have not tried your bra, but looking at it, reading every page on your website (incidentally attempting to buy it doesn't work), and comparing it to my continuing quest to find a comfortable bra as my injury progresses through various stages makes me think you have not discovered an answer - I personally (and I cannot speak for anyone else) would not give this a second glance.

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  12. Thank you for your post, especially your insight on Recoverybra.com. I will be having shoulder replacement surgery in February and have begun the quest to find a bra to wear during my recovery which I've been told will be about 6 months. I'm 73 years old and have large breasts (40G) and I've had no success in finding a bra to wear during my recovery. I'm thinking that a bandeau bra, although not flattering, is probably my best bet. I thank you for your very informative blog and wish you success with your recovery

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  13. Hi oldblueiis, thanks for your comment. It sounds like you have a bit of a challenge with finding something comfortable. I've been considering writing a part 2 to this blog, as it seems there isn't much info out there. I have continued to change preference sine I wrote the post (although mostly just switching between all the types I own now!) I just - last week - bought an underwear-vest-top, the type usually worn for slimming (like spanx, but a different brand I can't remember right now). For me, this is an attempt to find something that supports my ribs a bit more, but they are designed for ladies larger than me so I wonder if looking at something like that might be helpful for you. The one I bought (in Macy's) actually said on the label "try stepping into your garment" - definitely much easier than trying to get it over your head; and with more stretch than most bandeau-styles. I just bought one, on sale, to give it a go, but it might be another option for you to explore. I think they do make strapless ones; or you could leave one strap off (I do this with some things) but still have a bit of extra support from the good side. Regarding my comments on recovery bra, I know I made clear I haven't tried it, but I was talking to my Dad today - he had rotator cuff surgery to repair a shredded muscle that a bone spur had been sawing through for 30 years. He healed in record time, he was amazing - completely amazed his own surgeon too. Taking all that into consideration, I asked him if he could have laid down flat on his back and pulled something across his front right after his surgery - he said not a chance. So I stand by my comment on that, whatever end of the spectrum you are at. I hope that your surgery goes well when the time comes, and I'd be interested in hearing if you do come up with a solution - it might help someone else reading this too. Thank you, and good luck.

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  14. I enjoy writing concerning annuity tools but I also love to look over other individual’s blog posts. When I spotted your blog, I am really happy that I discovered your web site.

    bez ramienok podprsenka

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  15. Thanks! And thanks for taking the time to tell me that :-)

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  18. This is not a place for spam advertisement-type comments. Unintentionally, I wrote about something that it seems very few others have written about - objectively. If anyone else attempts to sell their product with a comment here - unless is it specifically a MEDICAL helpful suggestion (even still, there is a fine line) I will report commenters as spam instead of simply deleting comments. If you want to pay me to advertise a HELPFUL product, get in touch via my profile. If you want me to try a product out and write about it honestly, get in touch, send me it - the concept of what is 'comfortable' seems to change frequently but if you are selling a rubbish, unhelpful product, that has NOTHING to do with the issues mentioned in this post, I will write an honest review. And if you want to advertise, it would be clearly displayed as an advert, not as an endorsement (unless you find the perfect bra). Please stop.

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  19. love your blog. i am a week and a half out after my rotator cuff and labrum tear repair surgery. sorry..i am typing with one finger. i love all your suggestions, but not quite sure what you feel would be best for larger breasted women, i am 5'9" and wear about a 38D to a 40c. i too have lost weight, but with the three incisions, one main one affeffecting my scapcula, it is hard to hold hold them up. i had my third child with brain surgery after and the girls have never been the same...ah..breast feeding the first two and the trauma of the third...i need some help... i am due on a vacation in 3 weeks and would like some lift. any suggestions?thank so much...grinnay

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  20. Hi Grouse Mouch, thanks for your comment. Sorry it's taken me a few days to see it and get back to you. Honestly, I'm not the best person to answer regarding larger breasts, but I'll try to think what might make most sense to me. It depends on exactly where on your scapula the incision is. I definitely thing the barely there bandeau option might be worth considering as you can layer them (adding some extra support) and can also take one strap down - they market this to wear with one-shouldered tops, but I've found it's been great on days where my shoulder is just too sensitive. Sounds like you're in the US (?), Target does the 2 pack for about $12, so it'd be easy to try. In Macy's and Kohls, they have various 'barely there' options (and a similar Jockey idea - but a bit more expensive; not hugely so - but if you wanted to layer, the double pack of bandeaus is definitely more economical). I do know of larger breasted women who will perhaps wear them to lounge about the house, or to bed, rather than go braless, as it's more comfortable - so that would be my first guesstimate. I'd even contemplate some kinesiotape under the bandeau for added support (I have done this, although more to hold me scapula 'in place' when it felt like it was threatening to move), but it did give added 'security'! Also, you get those stick-on strapless bras with no strap around the back or neck - using something like that under it might also be helpful - especially with lift, they actually do work for that!

