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Supportive care and symptom management

CN60 - OptiBra study: An RCT, optimal postoperative bra support after breast cancer surgery


11 Sep 2022


Supportive care and symptom management


Tumour Site

Breast Cancer


Malin Backman


Annals of Oncology (2022) 33 (suppl_7): S827-S836. 10.1016/annonc/annonc1046


M. Backman1, K. Fridblom2, M. Hassan- Nur3, H. Fredholm3, I. Fredriksson4

Author affiliations

  • 1 Department Of Molecular Medicine And Surgery (mmk), Karolinska Institute, 171 77 - Stockholm/SE
  • 2 Tema Cancer, Karolinska University Hospital, Tema Cancer, Karolinska University Hospital, 17176 - Solna/SE
  • 3 Department Of Molecular Medicine And Surgery, Department of molecular medicine and surgery, stockholm/SE
  • 4 Department Of Molecular Medicine And Surgery, Karolinska Institute, 171 77 - Stockholm/SE


Abstract CN60


Following breast cancer (BC) surgery, approximately 60% of women report some degree of postoperative pain. Analgesics, early physical mobilization, various types of bandaging are effective relieving pain after surgery. No randomized trial has evaluated whether bra support can reduce pain and other symptoms after BC surgery. This study’s aim was to examine if a stable bra with compression was superior to a soft bra on the impact of pain, occurrence of complications, comfort and satisfaction for women having BC surgery.


A randomized controlled trial included women planned for BC surgery (breast conserving surgery (BCS), mastectomy or mastectomy with implant-based breast reconstruction combined with sentinel node biopsy (SNB) or axillary clearance). The women were randomized to either a soft bra (SB) or a stable bra with compression (SBwC) to be used 24 hours/day for 3 weeks. The primary outcome measure pain, measured by Numerical Rating Scale, analgesic use and daily brause rate was recorded by the participating women.


Two hundred and one women were randomized and 184 completed the follow-up. The average age was 60 years old, 60% had a university education and more than 90% used a bra daily pre-diagnosis, with a majority using cup size B or C. Sixty five percent underwent BCS with SNB surgery. Overall, no significant differences between groups were found considering pain rating over time, neither day 1-14 (p=0.098) nor after 3 weeks (p=0.77). However, 68% of all participants, regardless of group, reported some degree of pain during the first 14 days. After 3 weeks 46% of participants still reported pain in the operated breast. For the women who reported pain those using SBwC reported significantly lower pain score than women who used SB (p 0.018). Women who used SBwC reported significantly higher levels of; comfort (p=0.027), sense of security during activity (p=0.032), less difficulty moving the arm (p=0.031) as well as support and stability for the operated breast (p<0.001) compared to those using the SB.


Women reporting any degree of pain 3 weeks after surgery report significantly less pain with a SBwC. The SBwC is perceived to be more comfortable and contributes to higher satisfaction.

Clinical trial identification

Editorial acknowledgement

Legal entity responsible for the study

Malin Backman PI Academic study at Karolinska University hospital.


Has not received any funding.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.

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