How Does a Post Mastectomy Fitting Work?

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.

Shop 90, St Ives Shopping Village
166 Mona Vale Road
St Ives NSW 2075
+61 (0) 2 9988 3650
Shop L132A (Level 1), Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre
345 Victoria Road
Chatswood Chase NSW 2067
+61 (0) 2 9419 3210

Breast Forms and Prostheses

For many cancer survivors post mastectomy, the decision between prosthesis and reconstruction is a difficult one. While some choose surgery, many women opt for a prosthesis for myriad reasons; concern over the surgery or not meeting surgeon requirements for reconstruction, health issues, or anticipated problems during the recovery are just a few. Some women simply prefer not to undertake reconstruction procedures as a matter of choice. Breast Forms, or prostheses, are an essential part of breast cancer recovery for many women that haven’t yet or have chosen not to have a reconstruction. This is a decision best made with a patient’s oncologist and plastic surgeon. Many surgeons recommend visiting a qualified fitter, like the fitters at Elleran, prior to surgery to aid in making and feeling comfortable with their choice.

Prostheses are usually fitted 6-8 weeks after surgery to ensure maximum comfort and recovery of the patient. A good breast form that is well fitted by a professional shouldn’t feel too different to the wearer than their own breasts, though it may take time to acclimatise to a new body shape post mastectomy. The experience of fitting a prosthesis is fairly similar to being fitted for a bra, albeit it can be a more comprehensive process.

A good breast form fitter will recommend a prosthesis that will support a survivor’s body. For some women, there may be some tissue remaining of the breast and only a partial breast form is required post mastectomy. For others, there may be very little breast tissue remaining. Some women have a double mastectomy and require two breast forms, others have only the tissue of one breast removed. In this case, it is essential that the prosthesis fitted is well matched to the healthy breast. Elleran qualified fitters first note the shape and drape of an existing breast for women that have had a single mastectomy. For those that have had a double mastectomy, the fitter will make suggestions for a prosthesis that is flattering to the survivor’s shape.

Breast forms come in a large range of sizes and shapes, so despite the infinite variety of patient body types, in most cases it is possible to find one that achieves balance and symmetry with the remaining breast. Ideally, the fit of a prosthesis should be so comfortable that its wearer can forget she is wearing a breast form with post mastectomy lingerie, and feel confident and relaxed in her new shape. Elleran also offers an extensive range of bras that have prosthesis pouches, along with other features that make a post mastectomy fit more comfortable and durable.

Shop 90, St Ives Shopping Village
166 Mona Vale Road
St Ives NSW 2075
+61 (0) 2 9988 3650
Shop L132A (Level 1), Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre
345 Victoria Road
Chatswood Chase NSW 2067
+61 (0) 2 9419 3210