The Recovery Brobe is designed to help patients heal comfortably in style—after a mastectomy, breast reconstruction, mommy makeover and more.
By Tonya Johnson
Although the final outcome of a plastic surgery procedure may turn out beautiful, it’s the post surgical healing and recovery process that can be a painful and less glamorous experience for your patient. That’s why Allison Schickel, founder of Brobe International Inc, created the Recovery Brobe.
The Brobe is a bra and robe combination specifically designed for women who undergo surgical procedures like a mastectomy, breast reconstruction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, mommy makeover, and more.
Manufacturing comfortable, adaptive clothing has been a top priority for the company since its premiere product launched in 2012. The Brobe features a detachable bra with a front velcro closure, and bra pockets to hold ice packs—constructed in a soft cotton blend fabric. In the future, Brobe International will add longer length robes—with longer sleeves. The product will also eventually feature two more pockets inside of the robe for a total of six. Additional merchandise includes pillows, gel backs, the Post Surgical bra, and more.
“I spent over a year doing the market research before bringing the Recovery Brobe to market. I spoke with a lot of doctors, nurses and patients about what their “wish list” was for patients in recovery,” Schickel explains. “Then I took all of that information and designed a product that is not just for breast surgery recovery, but also for mommy makeovers, open heart surgery, and organ transplants.”
As the company works hard to expand its range of business-to-business network systems across the healthcare industry, the company is currently in partnerships with multiple hospitals, a handful of oncology offices and approximately 40 cosmetic and plastic surgery centers in the United States. And Schickel says every doctor is different.
“Some love the idea of our bra having pockets for ice packs, others suggest no ice packs for their patients. Some doctors love our bra with snaps, others only want to purchase the velcro only bra,” she adds. Other than that, her clients have been very pleased with the quality and design of Brobe International’s products, she shares. But what has surprised her the most is the emotional responses her company has received from clients and their patients. “I knew The Brobe would be helpful–physically, but I didn’t expect how truly grateful people are that this product even exists.”
Patients may sometimes have trouble managing their Jackson Pratt (JP) drains during a surgical recovery. So another company goal is to make this task less of a burden, by creating post surgical drain belts. Doctors have recommended the Brobe International Post Surgical JP Drain belt to patients coming out of a major surgery. The water-resistant belts are designed to provide four accessible pouches to store a patient’s JP drains underneath clothing or while showering. Adjustable construction is manufactured to ensure every patient gets the best fit possible. The Brobe is designed to eliminate the struggles of the surgical recovery period, helping women prepare to heal comfortably, stay stylish, and relaxed.
Plastic Surgery Practice (PSP) interviewed a double board-certified general surgeon and plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Tarak H. Patel, MD, of Cascade Eye & Skin Centers in the state of Washington; and Frank J. DellaCroce, MD, FACS, a founding partner of the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery and St. Charles Surgical Hospital in Louisiana, to learn how the Brobe has helped their patients experience a much smoother recovery and healing period after plastic surgery procedures.
With COVID-19 pandemic precautions in place, Patel, who typically conducts 80 to 100 breast procedures annually, says Cascade Eye & Skin Centers are currently only providing the Brobe kits for the mommy makeovers and other full body procedures. The practice does, however, provide the Brobe drain belts for all cases with drains. Through his work at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery, DellaCroce says the facility has treated more than one thousand breast surgery cases in a year. Most of the patients travel (based on current COVID-19 guidelines) from around the country and love that he and his colleagues have included the Brobe in the facility’s carefully curated set of patient selections. He says, “All who try it love the comfort, innovative design, and built-in recovery features.”
Plastic Surgery Practice: Why do you recommend patients wear the Recovery Brobe?
Tarak H. Patel, MD: The Brobe kit is both comfortable and convenient for the patient to have for the recovery process. The material of the product and how it feels on the skin along with the fitting makes it the go to product for our practice. In addition, it is aesthetically pleasing to look at. This is especially important for patients who are recovering from a breast augmentation and/or reconstructive surgery.
Frank J. DellaCroce, MD, FACS: We recommend the Brobe for our patients at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery because it is a complete recovery garment that includes internal pockets for drain security and a supportive detachable bra for convenience. It is also made of warm, comfortable, luxurious material that is on par with any robe found in a high-end spa and we think our patients deserve the best.
PSP: How do you introduce the product to your patients?
Patel: We have incorporated the Brobe kit into all of our “mommy makeover” cases. We special order the product for all of our patients. We send the patient a link to the website so they can pick the color and size they would like. It also gives them a chance to read about the accessories and how to use them all. Providing a separate professional brochure that shows the function of the Brobe along with pictures and sizing could also be helpful at a practice. The Post Surgical JP Drain Belt is given to all patients undergoing procedures with drains (breast, abdominal, thigh, etc.). It has been a very convenient option especially during shower time.
Our patients are well educated about the entire kit before surgery day. We try and order the next month’s cases all at one time. Some of our patients have asked for second kits so they can wash one and wear another.
DellaCroce: We specialize in breast reconstruction and adding the Brobe into the conversation is a very natural part of offering them added comfort during their recovery process. We sell the Brobe in our office and proudly display it for patients to see and touch while spending time with Heidi Mire, our patient travel coordinator in our waiting area. We also include it in our online patient exclusive website “store” for our traveling patients to buy and pack into their bags if they wish before their arrival for care at our center.
PSP: How has this product eased the recovery process for your patients?
Patel: Our patients are pleasantly surprised when we provide the Brobe to them for their recovery because it is one less thing they have to worry about – the Brobe not only offers a stylish means to recovery but it is also both comfortable and functional including a front clasping cotton bra, drain belt, and robe with special pockets designed to secure the drains as well as reusable ice packs.
DellaCroce: Adding a secure pocket to place drain bulbs in makes managing the recovery process much easier. The soft fabric and all-inclusive design add comfort and convenience to the overall post surgical experience.
Tonya Johnson is associate editor of Plastic Surgery Practice