3 Tips for Wearing a Bra After Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder surgery can be performed on a patient to correct a shoulder joint that has been injured, diseased, or degenerated from conditions like osteoporosis. Since about 80% of people with osteoporosis are women, shoulder surgery to help females improve their range of motion and pain in this joint is quite common. However, a lot of women do not realize that the bra they wear after shoulder surgery can affect their shoulder recovery times. This is, of course, because traditional bras with over-the-shoulder straps can put a strain on the shoulder, or shoulders, and slow or even damage the healing process. To avoid this issue after surgery, consider waiting two weeks before wearing a bra again, wearing a different type of bra, and, above all, focusing on your recovery.

1. Follow the Two-Week Rule

Many surgeons recommend that female patients receiving shoulder surgery wait two full weeks before wearing a traditional bra. A traditional bra is one that clasps in the back, includes two over-the-shoulder straps, and may or may not include underwire. These first two weeks are the most important for shoulder recovery, and it is common for patients to be advised to avoid exercise and strenuous activity during this time period. While it is a good idea to avoid wearing any type of bra for the two weeks after your surgery so that you can also avoid further shoulder stress, you may be able to wear a more non-traditional bra if you feel the need to.

2. Opt for a Non-Traditional Bra

Depending on the type of shoulder surgery you have received or are expecting to receive, your surgeon may allow you to wear a non-traditional bra that does not put extra strain on the shoulders. Unlike traditional bras, these bras do not use the shoulders to support the chest. Before choosing to wear any of these bras, though, you should still consult your surgeon to make sure they will not affect your recovery.


Strapless bras are those that do not include any straps, and they often rely on strips of silicone lining to keep the bra in place. They can also use sturdy underwire and molded cups that distribute the bra's support evenly along the chest. A lot of strapless bras come with removable/addable straps, too, so that you can use the bra with straps later on after your surgery recovery.

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Racerback bras do include straps, but they use a T-shaped back that keeps the straps closer to the sides of the neck and less on the shoulders. Some of these bras are also convertible, so their straps can either be removed or changed to the traditional over-the-shoulder shape. However, some women may be advised to still not wear a racerback bra after certain shoulder surgeries, so it's a good idea to consult your surgeon or doctor before choosing to wear one post-op. 


When you aren't sure what type of bra you'll be able to wear after your shoulder surgery, you can choose a convertible bra, which includes straps that can be converted from the traditional over-the-shoulder style to either strapless or racerback. This versatile bra can be worn after your surgery recovery, too, if you'd like to switch between styles easily. As an added tip, know that you can also wear this type of bra as an over-the-shoulder style with just one strap, removing the strap over your recovering shoulder, similar to a strapless style with a little extra support.

Front Closure

A lot of surgeons recommend women wear front closure bras after shoulder surgery because, although they include straps, they do not put much pressure on the shoulders compared to other bras. There are some front closure bras that include a racerback design, too, which is even better for shoulders recovering from surgery. 

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3. Stay Focused on Recovery

While it may feel odd to wear a different type of bra than you are used to or to not wear a bra at all for a few weeks after shoulder surgery, it's important to remember that the healing process won't take forever. It's also more important to focus on the work you may have to put into physical therapy or into changing your dressings than to be distracted by the feel of your bra. The more you allow your shoulder to recover now, the better you'll feel in the long run.


Undergoing any type of surgery can be daunting, but it's a stepping stone to a healthier version of yourself. When you're thinking about wearing a bra after shoulder surgery, know that you have plenty of safe options, like strapless bras, racerback bras, and front closure bras. Order from Leonisa online today.


  • julia Cresci

    I recently had extensive shoulder repair. 2 completely torn tendons, a partially torn bicep and they found more damage during surgery that didn’t show up on the MRI. I’m 5’3", 130 lbs but very large heavy breasts. I have spent a fortune trying all kinds of bras and cannot find one that is comfortable and doesn’t dig into my shoulders. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have been told that the wrong bra can damage my shoulder again.

  • Shari H

    Wondering if the two who left comments regarding shoulder surgery postop bra for large-breasted women found anything. If either of you found something. please comment on what you found. I’m trying to be prepared for my summer surgery.

  • Mary jo Marshall

    I am post op from November 23’ and finding a bra for large breasted women who had shoulder surgery is like finding a needle in a haystack!

  • Sharon Cranford

    I am very large breasted and everything I’ve read so far is geared toward smaller breasted women. I am concerned as what to wear after my shoulder replacement in 2 weeks.

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