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Breast Forms / Prosthesis

Breast Forms / Prosthesis

Mastectomy

A mastectomy is surgery to remove a breast, performed either to treat or to prevent breast cancer.

There are four main types:

  • Total mastectomy--removal of breast tissue and nipple
  • Modified radical mastectomy--removal of the breast, most of the lymph nodes under the arm and often the lining over the chest muscles
  • Lumpectomy--removal of tumor and a small amount of normal tissue around it
  • Radical mastectomy--removal of the breast, lymph nodes and chest muscles. This is no longer common.

The surgery performed depends on the stage of cancer, size of the tumor, size of the breast and involvement of lymph nodes.

Breast Prosthesis, or Form

An external breast prosthesis, or breast form, is an artificial breast worn to simulate the natural breast and body shape. Full breasts and partial breasts (known as equalizers, enhancers, or shapers) can be purchased to balance the appearance depending on what type of surgical procedure was performed. These forms come in a variety of materials (usually silicone, foam or fiberfill), and they can be worn inside a bra or attached to the body with a special adhesive.

The type of prosthesis required is determined by the amount of breast tissue that is removed.

A prosthesis can be worn against the skin, inside the pocket of a mastectomy bra, or attached to the chest wall. Prosthetic devices are designed to look feminine while ensuring comfort.

Following Mastectomy:

Breast forms are designed to look and feel similar in weight, texture, and color to the natural breast. They are worn outside the body in a close-fitting, supportive bra or a special pocketed bra. In addition to creating a symmetrical appearance, the form will replace weight to restore the body's natural balance. When the body is out of balance following a mastectomy, other musculoskeletal problems can develop. Back, neck, and shoulder problems may occur as there is a tendency for one shoulder to drop downward and inward while the other rises. Women often report that their bra rides up or moves around when there is no weighted breast form on one side of the bra.

Even if you are considering reconstruction at some later time, it is important to wear a weighted form during the intervening time.

Non silicone breast prosthesis: This prosthesis is a lightweight breast form made of polyurethane foam or fiberfill and can be worn immediately after a mastectomy. They are ideal for temporary wear right after surgery or for leisure activities, including during exercise, swimming, or hot weather. They are lighter and cooler than silicone breast forms, but they do not drape like the natural breast.

Silicone breast prosthesis: These forms are designed for full-time, daily wear and are generally fitted 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. Designed to restore your body's natural symmetry and balance, they adapt to your body temperature and move just like your natural breast. A silicone breast prosthesis is weighted (small metal core that assists in keeping the form from shifting) to help the body remain in balance and avoid the back, neck, and shoulder problems that may otherwise occur.

Attachable breast prosthesis: An attachable breast form is fastened to the chest wall using self-adhesive strips or Velcro tabs. These move with you and can be worn with a regular bra.

Fitters' Notes: If you have recently undergone surgery and/or radiation therapy, your skin may be extremely sensitive. Therefore, we do not recommend self-adhesive breast forms prior to follow-up treatment once skin has completely healed.

For hygenic reasons, due to the adhesive nature of this product, Contact breast forms cannot be returned or exchanged. Please order carefully.

Following Lumpectomy:

Depending on the amount of tissue removed during surgery, the size of your breasts, and your lifestyle, you may need to consider a breast form. Partial shells and forms are available to equalize where tissue was removed.

Partial breast prosthesis: Also called an equalizer, enhancer, or shaper, this is a device made of foam, fiberfill, or silicone, designed to be worn over a woman's own breast tissue to enhance the overall size of the breast and to create a fuller appearance after a part of her breast is removed, as in the case of a lumpectomy. A partial breast prosthesis can be worn with a regular bra or a post-mastectomy bra.

Following Reconstruction

On occasion, women who have reconstruction will find that there is still a noticeable difference between the remaining breast and the reconstructed breast. When this is the case, you can be fitted with a partial form to create a symmetrical silhouette.

Post-mastectomy bras resemble regular bras but with one important difference - they have spandex stretch pockets on the inside which help hold and keep the breast prosthesis in place.

4 Breast Form Shapes: Triangle, Teardrop, Oval, Heart-shaped

Each shape fits a specific need.

  • Triangle shape breast forms are the most versatile. They fit a variety of body and surgery types. This shape most closely resembles the mature breast with shallow profile fit (more breast tissue under nipple than above). The breast form should be worn with the smallest curve at the top of bra cup.
  • Teardrop breast form has a taper at top extension and can be positioned in any direction for optimal fit.
  • Oval breast form has a natural full profile, and is recommended for use after bilateral surgeries. Also fits well in underwire and softcup mastectomy bras.
  • Heart shape breast forms are versatile and can be positioned in any direction for best fit, These fit well with underwire bras.

Many silicone breast forms are available in tawny or dark sable colors.

Additional Information for Silicone Breast Forms

    Asymmetrical or Symmetrical Design Shape:

    • Asymmetric breast forms replace the missing breast tissue at upper chest and underarm from more radical mastectomy surgeries. They are side-specific either right or left breast.
    • Symmetric breast forms fit a variety of body types and surgeries, and fit either right or left breast.

