If you have had a mastectomy after a breast cancer diagnosis, you may be wondering what your options are to regain your curves. Many women are apprehensive about going through the surgery necessary for breast reconstruction and find that high-quality custom breast forms offer them the look and feel they want. If you have questions about breast forms, read on.
What are the Different Types of Breast Forms?
There are various styles of breast prosthetics, each with its advantages. What style suits you best depends on your lifestyle, the type of surgery you have undergone, and what you find most comfortable. You may even wish to have multiple breast forms in different styles to use in different situations. These styles include:
Weighted Breast Forms
Typically made from silicone gel, weighted forms have a similar weight and feel as a natural breast. Many women like them because they provide a balanced bodyweight post-mastectomy. However, weighted breast prostheses are usually unsuitable right after surgery.
Non-Weighted Breast Forms
Non-weighted breast forms are usually made from fiberfill or foam. Although they do not have the natural weight of a breast, they look great and are soft and gentle on your skin. They are suitable to be worn soon after surgery, and many women like to wear them while doing sports or sleeping because they are so lightweight.
Partial Breast Prosthesis
If you have only had part of your breast removed, you can use a partial or shaper prosthesis to help volume to your chest and match it with your other breast. Another form of partial breast form is a shell prosthesis. These are made from a soft silicone shell that fits over a smaller breast to help it match the larger one.
Permaform breast prostheses are permanently fitted into your bra. They are easy to use, though they can only be worn in that specific bra.
These full or partial forms stick directly to the skin and are an excellent option if you are very active or want to wear clothing that isn’t very supportive, such as a summer dress. They should not be worn in the first year after surgery or during radiotherapy because they can damage your skin.
How Soon After Surgery Can You Be Fitted For Breast Forms?
After your mastectomy, you should wait until your chest wall has fully healed, the swelling has reduced, and your soreness has faded before getting fitted for your breast prosthesis. This takes around six to eight weeks for most women, but it can vary, so ask your doctor for advice. Some women also wish to wait until after they have finished radiotherapy because this can also cause swelling.
Can You Work Out While Wearing Breast Prostheses?
You can exercise with a breast prosthesis, but you may need special forms to use while working out. There are special lightweight silicone breast forms for swimming that are resistant to chlorine and saltwater and dry quickly.
Is the Silicone Used in Breast Forms the Same as Breast Implants?
An external silicone breast prosthesis is made from a similar material used in breast implants and reconstructive surgery, but the gel is cured and covered in a soft, durable film that looks and moves like natural breast tissue.
Do I Have to Wear a Special Bra with Breast Forms?
There is a wide range of mastectomy bras made to fit your external breast prosthesis. The most common are pocketed bras that keep the breast form securely in place as you go about your day.
Mastectomy bras range from pretty to practical and come in different styles, sizes, and colors. For women who are self-conscious of high scarring, there are even bras with lace paneling that offer a subtle disguise.
Does Health Insurance Cover External Breast Prostheses?
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 ensures that breast prosthesis, mastectomy bras, and post-surgical compression bras are covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance companies. However, the allowables and limitations can vary.
Our compassionate and experienced team at A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe can help you by filing a claim on your behalf. For more information on getting a properly fitted breast form by accredited professionals and other ways our team can help you post-mastectomy, please contact us today at (954) 978-8287.