A Breast Prosthesis or Breast Form is an artificial breast that is used after surgery when the breast has been altered or removed. The Breast Form can be worn to simulate the natural breast and body shape. They come in a variety of materials (usually silicone, foam or fibre-fill) and they can be worn inside the bra or attached to the body, depending on which type you choose.
A silicone Breast Prosthesis is weighted and simulates the natural breast, and therefore it helps the human body to be symmetrical again. When the body is out of balance following surgery of this kind, other muscle-skeletal problems can develop. Back, neck and shoulder problems are common as well as one shoulder dropping downward and inward while the other rises up.
Partial Shapers restore breast shape and symmetry after breast conserving surgery or reconstruction. They are curved to match the body shape, filling the cup perfectly for a natural, balanced look. Partial Shapers are not just for women who have had breast surgery, they are ideal for women who have naturally uneven breasts and following reconstruction may be having tissue expansion and who would like a more symmetrical shape.
If you have been treated for breast cancer and have had surgery that leads to an alteration in your physical appearance, you may choose to wear a Breast Prosthesis permanently, or while you wait for reconstruction.
Common types of surgeries include:
Mastectomy bras are specialized bras that have pockets to hold the Prosthesis. There are many attractive bras that come in varying styles and colours that can be fitted at the time of the Prosthesis. They should be carefully fitted by a trained professional who will take into consideration your lifestyle and personal needs and body shape.
Must I wear a Mastectomy bra?
No, but many women find a Mastectomy bra gives them peace of mind and confidence when wearing their Breast Form. These specially designed pocketed bras will hold the Breast Form in place and stop it from falling out and provides symmetry throughout the day.
After any surgery, you should always consult your doctor as it does vary for all women depending on their individual circumstances. Most women will be able to wear a Prosthesis (a silicone Breast Form) approximately 8 weeks after surgery. A soft, fibre-filled Prosthesis can be worn immediately after surgery until the surgical area is healed.
How long should my Breast Form last?
The length of time that a Breast Form lasts depends on your body chemistry and how you care for you Breast Form. As a guide, a Breast Form will last between 18 months to 3 years. Proper care of the form, such as daily washing and correct storage, will ensure an even longer life for your Prosthesis. Partial Shapers and Breast Prostheses may have a shorter life span due to closer contact with the body.
Wearing a high quality post surgical compression garment can help you during the recovery process in the following ways:
It is essential that the compression garment worn during the recovery period provide targeted compression, something that is not found in a standard girdle or athletic tights. Athletic tights, girdles and sports bras also do not have outside flat seams, an open crotch and are not intended for long term, 24-hour usage. You need a garment specifically designed to compress the skin for surgical purposes and that is comfortable for the length of your recovery. Your compression garment literally becomes your “second skin.”
We recommend that you have 2 garments. Immediately post-op the doctor will put you in a first-stage garment, this garment will become stained and soiled very quickly. In order to maintain continuous compression, you can wear the second garment while the first garment is being laundered.
Our First Stage compression garments are sized to accommodate expected swelling right after your surgical procedure. Our experienced fitters are trained to anticipate your needs after surgery.
We recommend hand washing in cool/cold water using a gentle, natural soap, and air drying your compression garment. This will lengthen the life of the garment and prevent premature shrinkage and/or loss of compressive qualities. Do not use fabric softener or bleach as this may damage the anti-bacterial components of the fabric. To minimize blood stains, was as soon as possible. For stubborn stains a pre-soaking solution of a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide in 2 litres of water, may help.
These garments are designed to be worn constantly. An open crotch allows you to use the bathroom without having to remove the garment. The size and location of the open crotch is designed to be anatomically correct while providing compression in the surrounding areas.