    Kinesiotape on its own can actually be really good - but it's kind of an expensive disposable option! It definitely can be helpful at times.

    Barely there also has some shaped options - no wire, but I think with 'normal straps, so depending on your pain and where the incisions are, they may be helpful or may not be - I do find that brand focuses on comfort, and have found their ranges in Macy's, Kohls and 'Barely There for Target' which has the same things, but cheaper.

    The intelliskin one would probably be the absolute best as it completely distributes the weight, gives lots of support, and has the zipper option - which is wonderful. They are ~$100, but I love mine. I have had good experiences with the company when asking questions, either via phone or email - you might have specific questions they could help you out with (especially regarding exactly where your scars are). I use mine as a bikini top (not really for sunbathing!) so depending on your vacation destination, it might be easy to try for that - I searched forever for comfortable swimwear - nightmare!! As a bra, it is a bit of a sports-bra 'squash' type, but it would depend on what you wear it with I guess. They are small made - if you're between sizes based on their measurements, I went the size up and it was the right decision.

    I've recently discovered the 'shapewear' tops (with thin straps) are helpful for my rib pain - for me I don't need a bra under them, but wearing a shaped - probably wirefree - strapless bra, or the stick-on one, under one of those might be good for shape, lift and comfort, if you felt you wanted a bit extra. I think they do them with underwire support - for me, any wire is too painful on pressure points. Those specifically say 'step into this top' - so I think they are designed that way and not just me taking advantage of having no hips!

    It sounds like you are definitely deserving of that vacation! Please feel free to stay in touch/ ask further questions if you'd like to continue the conversation here, or contact me at outofthelymelight@gmail.com

    If you do find any of these options helpful - or something else, please feel free to share and help out others in a similar position - guys don't know how lucky they are!!

    Best of Luck! G

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  21. rotator cuff tear

    We are a medical office specializing in the treatment of orthopedic problems such as sports injuries, joint, bone pain and more information then visit - Website: totalsportsmedicine.com

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  22. Please tell your readers to buy healing supports like M Range Shoulder Abduction Kit - MGRM online at Angooor.com

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    1. No. I am not a sales site. Nor will I recommend something I know nothing about.

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  23. I haven't had shoulder surgery yet, but this is very helpful. I want to be as comfortable as possible. Going without one of these is unacceptable, so I appreciate your insight. http://www.andrewkerstenmd.com

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    1. I suspect you never will (at least not in the near future) have shoulder surgery. At least the two posts above this, shamelessly promoting their own sites are doing it honestly.

      Delete
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  26. Oh, thank you so much for this post! I have hypermobility and bras with straps tend to partially dislocate my shoulders/shoulder blades when I wear them. Trying to find suitable support has been an epic quest - your descriptions and suggestions have been majorly helpful.

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  27. I found a Canadian company, Bramakers Supply, that sells two styles of front closure clasps to convert your expensive bras. They are easy to install and work great. I am recovering from reverse total shoulder arthroplasty and could not hook a bra to save me. I wrote about them on my blog ... Go to willetwithbrokenwing.blogspot.com. No commercial interest. Just wanted to be able to dress myself!

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  29. Lopily - gosh, that sounds difficult! I hope that you find something that can prevent that for you - please feel free to share your suggestions too :-)

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  30. Willet, thanks for your comment and sugggestion - somehow, despite thinking I was a bit crazy for writing this post it is still the first hit on Google for "shoulder surgery bra" - and I still haven't seen a female orthopaedic surgeon, so maybe that's why! ;-) I think anyone ending up on here looking for info will find your link really helpful.

    I had a look at your blog and sent it to another blogger friend I've connected with. She has had the same scapular muscle attachment surgery I had (among MANY others) - you said you haven't met anyone else with the same as you (in one post) and I think she is the same position, and considering something very similar, from what I know - I think she is going to contact you, so hopefully you can find some support in one and other. The blogosphere can be wonderful! Good luck with your ongoing recovery!

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  31. To add a little info...my physical therapist has suggested that underwire bras might transfer some of the weight-tension from the shoulder to the rib cage in the "zaftig" female. I think she might be right. Also a tight fitting strapless bra worked well for me early post op but required an assistant to hook it in the back as there was no rotating. Needing someone to help you dress every day is a pain, no matter how willing they are. The front closure thing in an underwire bra has worked best for me.

