Post-Mastectomy Prosthesis: Understanding Your Options

Post-Mastectomy Prosthesis: Understanding Your Options
by Nicola Rodney-Crook on June 13, 2024

Post-Mastectomy Prosthesis: Understanding Your Options

What is a Prosthesis?

A Breast prosthesis, often referred to as a breast form, is an artificial device designed to replace a missing breast or part of a breast after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. These devices come in various types, shapes, sizes, and colors to match different needs and preferences. The type of prosthesis required depends on the amount of breast tissue removed. Prostheses can be worn against the skin, inside the pocket of a mastectomy bra, or attached to the chest wall. They are designed to look natural and ensure comfort.

Why Do I Need a Prosthesis?

The choice to use a prosthesis is entirely yours. Many medical providers recommend breast forms because their weight helps improve posture, prevent shoulder drop, relive neck and back pain and address balance issues.

Types of Prosthetic Devices

External Silicone Breast Prosthesis
An external silicone breast prosthesis is a weighted device made of silicone that simulates natural breast tissue. Its weight helps improve posture, prevent shoulder drop, and address balance issues.

Non-Silicone Breast Prosthesis
This lightweight breast form, made of foam or fiberfill, is suitable for use after a mastectomy, especially during exercise, swimming, and in hot weather.

Attachable Breast Prosthesis
An attachable breast prosthesis is a self-adhesive form that securely attaches to the chest wall with adhesive strips.

Post-Surgical Soft Form in Camisole
A lightweight, removable breast form that fits into a camisole garment. The camisole is a soft, stretchy garment with lace elastic straps that can be pulled up over the hips if raising the arms is difficult. It is often worn immediately following surgery or during radiation therapy.

Partial Breast Prosthesis (Shaper or Shell)
Made of foam, fiberfill, or silicone, this type of prosthesis enhances the overall size of the breast and creates a fuller appearance. It can be worn with a regular bra or a post-mastectomy bra.

Swim Breast Prosthesis or Swim Form

A swim prosthesis is usually made from clear, water-resistant silicone that dries quickly. Specifically designed for water activities like swimming or hydrotherapy exercises. This breast form allows water to move freely behind it, ensuring greater comfort and security. The swim prosthesis is crafted from materials that a ideal chlorinated or salt water environments and are made in different sizes and shapes.  

What is a Post-Mastectomy Bra?

Post-mastectomy bras resemble regular bras but have spandex stretch pockets inside to hold and keep the breast prosthesis in place. These bras can be purchased at specialty shops or mastectomy boutiques. Bras and Honey Lingerie in San Diego certified mastectomy fitters, that can aide you in you search for the perfect fit.

trained and experienced in fitting these bras, can help you select the right one for your needs. Some mastectomy shops can sew pockets into your regular bras, swimsuits, and nightgowns upon request.

Frequently Asked Questions about Prostheses

Q: Where do I go to be fitted for a prosthesis and a post-mastectomy bra?
A: Many mastectomy boutiques and specialty shops carry all types of prostheses and post-mastectomy garments. If you are looking for Mastectomy bras in San Diego, the experts at Bras and Honey can help fit you properly.

Q: Are There different types of Breast Prosthesis?

A: Yes, Ready to wear Breast forms come in many sizes, shapes and tones to allow you get as close a match as is possible to the size or shape you are looking for. Custom Breast Prosthesis are produced by 3D Scanning your body to produce a prosthesis that is tailormade to match your body’s contours. Custom breast forms are up to 40% lighter in weight than the ready to wear counterparts and can be matched to cup size, skin tone and nipple location. Ask Bras and Honey Mastectomy fitting in San Diego for more information.

Q: How soon can I be fitted for a breast prosthesis after a mastectomy?
A: Your surgeon will recommend the appropriate time to start wearing a prosthesis, depending on your medical condition, healing process, and type of surgery. A physician's prescription is necessary for insurance purposes.

Q: Will my insurance pay for my prosthesis and mastectomy bras?
A: Coverage varies among insurance companies. Medicare and some other plans typically cover one breast prosthesis per year and 2 to 4 mastectomy bras per year with a prescription. Always check with your insurance company for specific coverage details.

Q: Will people be able to tell that I am wearing a prosthesis?
A: No. With a proper fit, no one will be able to tell you are wearing a prosthesis.

Q: How long does a breast prosthesis last?
A: The lifespan varies by type and manufacturer, but most prostheses have a two-year warranty.

Q: What happens if my body changes in size and my prosthesis no longer fits properly?
A: Most insurance companies will cover replacements with a doctor's prescription stating the need for a new prosthesis. Always check with your insurance company to confirm coverage. Most insurance will cover Bras and prosthesis, with a physician's prescription. Replacement Bras are usually available 2-3 times per year, where as a breast form is usually every 2 years, although this is subject to your insurance provider and the policy coverage. We can help you navigate this process if you require more information, Call Bras and Honey mastectomy bra providers in San Diego.

Conclusion

Choosing the right prosthesis and mastectomy bra can be crucial for comfort and confidence after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. With various options available, it's important to consult with certified fitters and healthcare professionals to find the best solution for your needs. Always check with your insurance provider to understand your coverage or ask Bras and Honey for more information on what benefits are available on your insurance.

For more information or to schedule a fitting, contact a Bras and Honey mastectomy boutique in San Diego.

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