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 as an alternative to restrictive post-op garments. This post-surgical bra is engineered to maximize comfort with an unobtrusive design, fully adjustable front closures, soothing fabric, 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 post-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 November 2011, Dr. Blackwell applied for a patent for a “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
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 her unique post-surgical bra at the American College of Surgeons Conference. She currently partners with Linda Kaplan, the owner of Blue Sky Swimwear, who manufactures the bras in Florida.
“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.”