Donate Shop. On this : First weeks after surgery Material used in prostheses Types of prostheses Buying a breast prosthesis Wearing a breast prosthesis Caring for a breast prosthesis Travelling with a prosthesis Costs and financial assistance Question checklist Key points.
This section provides practical information about breast prostheses for women who have had breast surgery. After surgery, the breast area will be tender, but you can choose to wear a light breast prosthesis called a soft form immediately. The soft form can be worn in a bra that has a pocket post-surgical bra. If the bra is too constricting or rubs against your scar, you can wear a pocketed crop top or camisole. Because it is light and made from a smooth material such as polyester, the soft form can also be worn during the weeks you're having radiotherapy.
When you have recovered from treatment, you can be fitted for a permanent prosthesis.
You may need to wait up to two months after surgery and for six weeks after radiotherapy to give the skin and other tissue time to heal. However, every woman is different so check with your surgeon or breast care nurse about how long you need to wait. Breast Cancer Network Australia BCNA provides a free bra and temporary soft form for women who have recently had breast cancer surgery. The bra is deed to be worn immediately after surgery.
It has seams that avoid pressure on scars, and extra hooks and eyes to adjust the bra for any swelling. To order a My Care Kit, speak to your breast care nurse. Temporary forms tend to be made with foam, fibre-fill or fleece; these are usually worn in the first couple of weeks or months after surgery. Some women continue wearing a soft form at night-time. Another option is to use the temporary soft form with a cotton cover called a knitted knocker, which often includes the shape of a nipple.
To request a prosthesis, visit knittedknockersaustralia. Most breast prostheses for long-term use are made from medical grade silicone gel. The silicone is moulded into the natural shape of a woman's breast or part of Wearing breast forms in public breast. The front surface feels soft and smooth. The back surface that rests against the body varies depending on whether the prosthesis is deed to go into a bra pocket or attach directly to your skin. It can be firm and smooth, flat or hollow, have ridges that are soft and flexible, have adhesive spots, or be made of fabric.
Most permanent prostheses are weighted to feel similar to your remaining breast if only one breast has been removedbut lightweight styles are also available. Some prostheses include a nipple outline, or you can buy a nipple that attaches to the form.
Silicone is a non-toxic, synthetically-made substance that is heat-resistant and rubbery. It can be moulded into the shape of a natural breast. If a prosthesis tears or punctures, the silicone can't be absorbed by the skin. As every woman's body is different prostheses are available in a variety of shapes triangles, circles or teardropscup sizes shallow, average or full and skin colours. There are also partial breast forms triangles, ovals, curves and shells for women who have had breast-conserving surgery and want to regain breast symmetry.
Different prostheses have different amounts or layers of silicone. This allows women to match the breast form to the structure and movement of their remaining breast. Symmetrical prostheses are even on both sides and can be worn on either the left or right side of the body. Asymmetric forms are deed specifically for the right or left side.
The type of prosthesis you can wear will depend on the amount and location of tissue removed during surgery. You should be able to find one that is close to your original breast shape and suits your lifestyle. Your fitter will be able to guide you through the range of prostheses that are suitable for you.
It is recommended that you see a trained fitter who can help you choose the right prosthesis, as well as a pocketed bra if necessary. For some women, having a fitting for a prosthesis can be an emotional or distressing experience, especially the first time. You may be embarrassed at the thought of having another woman see the site of the surgery, or feel upset about needing a breast prosthesis.
Professional fitters regularly see women who have been in a similar situation and will take a sensitive approach. You can visit a store or you may feel more comfortable organising a home fitting. See where to buy a breast prosthesis below. It's advisable to make an appointment.
All about breast forms & breast form bras
This allows you to have uninterrupted time with the fitter. When you go to the fitting, you might like to take a friend with you for support. The other person doesn't have to come into the dressing room with you. You may also find it helpful to see some breast forms before your appointment or even before your operationto give you an idea of what to expect. Ask your breast care nurse to show you samples of breast forms and bras.
You may also find it beneficial to talk to a woman who is using a breast prosthesis. See information about volunteer peer support. You can buy a breast prosthesis from a of retail outlets, including specialist stores that sell only breast forms and related products, the lingerie section of some major department stores and lingerie boutiques. There Wearing breast forms in public also be a free home service available in your area. See information about costs. If you live in a rural area, you might have fewer options for what you can buy and where you can shop.
Making a trip to a shop in a large town or city may be worthwhile. This might also appeal if you don't want to shop where people know you. You can also browse online or ask retailers to send catalogues so you can look at the full range of bras and breast prostheses available. If you see something you like, you may be able to order it, or a fitter can order it in for you. However, it is recommended that you see a fitter to be measured in person, particularly if you are buying a breast prosthesis for the first time.
Ask the store about its returns policy. You may be able to exchange the breast form for a different style or size if the one you buy feels uncomfortable. However, this is not always possible, particularly for attachable breast forms. Call Cancer Council 13 11 20 for a list of stores where you can purchase breast prostheses, adhesive nipples, mastectomy lingerie and accessories. You can also use Breast Cancer Network Australia's local service directory to find a specialist prosthesis fitter in your area. A fitting usually takes 40—60 minutes. You will have privacy when being measured and getting changed.
See a list of questions you might like to ask your breast care nurse or a breast prosthesis fitter. Most fitters carry out the fitting in a similar way:. Wearing a well-fitting bra will ensure your breast prosthesis is comfortable and fits well. While some women find that their ordinary bra, sports bra or sports crop top adequately supports their prosthesis, pocketed bras are specially deed for this purpose.
Features of a pocketed bra include:. Elasticised, adjustable, comfortable straps. Wide straps can help distribute the weight of the breasts on the shoulders. Thick sides that don't cut into the skin and help minimise slipping or movement of the prosthesis.
Should sit close to your chest wall between the cups and have a high front at the centre. The key to a well-fitting breast form is getting it to match your natural breast in shape and size as closely as possible. With a correctly fitting bra, it is unlikely that a form will be noticeable to others or fall out. You can bring your own bras regular, post-surgical or pocketed to the fitting or your fitter can suggest a bra from their stock.
Getting the right fit will help give you a natural shape under clothes. Many women say this makes them feel whole again. Aim for a fit that looks natural and feels comfortable.
The various styles and materials used in making the forms may feel quite different on your skin or in the bra. The fitter will also check that the breast form fits correctly. A good fit will not obstruct the flow of lymph fluid in your body nor cause swelling in the arm lymphoedema.
Women experiences of using external breast prosthesis after mastectomy
Most women find they get used to wearing the breast form, although this may take some time. If the breast form continues to feel uncomfortable or looks obvious, the fit is probably not right. Ask the fitter if you can be refitted. It may take time to get used to having a prosthesis.