Even though reconstruction techniques after a mastectomy have improved greatly in recent years, some women choose not to have surgery. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, about 37 percent of women choose not to have reconstructive surgery. They simply choose to live without a breast, or even the appearance of a breast. Many others though, turn to breast prostheses. Breast prosthetics, also known as breast forms, can make it easier to wear clothes more attractively and, according to some, feel more like their old self.
Types of Breast Prostheses
Among the types of breast prostheses for use after a mastectomy are:
Silicone forms, worn externally.
Nonsilicone forms, made of foam or fiberfill, designed to be worn right after a mastectomy or during workouts or hot weather.
Attachable breast forms, designed to be fastened to the chest wall by using adhesive strips.
Soft camisoles with breast forms for wearing right after a mastectomy, while healing is in progress. The form is placed into a pocket in the camisole.
Benefits of Breast Prostheses
After a mastectomy, you become asymmetrical, feeling lop-sided or disproportional. The breast prothetic can help you regain some symmetry and in the process help your posture — perhaps along with your self-image.
Many women report that having a breast form, helps them feel more comfortable with what they are wearing.
Having the right prosthesis can help women stand up straighter, with less spinal curvature and perhaps less muscular pain from slouching.
Finding the Right Breast Prosthesis
The prosthetics come in many different materials, styles, and sizes, with nipples or not. At BFRIN we have on staff, Certified Mastectomy Fitters who will provide off-the-self and custom breast prostheses, along with post-mastectomy bras, and camisoles.
It's crucial to have an individual fitting. When trying on forms, focus on fit, comfort, and style — and whether both sides match.
According to experts, right after the mastectomy, it is recommended that women get a soft foam prosthesis, with no weights, to allow the body to heal. Six to eight weeks or so later, you can begin to look at the weighted silicone and other forms. The silicone breast prostheses are weighted to match the breast on the other side, thus restoring equilibrium.