After undergoing double or single mastectomy for breast cancer, the females either plan to undergo reconstruction surgery or plan to wear custom prosthetic breasts. Breast reconstruction surgery is done using innovative techniques which have their own pros and cons. The first choice in breast reconstruction is tissue transfer wherein fat or skin is taken from other parts of the body, often the abdomen, and a new breast is created. The other choice is breast implantation. Implants procedure is less expensive than tissue transfer.
For all those who are concerned about having another surgery, don’t have time to recover from the one or more procedures involved, have other health issues, or just think reconstruction is not for them, choose to wear custom prosthetic breasts or artificial breast forms.
If you think that breast reconstruction is not the right choice, but still you are eager to have a breast shape – a breast form can help you look balanced even without surgery. If you want the appearance of breasts but reconstruction holds you back – prosthetic breasts for cancer patients is the most recommended option.
Custom prosthetic breasts, for cancer patients, are considered to be the fastest way to fill the space where your breasts were. With custom prosthetics, slip into your bra or bathing suit, and you will appear, as close to the same, as you looked before the surgery. This is a big relief for many cancer survivors, especially after losing a breast and making so many major decisions. Further, we have dealt in detail about prosthesis and other questions that you might have on your mind:
Which Style of Breast Prosthesis Should ONE Choose?
Prosthesis are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and skin tones. The materials used are designed to move, feel, and weigh similar to a natural breast. Therefore, it’s vital to choose prosthesis that suits your lifestyle. You should take into consideration the different clothing styles you want to wear with your prosthesis.
- Full Breast Prosthesis – These types of prostheses cover your entire breast area. They can be designed on the basis of your breast shape / size as well as skin tone. If both of your breasts have been removed, you can keep the weight which you think you are most comfortable with.
- Partial Breast Prosthesis – Partial or shaped prostheses are best suitable for those women whose part of breast has been removed. It is worn inside pocketed bra and are shaped in a way to fill the complete breast outline. Likewise other prosthesis, they are also made out of silicone.
- Shell Breast Prosthesis – These types of partial prostheses are used by women who have different sized breasts. The soft ‘shell’ of silicone fits over your smaller breast so that it matches the larger one. This type of prosthesis is also chosen by women who have undergone breast reconstruction surgery. If there occurs asymmetry after the surgery or you are waiting to get a breast implant, then the shell prosthesis is most suitable.
- Stick on Prosthesis – This prosthesis directly sticks onto your breast area. These prostheses are specially preferred by women who wear less supportive bra or are highly active. You can wear stick on prosthesis with a strapless dress or tops. But these prosthesis should not be worn for more than one year after the surgery or while you’re taking radiotherapy to avoid causing any damage to your breast skin.
What Are The Shapes Available for Breast Prosthesis?
Breast prostheses come in following three shapes:
- Symmetrical – The symmetrical forms are available in oval / triangular shape, which you can wear on both sides of your breast.
- Teardrop – The teardrop shape is worn by women who have fuller breast in the lower and outer part but less mass above their nipple. They can also be worn on either of the sides.
- Asymmetrical – This shape of breast prosthesis is worn by the women who have undergone extensive surgery. Or who require extension that can fir under the arm or upper chest wall. They are designed for either of the sides.
More Breast Prostheses FAQs
Which all type of weights are available in breast prosthesis?
There are available different weights in silicone prostheses. Women who have undergone single mastectomy surgery, they can select the most suitable weight depending on the weight of their other breast. If you have undergone double mastectomy, you can choose the weight that suits you and your physique.
On the other hand, the full weight prosthesis gives you a more balanced feel as it is in accordance to your other breast. However, if you need a large size, a lightweight version would be more comfortable.
If the breast prosthesis is not in level with your other breast or if there is some problem with the accurate measurement, it might move around, causing problem for you. If this occurs, get in touch with the professional fitter. They may either reassess you or will give an advice to wear a different type of bra.
What material is used for making breast prostheses?
The breast prothesis are made up of silicone. However, you can also get foam prostheses. They are lighter and cooler and mostly adorn by those who are physically active. This style is more suitable during the warm weather conditions. There is other prosthesis which is filled with polypropylene beads. They are much cooler as the air is able to circulate properly within.
Will I be able to get breast prosthesis that matches my skin tone?
Although it is very difficult to achieve the exact match, there are available, many prosthesis, which can come close to matching your skin tone. When the prosthesis comes closer to matching your skin tone, you will feel comfortable and confident. We, at Pink Ribbon, strive to find a breast prosthesis that works well with your skin tone.
Are breast prostheses available with backings?
The material used in the back and front of the prosthesis is usually the same. But some have a different backing such as fabric, or a soft panel of gel, designed to make them more comfortable. With a custom prosthesis, backings can be customized to fit an uneven chest wall.
Can I wear my prosthesis at the time of swimming?
Special swim prostheses are made which can be worn at the time of swimming. Moreover, they don’t get damaged by salt, chlorine and water. Swim prostheses are available in several varieties.
How long will your prostheses last?
Each of our prosthetic breasts for cancer patients has a warranty of 2 years. With proper care and maintenance, your Custom Prosthetic Breast Form will last well beyond the two (2) year warranty period.
How to get the best fit for custom prostheses?
The patient comes to our certified fitter for the preliminary check. We will take pictures and scan your body with and without a bra. The information will be sent to a designer who will make the prosthesis to match your chest wall and the size of the prosthesis you wanted. If any changes are required, the fitter will mark the changes. The changes are made prior to submitting the scans to the designer.
We always make sure to give the patient the symmetry and satisfaction in trial itself so that no problem occurs in the final product.
Does breast prosthesis need special care?
No, you don’t need any special solutions or decontamination kits to clean them. A soft soap and warm water is all that is required to clean your breast forms.
Custom breast prosthesis – Cost and insurance
We provide breast forms of major brands, and our BOC fitters can accurately fit your breast form and other mastectomy products. However, the custom breast prosthesis offered by American Breast Care and Amoena are always considered the best. The cost of the custom prosthetic breasts for cancer patients offered by us is highly competitive.
It is also possible that your custom prosthesis cost can be reimbursed, either partially or in full, by your medical or health insurance plan. It’s important to have your doctor write a prescription for your prosthesis so that you can be reimbursed by your insurance company if prosthetics are covered by your plan.
For more questions on reconstruction and breast prosthesis, visit our FAQ section here.
We, at Pink Ribbon, provide a full range of post-mastectomy products that caters to the need of women after any type of breast surgery including radical mastectomy and reconstruction. We have professional fitters licensed by American Board for Certification or BOC Certified Fitters. They have years of expertise in fittings of breast prosthesis, mastectomy bras, lymphedema full leg garments and arm sleeves, and other mastectomy apparel.
Are you looking for the best natural-looking breast prostheses?
At Pink Ribbon, we understand how important it is for you to feel comfortable wearing your breast prosthesis. Our certified breast form fitter can help you select the right one for your breast size and shape, ensuring you get the best fit as well as natural look and feel.