Breast cancer awareness month is an annual event earmarked in the month of October to educate the populace about the impact of breast cancer. The key goal of this health campaign is to deliver a comprehensive understanding about the condition and support patients and survivors manage breast cancer effectively.
Many women who undergo breast cancer surgery or mastectomy or lumpectomy as a part of cancer treatment wonder how they will deal if they have lost all or a part of a breast after breast cancer surgery. Breast reconstruction surgery can be an effective and suitable choice to cope with the loss of a breast post-surgery.
However, some women may find it difficult to get breast reconstruction or even not possible due to health issues they face such as obesity or poor blood circulation problems and the cost involved. Well, women who don’t wish to have breast reconstruction surgery can go for a breast prosthesis which serves as a comfortable and easy choice.
Here's a detailed guide on breast prosthesis, types and how to choose the right one.
What Is A Breast Prosthesis?
A breast prosthesis is like an artificial breast that replicates the shape of a breast and is recommended for patients after mastectomy. A breast prosthesis comes in handy for patients who may not prefer reconstruction surgery. This artificial breast, made from silicone and other soft materials, fit into a mastectomy bra and give a natural appearance.
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What Are Types of Breast Prosthesis?
There are different types of breast prostheses available on the market.
Silicone prosthesis are made from soft silicone. Though a little heavier, they offer a more natural feel, maintain posture and prevent the shoulder from drooping.
Made from foam or fiberfill, a non-silicone breast prosthesis is lighter, and one can start wearing it soon after the surgery. One can swim or get wet even while wearing this prosthesis.
Camisole Soft Form:
The Camisole Soft breast prosthesis fits into the undergarments and is light in weight.
This variety comes with adhesives and can be attached to the chest wall.
Shaper or Shell Prosthesis:
Designed for patients who are under partial mastectomy, they are made from silicone, fiberfill, or foam. This variety fits over the top of existing breast tissue and enlarges and shapes the breast’s outline.
Prosthetic nipples are made from silicone and can be worn on a prosthesis or on a reconstructed breast. Available in various sizes and colours, prosthetic nipples can either be self-adhesive or come with a safe, special glue that can remain in place for several days.
How Many Shapes Are Available?
Breast prosthesis come in various shapes and sizes.
Symmetrical: These types of prosthesis are referred to as pear or tear-shaped ones. Available as a pair, they fit into the bra and create fullness and cleavage.
Asymmetrical: These prostheses fit on either of the breasts
Custom Made: One can get a breast prosthesis – made in order to match the breast shape, size, and colour.
How To Choose The Right Breast Prosthesis?
One should choose a suitable breast prosthesis based on personal preferences. Here are a few suggestions.
- Go for the ones that provide a more natural feel based on weight and size.
- If you plan to swim, trek, and do physical activity, go for polyfill or foam varieties.
- In the case of partial mastectomy, choose the shell variety. And symmetrical ones are recommended for patients with a total mastectomy.
- Since prosthesis are available in various shapes and sizes, try different ones and pick the one you are most comfortable with.
When Can The Patient Start Wearing Breast Prosthesis?
Doctors recommend trying out breast prosthesis 6 to 8 weeks after surgery. Meanwhile, the patient can use a prosthesis made from soft fabric, referred to as softies or comfies.
How Long Does Breast Prosthesis Last?
The breast prosthesis lasts anywhere between 2 to 5 years, and one can always order a similar set.
Breast prosthesis need occasional maintenance. The silicone ones need handwashing and cannot get wet in the pool or hot tub, as they may break and become thinner. The non-silicone ones can be used even while swimming or taking a shower in a tub and washed in a washing machine. Make sure to follow all the care instructions.
A wide range of varieties is available on Netmeds.com. Talk to our doctors and customer care to pick the right one.
How To Choose A Bra After Mastectomy?
Be careful while picking up a suitable variety of bras. Choose those that would fit under the breast prosthesis after mastectomy or lumpectomy. Since it may take up to a year to recover from surgery, the aftermath of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and other treatments, one should choose bras made from soft fabric with pure cotton.
Ensure the undergarment fits well, stays soft on the skin, and prevents hot flashes. Go for bras with smooth seams, deep front, full cups, side panels, and a wide under band with fully adjustable straps. Avoid those with laces, designs, and with underwires.
If you are planning to wear a bra under the breast prosthesis, choose the ones with a fabric pocket sewn into the insides of a bra cup. These pockets help the prosthesis stay in place and provide a natural appearance. Mastectomy bras are available in the market and talk to a lingerie expert, doctor, or nurse for help picking the right one.