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. "how to find the best bra for after shoulder surgery?" ... bras4women.blogspot.com

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    1. Nothing to do with shoulder surgery - a fake 'blog front' that half loads and then takes you to a sales site. FYI.

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  34. Thank you so much for your detailed descriptions above. I'm having rotator cuff surgery in a couple of weeks and slightly terrified. I unfortunately will have to pop in to work each week to do a few administrative things and I really want to wear a bra for that! I couldn't find the first bra's you listed as the most comfy in that brand but I did find some very similar listed on Amazon for a great price. Score! Again, thank you so much for sharing your experience.

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    1. Jenn, sorry for a late reply. Thanks for your comment- my craziest blogpost (definitely seemed it while writing it!) is still filling a gap apparently nobody else is talking about!I guess you will have had your surgery by now - I hope it went smoothly and I hope you are recovering well. And hopefully the bras are working out! Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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  35. I too have having trouble finding a bra. I had shoulder replacement in November, then a rotator cuff tear in December. Currently wearing a sports type front fastening bra but looking for something more supportive and like normal bra. Problem is I need a 34F and most front fastening ones stop at a DD cup.

    https://shoulderreplacementblog.wordpress.com/

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  36. We wondered why you had not reviewed the "RecoveryBra" designed exclusively for this issue. www.recoverybra.com

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    1. You reviewed a product that you never tried. We have thousands of satisfied patients and we have sold out of our inventory. We are turning people away. And, it was invented by a shoulder surgery patient (both shoulders) and patented. Best wishes.

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    2. Well.... I have thousands of readers who have commented here and privately via email in the past 3+ years this post has been up & not ONE posite comment about your product has come up. I did state that I tried to buy one but the site did not allow it, nor could I see all of it. You had one small phototherapy didn't show the back.

      I said I was willing to honestly review any bra if anyone contacted me.
      I made perfectly clear that the review was my opinion based on your description, and I'd been unable to purchase your product. I stand by everything I said. In 3 years if you'd 'sold out' of a wonderful product & had so many satisfied customers, my completely ad-free little personal blog wouldn't be hitting the top on Google, bing, yahoo & ask on the topic of bras and shoulder surgery. ... a source of amusement for me. My 'biggest achievement through my injury!!

      I'll say it again, my shoulder is still wrecked, if you think I am wrong about your product, I'll happily write an honest review if your want to send me one. I can put you in touch with several others who I know with severe shoulder issues to review it too if you're genuine. But since it took over 3 years to 'sell out' & then criticize what I said, I have no evidence to change my mind.

      Nor does my dad, who - as I said 3 years ago - also read your full instructions and said he could not possibly have made those movements (1. 'Lie on back' - forbidden!) after his (full thickness) rotator cuff repair.

      Successful companies don't turn people away, it's called supply and demand. But if you are so confident it works....

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  37. Thanks so much for this blog. I am having a shoulder replacement surgery soon. I am a full-busted granny and could not figure out what to buy. Have you ever heard of Ruby Ribbon undergarments? I am going to try them because they offer great support but feel like wearing nothing. Keep posting please. I am not looking forward to the recovery period.

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    1. Sorry for a delayed reply, yes, I definitely need to keep posting... (unfortunately!) I still have a lot to say.... I think I'm mentally composing part 2 of this post - my needs (ie pain) & shape have changed since writing the initial post.

      First, good luck with your surgery, I hope it goes smoothly. If it offers any kind of comfort, my dad had both hips done when he was 50 & a shoulder surgery a few years later (retired pro sportsman).... Close to 15 years on, he is still very active, and I have (jealously!) watched him bounce & handspring (& I'm the gymnast!) on a trampoline track. His philosophy - work hard, see results. As an ex-gymnast, I figured I'd do the same, but mine is way more complex. ... peeling back layers of an onion.

      Basically if your surgery goes well & you work hard with rehab, age really doesn't matter.

      I haven't heard of that brand, but I'll look it up, thank you for sharing.

      The ones I recommend from Target/ Barely there can be layered for added support, and are designed so they can be worn with one strap down & you can step into them - very helpful initially. Same with shapewear-style tops that you step into. Worn together, they would be more supportive. Something along those lines - can step into it & leave one shoulder down, or very loose is probably essential initially.

      And in all seriousness, kinesiotape or an ACE bandage is a great back up/ addition.

      The intelliskin front zip is a great option, but I'm not sure about sizing - they are very good at responding to queries. Downside is that is way more expensive than the others, but good for rehab/PT - & I wear mine for swimming/aquatherapy too. It has been worth the money.

