Following breast cancer surgery, women are presented with several options to restore their natural breast shape. A breast prosthesis is a perfect alternative for women who want to avoid the added trauma and recovery time required for breast reconstruction immediately after a mastectomy. A breast prosthesis can mimic the look and feel of natural breast tissue to help you achieve balance and symmetry.
You can wear some breast forms directly on your chest wall using skin-friendly adhesive. However, for better security, mastectomy bras come with pockets to hold different types of breast prostheses without the risk of shifting throughout the day and causing unevenness.
To achieve the most natural appearance and comfortable fit, it is essential to find the right type, style, and size of breast prosthesis and mastectomy bra for your body. Here is our guide to breast prostheses and bras for breast cancer patients after surgery.
Types of Breast Prosthesis
Breast prostheses help restore your natural balance, correct your posture, and ensure your body is symmetrical. Just like the women who wear them, breast prostheses come in various shapes and sizes. Some of the most common types of breast prosthesis include:
Foam or fiberfill
Lightweight and suitable for use immediately after mastectomy surgery, foam or fiberfill breast forms consist of a foam or fleece core covered by a soft fabric outer layer. They are perfect for exercise, sleep, and wearing inside leisure bras worn around the house.
Silicone breast forms are the most popular type of artificial breast prosthesis because they provide the most natural weight and look. They are constructed from a silicone shell filled with silicone gel or beads. Though most are designed as a weighted breast form, some models are made with aerated silicone for an ultra-lightweight option.
While you can wear standard foam or silicone forms in the water, swim forms are ultra-lightweight and specifically made to withstand UV rays, chlorine, and saltwater. They also have a ribbed concave backing that allows for optimal water drainage and airflow, preventing skin irritation and allowing the form to dry quickly.
Partial breast forms and shapers
Partials and shapers are created for women following breast-conserving surgery or a lumpectomy. They are meant to provide volume and definition to enhance your remaining natural breast tissue.
These forms are perfect for women who have undergone a radical double mastectomy and have an even shape that can be worn on both sides of the body. You can find them in various shapes, including teardrop, oval, and triangle.
Asymmetrical forms are designed to be worn either on the left or right side of the body. They are ideally suited to women who have had a unilateral mastectomy and lymph node removal.
These forms often feature a tapered end that can be positioned under the arm to add volume along the side of the chest wall or pulled up toward the top of the chest to create the appearance of fullness at the base of the breast.
Custom breast prosthesis
A custom prosthesis is one of the most comfortable and secure options for women to wear after breast cancer treatment. A custom breast form molds to your body’s natural contours and precisely matches your skin tone, giving you the most realistic looking alternative to breast augmentation or reconstructive surgery.
At A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe, we offer custom-made American Breast Care forms. We use a 3D scanner to take digital images of your chest, underarms, and back during your appointment to generate a virtual mold of your breast form. This data is sent to an off-site laboratory where dedicated technicians fabricate your custom prosthesis from lightweight silicone.
When it is ready, you’ll return for a custom breast prosthesis fitting, during which our trained and certified fitters can show you how to wear and care for your breast form. We can also perform a bra fitting to help you find the ideal mastectomy bra style for your body type at this appointment.
Wearing a Prosthesis Correctly
Although you can wear your breast forms adhered to your chest, you risk slipping or shifting if the adhesive deteriorates due to sweat or movement. A mastectomy bra offers the safest way to wear your prosthesis for better confidence and comfort.
There is a wide variety of mastectomy bras available. Building your post-mastectomy wardrobe with a wide selection of bras ensures you will always have the right bra for the right situation or activity.
Post-surgery bras are recommended by doctors for use immediately after breast surgery because they provide gentle compression that can reduce the risk of lymphedema and encourage blood flow for faster healing. They also feature front closures and Velcro straps for easier dressing if you experience a reduced range of motion.
A leisure bra is constructed from ultra-soft materials with improved air permeability to help regulate your temperature. They can be worn during low-impact exercise, around the house, or to sleep.
You should avoid wearing underwire bras after any type of surgery on your breasts to prevent damage or irritation to the sensitive skin around the remaining breast tissue and the surgical site. A seamless, wire-free mastectomy bra is the ideal alternative to standard underwire bras, offering maximum support and optimal comfort.
A mastectomy bra features sewn-in pockets to hold breast forms, adjustable straps to provide a better fit, and wide bands for added support. Look for seamless styles to wear under tight-fitting garments and molded cups to enhance your shape.
Physical activity is a critical part of recovery after breast cancer. It helps to strengthen your body, improves your immune system, and builds your self-confidence. A high-quality sports bra supports your body during physical activity by reducing breast bounce and keeping you cool and dry with moisture-wicking technology.
Find the Perfect Breast Prosthesis and Bra at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe
Schedule a prosthesis fitting with a BOC-certified fitter to find the right breast prosthesis and bra for your body. At A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe, our certified fitters take accurate measurements and consider your lifestyle so that we can make the best recommendations for you.