Ergonomic mastectomy bra design: Effect on core body temperature and thermal comfort performance

Kaoru Leung, Kristina Shin*, Fred Han, Jiao Jiao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The accumulation of sweat and heat between the skin and the prosthesis is one of the common causes of discomfort experienced by post-mastectomy women who wore silicone-type external breast prostheses. This study aimed 1) to investigate the effect of a newly designed heat-reduction mastectomy bra on the thermal responses and thermal comfort performance; and 2) to propose an evaluation protocol for post-mastectomy products. The heat-reduction bra and the conventional bra were made of the same textile materials but the cup of the bra under discussion had a polyurethane cup with a perforated structure along the breast root/inframammary fold. The inframammary fold is often aggravated by heat, sweat, maceration, chafe, and lack of air circulation. Nine healthy male participants were recruited to participate in the study since the women who had undergone double-mastectomy were sensitive about their scars. An ingestible telemetric pill sensor was used to collect the data of core body temperature. Participants performed a 70-min five-phase exercise protocol wearing the heat-reduction bra and the conventional bra together with a silicone prosthesis with ventilation holes on the bottom. Physiological responses (i.e., core body temperature, skin temperature, temperature between bra and prosthesis, skin humidity and humidity between bra and prosthesis) and subjective sensation responses were measured. The results were statistically significant and the conventional mastectomy bra showed a higher core body temperature than that of the heat-reduction mastectomy bra (37.3 ± 0.3 °C to 38.2 ± 0.5 °C vs. 37.2 ± 0.3 °C to 38.0 ± 0.3 °C) starting from the middle of the sitting phase to the running phase and post-exercise resting (F = 164.2, p < 0.001). Both factors, the bra and the phase, have significant effects on the core body temperature (F = 14.5, p < 0.001). The heat-reduction mastectomy bra demonstrated optimum thermal comfort performance in both the temperature and humidity than the conventional mastectomy bra.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103249
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Early online date7 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Core body temperature
  • Heat-reduction
  • Mastectomy bra
  • Thermal comfort performance


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