Breast prothesis fact sheet

FACT SHEET SILICONE BREAST PROSTHESIS

Information provided by Reach for Recovery

 

BlendabilityWHAT IS A BREAST PROSTHESIS?
A breast prosthesis is an artificial breast from worn in your bra to simulate the shape and weight of your natural breast.

 

WHAT DOES A BREAST PROSTHESIS LOOK LIKE?
Prostheses are available in different shapes and sizes, as well as different degrees of firmness. They are shaped to follow the natural contour of a woman’s breast or part thereof, sometimes including the outline of a nipple. The upper surface of the prosthesis feel soft and smooth, while the part resting against the skin may differ. It can be smooth and firm, made of fabric, be flat or hollow, with or without soft edges. It is specifically designed to be worn comfortably.

 

WHAT IS A BREAST PROSTHESIS MADE OF?
A breast prosthesis is made of silicone with a covering of polyurethane, lightweight foam or fibre filler. Its weight is determined by the amount of silicone, foam or filler used. The  breast prostheses fare moulded into the natural shape of a woman’s breast or part of a breast.
 

WHAT IS SILICONE?
Silicone is a non-toxic, synthetically-made substance that is heat resistant and rubbery. This makes it useful for moulding to the shape of a natural breast and placing next to the skin. If a prosthesis tears or punctures, the silicone can’t be absorbed by the skin

 

THE ADVANTAGES OF A PROSTHESIS

  • Does not require further surgery, which has risks and recovery time.
  • It is possible to change the size (for example, if the other breast changes).
  • Can comfortably be worn with your existing wardrobe – no need to buy new clothing
  • Is matched to your breast size to correct weight imbalance issues.
     

REPLACING THE WEIGHT OF THE LOST BREAST
When a natural breast is removed, the body is no longer balanced. This can cause a slight curving of the spine and a drop of the shoulder on the affected side. These changes may lead to lower back and neck pain over time. A prosthesis can help to even out the balance. Problems with balance after having a mastectomy can affect women of any breast size.

 

HOW SOON AFTER SURGERY CAN I START TO WEAR A PROSTHESIS?
You will have to wait six to eight weeks after surgery before you can wear a silicone prosthesis. Your surgeon will advise you when you are ready. If you are having radiotherapy your skin may be sensitive and you should then wait until the sensitivity has disappeared. You can wear a soft prosthesis initially and during the recovery phase you may prefer to wear a soft seamless camisole top instead of a bra.

HOW DO I PURCHASE A BREAST PROSTHESIS?
Breast prostheses are provided by qualified fitters. Consult Reach for Recovery for contact details of providers of prostheses and post-mastectomy bras.  Women in need of finacial assistance may qualify for a subsidised prosthesis through Reach for Recovery’s Ditto Project.

 

WILL PEOPLE BE ABLE TO SEE THAT I AM WEARING A BREAST PROSTHESIS?
If the prosthesis and your bra fit correctly, no-one will be able to see that you are wearing a breast prosthesis.
 

WHERE CAN I FIND A BREAST CANCER SUPPORT GROUP?
Reach for Recovery is a national Breast Cancer Support Organisation.  Visit their website at www.reachforrecovery.org.za for contact details or contact the National Manager at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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