Department: Social History
Accession Number: 2019.38
“This is the binder I wore for 23 hours a day for 6 weeks after double mastectomy with nipple grafts surgery I had in Jan 2019. I attended a private practice in London, as the wait for the same surgery on the NHS would have been an extra year and a half at least and I was in a fortunate enough position to save and fundraise. This was following years of being confused and uncomfortable in my body, and after finally coming out to friends and family in 2016, I knew that having a permanently flat chest was something I was going to do. It felt like the obvious move, it felt right.
The aim of post-operative compression is to minimize bruising and swelling, and to hold the surgical area firmly in place, supporting the intended chest contour. I remember expecting wearing the post-operative binder to be uncomfortable, painful maybe, or itchy, but it wasn’t. Instead it felt supportive, like a vest of pride. Much different to my experience of binding my chest in the two years prior to surgery (which was an altogether different experience!).
It’s now been 12 weeks since my surgery and I’m all healed. Life is pretty good with a flat chest.”
Weston Park Museum