      The recovery will be tough initially, it is major surgery... but it's a well established procedure with a well established protocol, so that is a great thing to focus on.
      Good luck & please pop back & let me know how you're doing.... I will try to play catch up on here :-)

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  38. Thanks for sharing helpful information, I really like your all post. I will bookmark your blog for future updates.
    Shoulder Surgery

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  39. Thanks for this blog. I'm recovering from shoulder surgery and need to return to work. I need to wear a bra and you've given me some options I hadn't thought of. So greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Toni :-)
      I'm glad my crazy post continues to be helpful for people! Best wishes for a speedy recovery from your surgery. G

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  40. Thank you for taking the time to start and maintain this blog post! Like others who've commented, I'm a woman preparing for shoulder surgery and appalled by the lack of informed recommendations on the bra question. Your description of your process is the most detailed and therefore most useful one I've found.

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    1. Thank you. I hope your surgery went well (and your bra hunt did too!) - sorry I am just replying, need to keep on on that 'maintenance' part a bit better ;-) Best of luck with your recovery!

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  41. Great information, you have a wonderful blog and an excellent article.
    alternatives to elbow surgery

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  42. I have just stumbled across your blog - firstly in a weird way it is comforting to hear that women all across the world are having the same problem trying to find a good bra for after shoulder surgery, and secondly, congrats for calling out all the people trying to promote their product, which I agree are useless. (especially RecoveryBra). I'm in Australia and about to have total shoulder replacement in 3 days. Being large busted, I have found absolutely nothing except for some flimsy crop top type bras to be able to use afterwards. It is quite depressing! I like the idea of the front closure sports bra you have bought - I reckon I saw them on Amazon. Unfortunately I can't always get things shipped here either! Thanks again for your honest account and reviews!

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    1. Sorry, I have neglected my blog a bit and I'm just seeing your comment now. I hope your surgery was successful & your bra hunt has been successful too. If you get a change, it would be good to know what you did find. (As a last resort, sometimes kinesiotape gives that little added extra support - feels great until you have to rip it off 😭😭!!)

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  43. I am so happy to find this blog post. I have a shoulder injury and finding a bra had been a challenge since I wear a G cup. Front closure bras are hard to come by in my size. I usually wear a 34G but I sized up to a 36G and got a Montelle Pure Silk front closure bra. It la not the most supportive but it's very comfortable. The wires don't poke me and the straps are very soft.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! I hope that means someone else can get that info if they need it too! I hope that your injury is healing and I'm sorry I'm just seeing your comment now! Healing wishes to you!

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    2. Thank you so much. Its five months after my shoulder injury now and after months of physical therapy I am so much better.

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  44. Shoulder replacement surgery is an option for treatment of severe arthritis of the shoulder joint. Arthritis is a condition that affects the cartilage of the joints. As the cartilage lining wears away, the protective lining between the bones is lost--when this happens

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  45. THANK YOU for this post. I am having surgery next week and have been concerned about the bra issue. This was extremely helpful for me. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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  46. Thanks for sharing these ideas for us to glean from! I have been frustrated for several years searching for a legitimate option for my size 34G body. After spraining my neck and shoulder, and breaking my collar bone 3 years ago, I am now finding it necessary to search for gentle support as well as full coverage that comes in my size. Of course, I have come to the conclusion that the need for a bra at all may be cultural. But I still live in this culture (Texas). I sometimes go with a snug tank or tee and a cute denim vest over that and just skip the bra idea all together. Or else a snug tank with a loose darker colored, patterned over-shirt to hide anything that might distract other people. I do wear those option in public, even tho they are not my first option, depending on the day and how much neck/jaw/collar bone/shoulder strain I can or can't handle at the time.

    I am encouraged to know I am not the only one who lives with these issues. Thank you Everyone for sharing! I may look into some adhesive strapless & bandless bras, or some strechy strapless bras possibly with nursing pads (even tho I am not nursing) or something to make them thicker to keep everything covered. Also going to investigate the options you girls have shared here! Thanks All!

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  47. I've had 3 operations now on my shoulder the last one 6 weeks ago & I am still unable to wear a bra that is comfortable. My local bra shop had nothing suitable. Its very diffult being a 14DD. Has anyone found anything suitable yet.

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  48. Thank you for this blog! I recently tore my left rotator cuff and 5 years ago I tore my right labrum. I honestly can't remember the tricks I used back then to get into and out of my bras back then. I'm anticipating surgery within a month and have my mri/mra tomorrow morning. This site is a quick reminder of what I did last time and also recommending new bras that I need to try out before surgery.

    Thanks!

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