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. The 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.

“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.”


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