Breast prosthesis or forms are often worn by breast cancer survivors who choose not to undergo breast reconstruction. Wearing a breast prosthesis can provide a feminine figure and help women feel confident, but they can be expensive and don’t last forever.
This guide will give you an idea about what to expect from an artificial breast and how to get the most wear from your investment.
The lifespan of a breast prosthesis
How long your breast prosthesis lasts depends upon its manufacturer, design, and material. Many breast prostheses come with a warranty, which should alert you of how long it is expected to last. In general, breast forms last about one to two years.
The more you know about your breast form, the better you will be able to care for it. Before making a purchase, ask our certified fitters what prosthesis will be best for your lifestyle.
Types of prosthesis
Breast prostheses are designed to imitate your natural breast; various sizes and shapes are available to work with your body and lifestyle. A breast prosthesis can be symmetrical or asymmetrical and self-adhesive or designed to be worn with special garments that hold the prosthesis in place.
Weighted breast forms can help prevent imbalances caused by a unilateral mastectomy, like poor posture or shoulder drop.
Depending on if you’ve had a unilateral or double mastectomy, the ideal shape and style of the breast form will vary. A BOC certified fitter can recommend a breast form right for your body.
Breast shapers or shells are additional options for women who wish to enhance their natural breast tissue. The ABC Massage Form Shaper is constructed from medical-grade silicone and features a concave, ribbed backing that massages the breast tissue for better circulation while promoting optimal airflow for temperature regulation and enhanced comfort.
Materials for prosthesis
Breast forms are most commonly made from silicone gel, foam, or fiberfill. The silicone variety is generally more expensive but better imitates the weight and texture of natural breast tissue. Silicone breast forms are also often able to adhere directly to your chest wall so you can wear them with regular clothes.
Foam or fiberfill breast forms are lightweight options that are suitable for wearing directly after a mastectomy. Many women also prefer to wear this type of breast form during exercise or hot weather. The Jodee Sports Form is filled with lightweight monoprene beads with a layer of vented polyethylene foam and mesh fabric for perspiration management.
Finding the right prosthesis
Purchasing a well-fitted breast form will make it more comfortable to wear and help the prosthesis retain its shape for longer. It’s important to get fitted for a prosthesis by a certified fitter so you can purchase the right form for your body.
Even if you’re ready for a replacement breast form, you’ll need to be re-fitted every one to two years so your forms continues to fit comfortably if your body changes.
Care for prosthesis
Silicone breast forms are durable, but they can’t be repaired if they are punctured or cut with a sharp object like scissors or pins. You should also take care to keep oils, perfumes, and lotions away from your breast form as they can deteriorate the silicone or fabric exterior.
Read the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how to care for your breast prosthesis. Most breast forms should be washed daily after use and stored in a cradle or mesh bag to help it retain its shape when not in use.
How to wear
Many women prefer to wear prostheses with mastectomy bras for added comfort. Even adhesive breast forms can be worn inside of a mastectomy bra pocket for added security and extra ventilation between the skin and silicone.
Purchase your breast form knowing that you’ll eventually need a replacement. Some insurance companies pay for regular replacements of breast forms and mastectomy bras.
You’ll need a prescription from your doctor for your insurance plan to cover the cost of a breast form. A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe works with various insurance providers so you can get coverage for breast prostheses.
Finding a breast form can be an overwhelming experience for women navigating the post-mastectomy world. The certified and compassionate team at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe can offer personalized post-mastectomy fitting services to help you find a lasting breast form to boost your confidence and that you’ll enjoy wearing.
Call us at (954) 978-8287 to book your session with a certified fitter and find out more about the care required to keep your breast form at its best.