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.