Several products have been specifically designed to help women who have had breast surgery through the recovery process. For instance, breast surgery recovery pillows, also known as mastectomy pillows, provide comfort in all the right places and protect your surgical incisions while you heal.
In this article, we explain the different types of breast surgery recovery pillows, how each can help you to heal, and which mastectomy pillow is the best overall choice.
The Different Types of Mastectomy Pillows
There are several different types of mastectomy pillows and each one is designed to relieve pressure on certain parts of the body while it recuperates after breast surgery.
In addition to pillows that support the breasts and chest muscles, mastectomy pillows are also designed to offer support to the underarms, neck, spine, lower back, and knees while you rest and heal.
Below, we’ve outlined the various types of breast surgery recovery pillows currently helping patients to find more comfort while sleeping, sitting upright, wearing a seatbelt, and hugging their loved ones.
1. Mastectomy Arm Pillow
After a single mastectomy or lumpectomy, one breast and underarm typically feel tight and painful for 6-8 weeks, especially if the lymph nodes were removed via the armpit.
While you recover, it is incredibly comforting to have something soft and cushiony between the breast and the armpit. A mastectomy arm pillow not only provides such comfort it also protects tender underarm and chest incisions while they heal.
For double mastectomy or breast reconstruction patients, the post-surgery mastectomy pillow mentioned below, with underarm cushions on either side, is far more comforting than trying to hold two separate underarm pillows in place at the same time.
2. Mastectomy Breast Pillow
When a lumpectomy or breast reconstruction alters the displacement of weight on your chest muscles, a half-moon-shaped pillow with cut-outs for the breasts offers additional support.
Designed to fit snugly under each breast, a mastectomy breast pillow prevents extra muscle pain by allowing the chest muscles to gradually adjust to the rebalancing of weight.
3. Mastectomy Seat Belt Pillow
A mastectomy seatbelt pillow attaches to the seat belt of your car with strategically placed Velcro straps and provides a protective barrier between the tender chest area and the seat belt.
Made with a comforting pillow encompassed in a soft removable fabric for washing, these types of breast surgery recovery pillows can be left conveniently attached to your seat belt for the duration of your healing process.
4. Wedge Pillow – For Upper & Lower Back Support
You might not have noticed it before, but lying down and getting back up puts a substantial amount of pressure on the chest muscles, so the process can be quite uncomfortable for the first few weeks after breast surgery.
Tight skin around the surgical incisions can also contribute to the discomfort involved in this everyday activity. However, using a wedge pillow to prop the upper body during the first few weeks after breast surgery makes getting into bed, sleeping, and getting out of bed a lot less arduous.
During the day, while you rest, a wedge pillow can also be used to relieve lower back pain by slipping it under the knees to lengthen the spine.
5. Neck Pillow
While more commonly used for traveling, U-shaped neck pillows are also beneficial as a breast surgery recovery pillow. On top of providing support for the neck muscles, which can become tight due to the extra strain on the chest after a mastectomy or breast reconstruction, neck pillows add an extra level of comfort when sleeping in an upright position during the first few days after surgery.
6. Knee Pillow
Sleeping soundly and comfortably is crucial to healing and recovery, and research has found that slipping a pillow between the knees not only improves sleep but also helps the body to relax after any surgery. In this case, a special mastectomy pillow is not necessary.
Simply placing a pillow from home between the knees will help keep the hips aligned, the lower back relaxed, and encourage a healthy blood flow during sleep.
What Is The Best Mastectomy Pillow?
According to women’s health experts and consumers, the best and most multi-functional mastectomy pillow provides comfort while resting, sleeping, driving, hugging, and moving around.
For instance, the Post-Surgery Mastectomy Pillow from Intimate Rose is designed to protect the chest and both underarms after breast surgery and throughout the entire recovery process.
Consisting of three removable pillows encased in a soft fleece fabric that can be easily slipped on without raising the arms, this mastectomy pillow offers a myriad of benefits.
Benefits of The Post Surgery Mastectomy Pillow
- The center breast cushion adds a soft and comforting layer of protection over tender chest incisions and surgical sites
- The side cushions keep underarm incisions from rubbing against the ribcage when lymph nodes have been removed
- Hugs from loved ones won’t seem so daunting with the added protection provided by the post-surgery mastectomy cushion from Intimate Rose
- The adjustable shoulder straps mean no excess weight rests on the chest area, and it’s easy to slip on and off when needed
- When riding in a car it offers significant protection from the pressure of a seat belt
- Strategically placed pockets provide breast surgery patients with convenient access to smartphones, cold packs, and TV remotes without having to reach too far
Additional Mastectomy Must-Haves
In addition to comforting pillows, a few additional items will also help make your breast surgery recovery easier and quicker. Ideally, you might want to compile a list and get organized before your procedure so that when you return home to heal, everything you need is already in place.
Wearing front button shirts, robes, or pajamas, having something to hold surgical drains, and organizing a reclining chair and pre-prepared meals are just some of the things that can help you recuperate from breast surgery.
For our extensive list, of everything you need to recover from breast surgery, click here.
There are several types of breast surgery recovery pillows and each one is designed to provide comfort and support in varying ways while the body heals.
Whether you’ve undergone or will undergo a mastectomy, lumpectomy, or breast reconstruction, the types of mastectomy pillows mentioned above will support you in all the right places while you sleep, rest, drive, and recover.
Cancer.Org - Mastectomy - https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/surgery-for-breast-cancer/mastectomy.html
Breast Cancer.Org – What is a Lumpectomy - https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/lumpectomy/what_is
What Happens After Breast Surgery - https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/surgery/after-surgery/what-happens-after-surgery
Checklist For Recovery After Mastectomy - https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/blog/checklist-for-recovery-after-mastectomy/