For women who have chosen not to have breast reconstruction after a mastectomy, many have questions about breast prostheses and post-mastectomy bras. Here are all the answers you need to the most common questions asked about breast forms and bras.
Do I Need to Wear a Bra After Surgery?
Your surgeon may recommend that you wear a post-surgical bra after your mastectomy. A post-surgical bra uses gentle compression and massage to prevent you from developing a potentially dangerous condition called lymphedema.
After your incisions have healed and the swelling has subsided, you can begin to wear a post-mastectomy bra. Unlike your regular bra, a post-mastectomy bra has features such as bilateral pockets that offer additional support for your body and breast forms should you choose to wear them.
Why Should I Wear a Breast Prosthesis?
Whether you have had bilateral surgery, partial mastectomy, or lumpectomy, a breast prosthesis can help you regain balance and achieve symmetry in your body. This can prevent problems with your posture as well as neck and back pain. Prostheses can also help your clothes fit better and give you more confidence after surgery.
Are There Different Types of Breast Prosthesis?
There is a huge range of styles to suit different breast sizes and body shapes. To achieve symmetry opt for a breast prosthesis in the same cup size as your remaining breast. If you have had bilateral surgery, choose a pair of prostheses that are proportionate to your body frame.
Some common types include symmetrical shapes like round or oval-shaped forms which are ideal for women with larger breasts or a fuller cup profile. Triangular shaped bras feature tapered edges that suit women with a wider chest wall. Asymmetrical forms or shapers are ideally suited to women who have had a lumpectomy or lymph node removal as they can add volume where you need it most.
Breast prostheses also come in different materials. Silicone breast forms are the most popular as they are ideal for replacing the weight of your natural breast, and offer the most realistic look. Foam forms are lightweight and used for exercise or relaxing at home.
How Soon After Surgery Can I Wear a Breast Prosthesis?
Always consult your doctor before wearing a breast prosthesis after breast cancer surgery. Seams and fabrics can irritate the sensitive skin around the wound site and prevent healing. It is recommended that you wait for 2-8 weeks depending on your recovery timeline before wearing a breast prosthesis to allow incisions and stitches to heal and swelling to subside.
How Do I Wear a Breast Form?
Breast prostheses can be worn either inside a pocketed mastectomy bra or attached to the chest wall using a skin-friendly adhesive. For better security, it is recommended that you wear your breast forms inside a mastectomy bra to prevent slipping or unevenness.
To achieve the best fit schedule a professional fitting with a certified fitter who can help you find a proper fitting breast prosthesis and mastectomy bra for your unique body. During a bra fitting, the fitter will ask for details of your surgery and inspect the skin around your wound site and chest wall. Then, they will take accurate measurements to find the right size and style of bra and breast form.
Are Breast Forms and Mastectomy Bras Covered by Insurance?
Some insurance companies cover the cost of purchasing an external breast prosthesis and mastectomy bra if deemed necessary by a referring doctor. For patients on Medicare, you may be eligible for partial coverage. At A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe, we are happy to contact Medicare or your health insurance provider to verify your coverage.
A breast prosthesis and mastectomy bra can help give you the boost of confidence you need after mastectomy surgery. To find out more about breast prosthesis and mastectomy bras or if you are curious about the fitting procedure, feel free to contact A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe at (954)-453-1262.