Frequently Asked Questions
Bringing peace of mind when needed
Q: What is a breast form and why is it necessary to wear one?
A: A breast form is designed to be worn externally and to closely resemble the natural appearance, feel, and weight of a breast. A breast form restores a feminine shape and feeling of balance. Wearing a breast form will help restore your self-confidence and can improve your quality of life after breast surgery. It is very important to wear a weighted form – it will restore your body’s natural balance and help prevent the development of spinal curvature, neck and back pain, and shoulder drop.
Q: What are most breast forms made of?
A: The majority of weighted breast prostheses are made of silicone gel.
Q: What types of breast forms are on the market?
A: There are two basic types, weighted (having weight to them) and non-weighted.
Q: Which type will I wear first?
A: You should be fitted with an immediate post-surgery soft breast form for the first 4 - 6 weeks. When your doctor determines that you are ready for a weighted silicone form, you will be fitted for your breast prosthesis and mastectomy bras.
Q: Why do I need a weighted breast prosthesis (form) after breast surgery?
A: A properly fitted breast prosthesis helps replace the weight lost after breast surgery. This replacement is not merely for cosmetic or psychological reasons but for physical reasons as well. When a natural breast is removed the body is no longer in balance and will compensate with slight curving of the spine and "shoulder drop." Both conditions may lead to chronic lower back and neck pain.
Q: If I am very small breasted or had partial surgery such as a lumpectomy, do I still need a weighted breast prosthesis?
A: Yes. Even if you are small breasted you should replace the weight. You will also need the weight to help hold your bra in place around the rib cage. A light non-weighted form adds shaping in a bra but may slip up during certain movements.
Q: Will people be able to tell if I have a breast form on?
A: No. With a proper fit no one will be able to tell you are wearing a prosthesis (or breast form). Silicone prosthesis have the weight, feel and form of your remaining breast.
Q: Will wearing a breast form restrict my activities in any way?
A: Wearing a breast form should not restrict your activities. There are lightweight/swim forms available for exercise and water activities, if you find the silicone breast form unsuitable or too heavy.
Q: Can I wear a silicone breast form while swimming?
A: Silicone breast forms should ideally, not be worn in the swimming pool, ocean or jacuzzi. There are specially designed swim forms available and if you are a regular swimmer these are recommended. If you are taking a holiday, ask me about a soft form, which is complimentary from Valerie’s with your swimwear. To save money, I advise my clients that once you have a second breast prosthesis it is a good idea to keep the older one for swimming when on holiday.
Q: How do I care for my breast form and how long will it last?
A: Treated carefully, a breast form is very durable. Care should be taken with sharp objects to prevent the outer film of the breast form from being punctured or damaged. A breast form should be cleaned with warm water and mild soap, and dried gently after use. When not in use, the breast form should be stored in its cradle to help maintain the shape of the form and prevent accidental damage. Most manufacturers guarantee their forms for two years
Q: Can a breast form be worn with a regular fashion bra (a bra without a pocket)?
A: Yes, but fashion bras have not been designed to meet the specific needs of most mastectomies. It is important to be measured and fit by a professional fitter. Mastectomy bras have been designed to hold the weighted form in place.
Q: Why should I go to a professional fitter?
A: Because every woman is different. There are hundreds of sizes, styles and shapes that have been created to match a woman's remaining natural breast. A mastectomy fit specialist is trained to measure and select the proper prosthesis for each individual woman.
Q: Does my insurance pay for any of my post mastectomy needs?
A: Yes. Most insurance company's pay for part if not all of your mastectomy needs. Depending on the type of insurance you are on, you are allowed a number of bras per year. You should check with your carrier to see how much is covered. Please see the details here on this site regarding entitlements for women in Ireland.
Q: How often should I have my fitting checked?
A: As a general rule a fitting should be checked at least once per year.