Mastectomies are a difficult experience, affecting women physically, emotionally and psychologically. Fortunately there are mastectomy breast forms that give a woman the appearance of having breasts, allowing a person who has undergone a mastectomy to still look and feel normal. Mastectomy prostheses may be silicone or foam. There are also partial prostheses for those who have had breast-conserving surgery.
Who Will Do The Fitting?
Fitting usually occurs 4-6 weeks after surgery. This gives the woman’s body time to heal. The physician will normally clear the patient once she’s ready for a mastectomy fitting. Fittings are done by trained professionals, who receive their training from the bra/prosthetic manufacturers. Some of these professionals go as far as becoming certified and recognized by organizations in their respective countries (for example, The Board of Certification/ Accreditation, International).
Mastectomy prostheses come in different shapes, sizes and weight. This is because not all surgeries are the same. Some may only need a partial prosthesis in order to give the breasts symmetry, while some may need full prostheses after having full mastectomies. The fitters are trained with the knowledge of which bras and prostheses work best with which kinds of surgeries.
What to Expect
A person can expect complete privacy during fitting. Naturally the fitter will have to work with the person, first assessing and observing the condition of the skin after the mastectomy. All incisions must be healed and there can be no open wounds or drainage, otherwise the permission of the person’s physician is needed for fitting to proceed.
The fitter will then make measurements around the chest wall and rib cage in order to determine the proper bra size. This will determine how natural the prosthesis will look and how comfortable and well-fit the bra will be.
Afterwards, the fitter will recommend what the best prosthesis will be. If there is still an existing breast, they may use it as basis for the prosthesis. Otherwise they will recommend the best type based on their opinion, choosing from the many different types of prostheses available. The fitter will then have the patient wear a smock in order for her to see the appearance the product will give. This is where the patient’s opinion matters—whether she is happy or wants to try something else.
After the process and once the patient is given the prosthesis, the fitter will provide care instructions and policies regarding the product (such as warranties and return policies). This is so the best care can be given to the prosthesis.
It is recommended that the patient return to the fitter at least once a year in order to ensure the best fit. This is because a woman’s body may keep changing depending on weight fluctuations and hormone changes. If a significant change occurs, the prostheses may need to be adjusted or replaced to ensure a natural appearance.
After Breast Surgery Care and Services by Mediforce DME was created to meet the needs of women who have had a mastectomy.