Post mastectomy fitting is usually done 6-8 weeks after breast cancer surgery. At this time the incision at the surgical wound should have healed, and the surrounding muscle tissue will have recovered well enough to hold the weight of a prosthesis. Post mastectomy fitting is a valuable process for women that have had breast cancer surgery, but is also essential for women that have had breast conserving surgery. Whether a woman has partial tissue in one breast after a single mastectomy or no breast tissue on either breast following a double mastectomy, a qualified fitter of breast forms and post mastectomy lingerie can restore symmetry and body confidence. Prostheses vary from asymmetrical single sided breast forms, to partial prosthesis and double prostheses, with a huge range of sizes and shapes available.
First and foremost in the post mastectomy fitting, the process offer complete privacy and sensitivity. Initially, the fitter will assess the condition of the skin at the breast cancer surgery site. It is essential that the incision has healed, and that there is no drainage or open wounds. If this is the case, the fitter will require permission from the surgeon prior to proceeding.
Following the initial inspection, the fitter needs to determine the wearer’s appropriate bra size. Some breast cancer survivors choose to bring from home some old bras to aid in this assessment. During this part of the post mastectomy fitting, the fitter will take various measurements at strategic points around the rib cage and on the chest wall. It is strongly recommended that post mastectomy lingerie is used with breast forms and prostheses, although it is not mandatory. The fit determines how comfortable the prosthesis is, as well as how natural it looks.
A breast form will be recommended based on the shape and drape of the existing breast tissue, or the most flattering shape on the breast cancer survivor in the case of a double mastectomy. Prostheses can be teardrop, triangle, heart shaped or more, some are symmetrical and others are asymmetrical and side specific. At this point in the post mastectomy fitting the fitter will drape some fabric on the breast cancer survivor and show the patient what she looks like with the chosen product. Adjustments can be made until the breast cancer survivor feels comfortable and is satisfied with the outcome of the post mastectomy fitting.