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Chest Binding Safety 101

Posted by on 12 July 2017
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If you are thinking of undergoing transgender surgery but first want to see how you would look with a masculine chest and are interested in binding to conceal your breasts, there are a few things you’ll need to know. Chest binding, if done correctly, is safe and can be quite comfortable. Before you set out to purchase binding materials, it’s important to inform yourself of what chest binding is and how to do it without accidentally harming yourself.

Chest Binding Safety

What is the correct way to bind?

Chest binding must be done with a chest binder or compression shirt. Do not use household materials like scotch tape, duct tape or ace bandages to bind your chest. These materials are not designed with breathability in mind and can actually hurt you. Ace bandages are made to constrict to help with wound healing and can become very tight, causing you to have trouble breathing.

What are the types of chest binders available?

There are several types of chest binders on the market, and the type you choose depends on your comfort level.

  • Long shirt: This is the most common type of chest binder because it compresses the chest without feeling like a bra. Long shirt style binders also tuck into your pants and can include stomach compression as well.

  • Mid-length: This binder style is like the long shirt except it only reaches to the belly button or just below it.

  • Vest: Vest-style chest binders contain velcro or a zipper, making them easy to take on or off.

  • Sports: This type of binder is like a sports bra and is ideal for exercising. However, it only provides compression and has fewer binding qualities, unlike the other styles.

How long can a chest binder be worn?

Chest binders should be worn no more than eight hours daily. Wearing a chest binder for days at a time, even if it is done following transgender surgery, can cause the tissue in the area to break down. It can also cause skin irritation, back pain and breathing issues. It is important that you remove your binder when you sleep to give your body a chance to rest. Do not exercise with your binder unless it is sports-style.

Binding after transgender surgery

Following transgender surgery, you will have to wear a binder as your chest adheres to its new masculine contours. This binder will need to be worn for 3-4 weeks. Your surgeon will provider aftercare instructions, letting you know when you can take the binder off and how to clean your wounds. After about 4-6 weeks following transgender surgery, you will be able to exercise and resume your day-to-day activities. You will no longer need to wear a binder since you will have a masculine chest.

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