History of the Blackwell Bra
Dr. Lea Blackwell has been treating both women and men with breast cancer since 2008. Wanting to find a way to make their recovery more comfortable, she developed the Blackwell Bra. This post-surgical bra is engineered to maximize comfort by providing front-closures, a Velcro-less design, and mesh paneling.
“When I did my surgical training, we wrapped patients in an Ace Elastic Bandage,” says Dr. Blackwell. “In my fellowship training, we had a surgical compression bra that we instructed the patients to wear for six weeks. When I started my surgical practice in Fort Myers, Florida, we used a surgical bra with a front Velcro closure. Every patient complained — it was uncomfortable, but more uncomfortable without it. I started wondering if I could make my own bra.”
In May of 2011, patent attorneys advised Dr. Blackwell that she had a patentable idea. In November of 2011, she applied for a patent for her “post-operative compression bra” and received the first patent in July 2014. She now has three additional patents and two more items:
- Thoracic Compression Bra: a bra for women after heart and lung surgery
- Drain Apron, to help manage drain bulbs after surgery
Since 2013, Dr. Blackwell has worked with a seamstress who makes bras for her patients. She’s given away more than a thousand bras since 2014. In 2018, she decided to officially launch the Blackwell Bra, and in 2019, she presented the bra at the American College of Surgeons Conference.
“All of the bras are made in bright colors — I feel it’s positive and lifts their spirits,” says Dr. Blackwell. “Women tell me that the bra is comfortable, and that they feel protected.”