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24 April 2019

Surgical incision lines and the importance of seamless cups

In any type of breast surgery, one of the surgeons’ most important responsibilities is to make sure that the result is both aesthetic and appealing. Another important aspect is securing that the recovery period becomes as safe and comfortable for the woman as possible. In both instances the type of bra used post-surgery plays a very important role.

There is a wide range of post-op bras available on the global market, however, it may be quite tricky to choose a bra that addresses both the clinical and the user requirements.

Many clinical experts, including breast care nurses, consider seamless cups in the bra a very positive feature. The reason for this is that the fabric in the cups must be smooth and not cause any friction on wound dressings, wounds or scars. A seamless fabric protects and cares for the post-surgical incision and the skin and does not cause any delayed wound healing, which would increase infection risk and pain. 

When we develop the Carefix post-op bras, we take the location of the surgical incision lines into consideration to ensure that all our bras meet the above criteria. 

Location of incisions

Heavily influenced by plastic surgeons, the breast surgical techniques have evolved rapidly over the past decades and now also often include plastic surgical techniques for an improved aesthetic outcome after breast cancer surgery.

Whenever possible, the surgeons do their best to avoid creation of wounds/scars on the upper part of the breast, especially on the part that may be visible under clothing, but apart from that, incisions can basically be placed anywhere on the breast.

The below illustrations show the most common examples of location of incision lines after breast conserving surgery. The tumours are visualized as small, red circles, and the orange colour around them resembles the tissue excised:

Illustration 1[1]


Incision line after mastectomy surgery:

Illustration 2 [2]


Different options for incision line placement after breast augmentation surgery:

Illustration 3[3]


Since one or more surgical incisions can be placed anywhere on the breast, it becomes very important that there are no seams at all on the cups of a post-op bra. Seams  may cause skin and wound irritation, which  may leave the wound open for a longer period of time and increase infection risk dramatically. An infection will probably prolong the healing process and in many cases also cause a big, conspicuous and intimidating scar that the woman will have to live with for the rest of her life.

It is, however, not only seams on the cups that irritate. Seams on the sides of a post-op bra may irritate potential incisions related to lymph node dissection, and seams on the back may conflict with potential incisions from harvested donor tissue used for breast reconstruction.


Incision line after lymph node dissection:

Illustration 4[4]


Incision line after harvested tissue from the back:

Illustration 5[5]

No matter the placement of the incisions, it is crucial to avoid irritation of them, as it  may delay the wound healing process and lead to pain and discomfort.

In general, it is just comfortable to wear a post-op bra without seams, as the wearer does not have to worry about itchiness or scratchiness, redness, skin irritation or pain caused by seams. 

That is why all Carefix post-op bras are real seamless, hence carry no seams on the very important cup area, nor have any seams on the sides or on the back, as many of the competitive post-op bras have.

Carefix post-op bras are real seamless

All Carefix post-op bras are so-called 100% seamlessly knitted bras. As stated above, our Carefix post-op bras have no seams in the cup area, on the sides, on the back or between the under bust band and the cup. Furthermore, we use our knitting technology with compression and support zones to provide the support and compression required in the post-op bra.

These features make our bras extremely suitable for all types of surgery in the breast/chest area, e.g. mastectomy, lumpectomy, augmentation. lift and reduction and also for reconstructive flap surgery, where skin, fat tissue and muscle are removed from the back, leaving the patient with an additional wound on the back to care for.

The no-seams advantage is achieved by the tubular knitting technology, where the bra is knitted in one full piece. The following sewing process only adds seams in the strap area, at the piping in the armpits, and if the bra has front opening there will be seams in this area. However, the bra is designed in such manner that none of these seams will be contacting the surgical area. This is an important advantage when comparing seamless bras to cut-and-sew bras where there may be seams located at the surgical site.

The following photos illustrate that competing cut-and-sew post-op bras have seams in critical places, where the Carefix post-op bra does not.

Illustration 6: ©Tytex 2019

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