At first glance, the post-mastectomy options available to most women to give the look of natural breasts seem few and simple. You can get reconstruction, wear prostheses, or just go flat. And that’s the extent of the options, right? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong.
Let’s explore just the prostheses option for a few minutes. Breast prostheses, also known as breast forms, are worn outside the body and held close to the body in a bra. But there are many types of them, and choosing the right one might not be as simple as you were expecting.
In the video below, Cheryl Schlote, a certified mastectomy fitter at a specialty mastectomy shop called Décolletage, will show you several different types of breast form and talk about the pros and cons of each variety and which types of breast forms work best for different women who have had different kinds of mastectomies, lumpectomies, and reconstruction.
First up is a breast form with special channels going through the back to allow for air flow. Cheryl will also tell you about a special little something extra this type of breast form does. You’re going to love it!
Next is a heart-shaped bra that can actually be worn in several different directions. There’s no right-side-up to this interesting prosthesis shape, and it all depends on your mastectomy and the tissue that’s left over. See the various ways it can be worn below.
Our favorite is the adhesive-backed form, which sticks directly to the woman’s skin for a no-slip grip that you can wear with any bra, not just a pocketed bra specially made for prostheses. If you’ve had issues in the past with bras riding up because of lack of breast tissue or a prosthesis that’s too light, this may be the perfect breast form for you. And the way it manages to stick to your skin time after time after time is like magic!
The shaper, also known as a partial form, has the extra-special job of creating balance and symmetry for women who still have breast tissue left but not in the right shape or size. Its hollow back allows it to hide imperfections and fill in gaps without adding too much extra material.
The last prosthesis you’ll see is the swim form, which is more lightweight than the other forms and acts more like normal human breast tissue when you’re swimming or lounging by the pool.
Check out the video below to learn more about each of these types of breast forms as well as the bras and swimwear available to house them.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?