After a mastectomy, the decision regarding reconstructive breast surgery is extremely personal for the woman involved. Many women decide against reconstructive surgery. They may have other serious medical conditions which cause further complications. They also might not want to deal with the additional risk and trauma of another surgery, or they may feel comfortable with their body. Whatever the reason a woman has for opting out of the reconstructive procedure, she is not alone, and there are numerous options available to help make her transition post-mastectomy as smooth as possible.
Mastectomy Forms and Bras
Use of mastectomy forms and bras has increased among women in recent years. Without the need for additional surgery, a woman can still look and feel great by simply wearing a bra or form specifically designed for post-mastectomy. Today, there are countless styles, materials, and sizes to choose from. There are additional benefits as well:
- Wearing a breast form will help improve your posture and your self-image after a mastectomy. Your body will also regain symmetry after the surgery.
- Breast forms can help to make you feel more comfortable in your clothes.
- Wearing the appropriate breast form can result in less slouching, spinal curvature and muscular pain.
Types of Breast Forms
The choices women have when choosing a breast form are almost overwhelming regarding colors, sizes, and styles. Each type is developed for the individual woman and her personal preferences.
- Silicone forms are worn externally and are sometimes weighted.
- Non-silicone forms are made of foam or fiberfill. These are designed to be worn just after a mastectomy, during hot weather, or while working out.
- Attachable breast forms are fastened to the chest wall with adhesive strips.
- Camisoles made of soft material and contain breast forms. These also are meant to be worn right after a mastectomy and during the healing process.
The Right Form for You
During recovery from a recent mastectomy, buy a soft foam form without weights while your body heals. Typically, after 4 to 6 weeks, consider using a weighted silicone. Weights are used to match the size and weight of both breasts, so they are even.
Shopping for a breast form is similar to shopping for your perfect favorite bra. Consult a certified fitter who can help you determine the best form for your body.
Your comfort, fit, and style is first and foremost. Make sure both breast sides match. It is a good idea to wear a form-fitting top, such as knit, to best determine how a form will look under your clothing. Ask about the form’s life expectancy and proper care – how to wash it and how often.
Insurance and Cost
Before shopping for your breast form or mastectomy bra, check your insurance coverage. Some insurance plans such as Medicare generally cover the cost of a mastectomy bra or form if prescribed by your doctor. Also, coverage is usually limited and often only pays for a certain number of bras and forms within a specific time.
If you prefer to shop online, there are many online mastectomy form and bra shops to help you find your perfect fit. You can easily access size charts from different manufacturers online to determine your size for that particular brand as sizes do vary among brands.