Following surgery, you’ll face options about how you’d like to recreate a natural breast shape. These choices can seem daunting when you’re going through such a difficult time. Without information, you may feel confused about how to make the right choice for your needs. But, by learning more, you can simplify the decision-making process and get in touch with your authentic feelings around this incredibly personal subject.
The American Cancer Society highlights the various post-mastectomy options and can help you explore what’s involved in breast reconstructive surgery as well as the alternatives.
Having Reconstructive Surgery
A woman can choose to have breast reconstruction following a mastectomy. This can be performed at the same time as a mastectomy, or even months or years afterward. Some women feel it more straightforward to have a reconstruction during their mastectomy since they’re already undergoing an operation. However, having a breast reconstruction significantly increases the recovery time, so it can take months to return to full activity.
There are different types of reconstructive surgery. The surgeon can create a breast using an implant, tissue from another area of the body, or with both. The goal is to create a natural shape in the area where the breast was removed.
The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) requires that all insurance companies which cover the cost of a mastectomy to also cover the cost of reconstructive surgery. The option to have breast reconstruction is not viewed as any less imperative than the mastectomy itself. It is recognized not only for its physical impact but its emotional one, too.
Choosing The Right Support
Since a breast reconstruction builds up breast tissue, imitating the natural breast, it’s crucial to choose a bra that offers adequate support. Implants, in particular, can be heavier and need the support which a mastectomy bra provides. After your mastectomy and surgery, you’ll need to wear a specially designed surgical compression bra until you’re healed.
Sports bras are an ideal full-support option after breast reconstruction. The ANITA Vivana Active Bra includes all the practical features you’d need in a sports bra. It’s breathable and moisture-wicking, light, and well-fitted. The flat seams, preshaped soft cups, and lack of detailing allow you to be comfortable throughout the day.
Using Breast Prostheses
The other option is using a breast prosthesis, also known as a breast form. These are small breast-shaped items designed to fit a mastectomy bra and help fill out your shape. There are different types of breast forms. They can be made from silicone, silicone gel, or foam and come in various shapes.
Most mastectomy bras feature built-in breast form pockets, which make wearing a breast form easy. You don’t need to worry about the prosthesis slipping out of place because these pockets secure the forms in a way that maintains a natural shape. An alternative to using a built-in pocket is to use a skin-friendly adhesive that sticks the breast form directly to the chest wall.
Because breast forms need to fit the contours of your body, they often require specialized fitting. The breast form needs to work with your mastectomy bra and, to experience a comfortable fit, you’ll need to be professionally fitted after your surgery.
Choosing a Breast Form Bra
If you choose to wear a prosthesis, you’ll need a good mastectomy bra with built-in pockets. The ANITA Safina Post Mastectomy Bra is a perfect choice. It’s available in various sizes and colors, featuring delicate tulle embroidery and a semi-sheer upper cup. The two pockets make inserting breast forms easy. Made from a soft cotton jersey, this bra feels unbelievably smooth and comfortable against your skin.
Making The Choice
Both breast reconstruction and breast forms come with benefits and drawbacks, so ultimately, the decision rests on what you want. Women choosing to undergo a breast reconstruction need to talk extensively to their doctor, and women who wear breast forms will need to be professionally fitted to ensure they’re getting the best, most comfortable fit.
Life after breast cancer and surgery can be a considerable adjustment, with lots to process and work through. Getting fitted for a breast form and bra is a crucial part of post-mastectomy life so you can get the best support for your new form. Contact A Fitting Experience Mastectomy Shoppe at (954) 978-8287 to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced staff members.