    Profile Fits:
    • Shallow fit describes the more mature breast with soft breast tissue that fits lower in the bra cup.
    • Average fit describes equal breast tissue above and below the nipple with firm breast tissue.
    • Full Fit describes thicker profile toward edges, fuller at top, mid-line nipple placement.

Advantages of having a breast prosthesis

Many women want to wear one because they want to wear the same clothing that they wore prior to the surgery and they want to look symmetrical. There are other advantages to having a breast prosthesis. It can:

  • Give you warmth
  • Protect your chest and scars
  • Help balance your posture
  • Keep your bra from shifting or riding up
  • Help prevent problems with curvature of the spine, shoulder drop and muscular pain in the neck and back

General Instructions for Breast Prosthesis Care

(Always follow specific Manufacturer's Instructions included with prosthesis)

  • Hand wash your prosthesis every day in warm soapy water and pat it dry with a towel. Do not use a hair dryer
  • Protect your prosthesis from perfume or talcum powder
  • When you are not wearing your prosthesis, store it in the specially designed box in which it came
  • Most prostheses last about two years

We at thepinkbra.com are dedicated to finding the perfect mastectomy products for our customers and we believe in and stand by all of the products we offer. With a dedication to quality and comfort, we only offer products that pass our own rigorous standards and have been backed by many industry insiders including our professional fitters as well as our customers' feedback and testimonials. We do not offer products that we ourselves would not buy and believe in setting the standard in quality and reliability in the women's healthcare industry.

ThePinkBra.com offers a wide selection of post mastectomy bras, prostheses, swimwear, and other accessories from the world's leading manufacturers: Amoena, American Breast Care (ABC), Anita, Trulife, Jodee, Classique, and Wear Ease.

ThePinkBra has partnered with Amoena to offer a wide selection of post-surgical camisoles, pocketed bras, soft foam breast forms, silicone prostheses, and swimwear. Feminine, fashionable, natural: Amoena post-breast surgery bras provide women with a natural feeling of well-being, enabling them to feel feminine again. Amoena's line of beautiful intimate apparel offers the perfect combination of comfort and design; with a cut specially developed to ensure reliable comfort and offer the perfect solution for every occasion from classically feminine and elegant to modern or sporty.

For 30 years, Amoena, the world's leading brand of external breast forms, has been helping women enjoy fuller lives after breast surgery. Amoena produced the world's first silicone gel and polyurethane breast form, the first two-layer breast form, and the first quality attachable breast form. In addition, women with neck and shoulder tension or lymphedema will find a selection of products suiting their needs.

Their Energy Breast Forms combine Amoena's Comfort+ Technology with a three-dimensional pearl surface on the back of the breast form to maximize air flow. It is an especially good choice for women exercising, suffering from hot flashes, or living in warm climates.

Wear Ease specializes in bras and camisoles specifically designed for use immediately following breast surgery. Their Grace Bra may be purchased with removable drain tube pouches as well as fiber-filled breast form.

Anita Care bras are made of soft, skin-friendly materials with a slightly higher-cut, stretch neckline and a wide, softly elastic underbust band that holds the prosthesis firmly in place. The range covers the entire scope from sporty design, through to smooth bras with ultra-feminine and elegant details.

The Anita TriTex 1055x represents another advance in breast form technology. The back of the form has raised silicone ridges that create air chambers for ventilation. An extremely soft microfiber backing covers the chambers and extends over the entire back of the silicone form so that the form can be worn directly against your skin in an unpocketed bra without the silicone touching the skin. The microfiber backing wicks moisture away from the chest, allowing it to evaporate and preventing any stickiness or irritation against bare skin.

American Breast Care's state-of-the-art production facility employs a "high tech, high touch" method of design, development and production, using input from retailers and end users to keep the products on the cutting edge of what women want. The entire operation--manufacturing, shipping, customer service and corporate offices--is housed under one roof in Marietta, Georgia.

Classique is a leader in post mastectomy beautiful, fashionable bras designed to provide high quality at affordable prices. Their precision breast forms duplicate natural breast tissue and movements with life-like touch and quick body-temperature-reaching capability.

Lindi Skin care products were specially designed for people undergoing cancer treatment. Lindi Skin products are just as effective for people with sensitive or dry skin. Made with the finest ingredients, Lindi products provide ultimate hydration.

Every once in a while a new product comes along that grabs the attention of The Pink Bra's staff for its innovative solution to a common problem affecting breast cancer surgery patients. The problem: Finding a comfortable position for sleeping while surgical wounds are healing. The solution: The patented Rest Easy Pillow created by a mastectomy patient and breast cancer survivor. This product was specifically designed for women recovering from breast surgery, however, it was soon identified as a solution for men and women alike while recovering from shoulder or arm surgeries or with chronic shoulder pain.

Other Mastectomy Products and Accessories that may be found at thepinkbra.com include: nipples, partials, enhancers, shapers, breast form covers, pads, cleansers, extenders, creams, adhesives, compression bras and sleeves / gauntlets, scar treatments, headscarves.

To speak to one of our caring, experienced Certified Fitters at thepinkbra.com call 1-888-838-0770.

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