Prostheses and other breast forms are a significant part of post-mastectomy life. For women who choose not to undergo breast reconstruction surgery, a breast form or prosthesis is the alternative for creating a natural shape. While these are invaluable pieces and serve women in a profound way, they don’t suit everyone. Some women may feel uncomfortable when wearing them, and this can be for different reasons, but ultimately breast forms and prostheses aren’t one-size-fits-all, and sometimes, an alternative is needed.
If you struggle to wear a breast form or other prostheses and feel it’s your only option, you have several choices, from custom made breast forms to microbead breast forms that mold to your body.
The Role of Breast Forms
Once you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s essential to act quickly and get the treatment you need. After you’ve received treatment, and if you’ve had a mastectomy, your chest won’t look like it used to, and you’re faced with inevitable choices about how to regain your shape.
Some women opt for breast reconstruction as this foregoes the need for using breast forms completely. Other women may feel better achieving a natural look by using inserts such as breast forms. These tuck into the bra cup and help to add volume and create balance. Specially designed mastectomy bras come with discreet built-in bra pockets meant for holding these breast forms.
Typically, breast forms are made from silicone. This material mimics the weight and consistency of the natural breast and is easy to mold to your chest wall. However, a silicone breast form can make you feel hot. They also require daily maintenance, and the weight can feel too heavy and become uncomfortable.
The other popular type of breast form is made from foam. This lighter form feels more comfortable for some women, especially when the skin on their chest feels sensitive after surgery.
Why Use a Microbead Breast Form?
If silicone forms aren’t working for you, and you like the foam’s lightweight appeal, a microbead form might be an ideal alternative. Microbeads are lightweight and ideal for women who have had enough of hard or heavy prostheses. Because a microbead form weighs much less than a standard silicone form it can revolutionize how a woman feels in a mastectomy bra.
Microbeads are tiny round plastic beads no more than a millimeter thick. This allows breast form manufacturers to fabricate dense yet lightweight prostheses that conform comfortably to your chest wall. The individual beads provide flexibility to the form and will enable it to have some give, like normal breast tissue. This flexible, contouring nature makes this kind of form suitable for a range of cup sizes and bra styles.
Making Your Own Breast Form with Microbeads
If you have a sewing machine and some creativity, you’re capable of making your own microbead breast form. Making your own at home can be a fun and satisfying project and provides you with a suitable backup to your ABC Seamless Microbead Forms.
To make a microbead breast form, you will need:
- Microbeads, e.g., Poly-Fil 100% polystyrene microbeads
- ⅓ yard, 4-way stretch fabric, e.g., swimsuit fabric
- Sewing machine
- A selection of pins
- Hand-stitching needle
- Small funnel
- A foam breast form
- Cut the ⅓ yard of fabric into two equal rectangles.
- To create a template for your microbead breast form, place the breast form on its back on the first piece of fabric.
- Trace around a breast form, leaving a ¼” gap for a seam. Cut around the outline.
- To create a template for the front of your breast form, leave the breast form on its back and drape the second piece of fabric over the top of the form. Trace around the breast form roughly, remove from the form and trace a second line around the outline ¼” wide for the seam.
- Pin the two templates together, working the large front piece inwards, so the edges line up. Hand-sew several basting stitches to secure the front cover to the back with the correct easement level.
- Sew the front and back pieces together using a basic straight stitch, leaving a small opening of approximately 1” at the top to fill the form.
- To prevent spilling the beads everywhere, it’s a good idea to use a small funnel, fitting it into the filling hole. Pour the microbeads into the funnel, so they begin to fill the breast form. You can weigh your original breast form to figure out how much filling you need to add.
- Once you’ve filled it to the right capacity, remove the funnel and pin the small filling space shut.
- Afterward, use a hand-sewing needle and hand stitch the fill hole closed. Ensure you’ve securely stitched over the hole.
Find High-Quality Microbead Breast Forms
While a DIY microbead breast form is a wonderful lightweight back up for your everyday silicone forms, the only way to really achieve an ideal fit is by finding the right microbead breast form for your body.
We carry a variety of premium quality breast forms from a selection of trusted brands. Two of our most popular microbead models include:
ABC Seamless Microbead Form
American Breast Care has a decades-long reputation for quality mastectomy products designed to meet the specific needs of women following breast cancer surgery. Their dedication to innovation had led them to create the seamless microbead form, which is the ideal solution for women who want a lightweight form that offers the same natural shape as silicone.
The ABC microbead form has a seamless fabric construction and a foam supporting structure for added shaping. The symmetrical triangular shape is ideal for women with an average bust profile and a wider chest wall, and can be worn on either side of the body.
The forms come in 12 different sizes to suit most women, and the microbead filling provides outstanding flexibility, allowing the prosthesis to naturally shape to your body.
Trulife AquaFlow Swim Form
Swimming is a wonderful way to begin a gentle exercise regime during your recovery. But, standard lightweight forms often absorb water and shift during activity. Trulife AquaFlow swim forms are filled with plastic microbeads inside that are waterproof and quick-drying. The exterior shell is constructed from a breathable mesh-covered foam, for temperature regulation and perspiration management, making them ideal not only for water-based exercise, but also an assortment of activities from jogging to gardening.
How to Get the Most Comfortable Breast Forms
Many women opt to make their own breast forms as they have yet to find the perfect size and shape prosthesis for their body. Breast forms come in a huge variety of shapes and styles, it can be difficult to sift through them to locate the ideal product for your needs.
The best way to get a comfortable, long-lasting breast form is by going for a personalized fitting with a BOC-certified mastectomy fitter. The team at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe have extensive training and experience with mastectomy patients at all stages of the recovery process. Our compassionate approach to care and expertise allows us to make recommendations for breast forms based on your unique needs.
A fitter will not only take accurate measurements of your bust, underbust, and upper chest, but they will also assess the contours of your chest wall around your surgical site, your skin condition, and lifestyle factors.
At A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe, we also offer ABC Custom Breast Forms, which are specifically designed for your body. We color match the exterior of the forms to your skin tone and use state-of-the-art 3D scanning technology that takes digital images of your chest wall. This data is input into a specialized software program and sent to the lab where your breast forms are fabricated.
The soft silicone construction is durable yet designed for optimal comfort because it conforms to the contours of your chest wall.
Breast forms are one of the best options for creating a natural post-mastectomy shape. However, it’s essential to find the breast form style that suits you, your lifestyle, and your needs. If you’ve been struggling to wear standard silicone or foam breast forms, microbead lightweight breast forms are a wonderful alternative. There are several options available at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe.
If you’re tired of uncomfortable, ill-fitting breast forms, contact A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe for a professional fitting. Call us at (954) 978-8287 to arrange an appointment to talk with one of our experienced staff members.
Protheses and breast forms can make getting an accurate mastectomy bra fitting more challenging. Allow one of our professional fitters to help. We are committed to creating a safe, supportive environment so women can feel comfortable and confident.