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Simply the Breast

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Simply the Breast

Simply the Breast
Understanding Your Options for Breast Forms

Women who have a mastectomy, or breast cancer surgery as part of their treatment, may not always want reconstruction. Women who don’t want breast reconstruction after surgery have two options:

  • Using a breast form or prosthesis (inside the bra or attached to the body to wear under their clothes)

  • Going flat (not wearing a breast form)


There are several reasons an individual might opt out of reconstructive surgery. They may not want to undergo more surgical procedures outside of treating their cancer, or in some cases, their bodies may not be equipped to handle an additional surgery on top of their treatment surgery. For example, obesity or blood circulation problems, such as from continued smoking or poorly controlled diabetes can make it impossible for someone to undergo continued surgery.


Whatever the reason that an individual chooses not to have reconstructive surgery, there are alternatives to help them continue life with whichever sense of normalcy and comfort that they prefer.


As defined by the American Cancer Society, a breast form is a prosthesis (artificial body part) worn either inside a bra or attached to the body to simulate the look and feel of a natural breast. Wearing a breast form is an option for women who have decided not to get reconstructive surgery but want to keep the same look under their clothes (Breast Reconstruction Alternatives, n.d.).

Many of these breast forms are created with material that aims to mimic the feel, weight and movement of natural breasts. A properly weighted form provides the balance your body needs for correct posture and anchors your bra, keeping it from riding up. At first, these forms may feel too heavy, but in time they should begin to feel natural.

If you choose a breast form prosthesis after your surgery, your healthcare provider will assess when you are healed enough to be fitted for a prosthesis that is best for you.

There are different types of prosthesis that may work for your daily life.

  • Permanent prosthesis: A permanent prosthesis is designed to look, weigh and move like a natural breast. It is made from silicone, foam or other materials. Some permanent prostheses attach directly to the skin on the chest with a special kind of glue. Others are worn in a regular bra or a mastectomy bra. When you visit Home Medical Resources, wear or take along a form-fitting top or sweater so it will be easier to see how the prosthesis looks. Try the prosthesis on in a comfortable, supportive bra (Lee, 2014).

  • Temporary prosthesis: A temporary prosthesis, or puff, is a soft, light form that can be pinned inside of clothes or worn inside a loose-fitting bra. It is made of material that will not rub or hurt the area of surgery while it heals. You can tuck a temporary prosthesis into the bra cup to provide a smoother shape. A bra extender may make the bra more comfortable until the swelling from surgery goes down (Lee, 2014).

  • Partial prosthesis: A partial prosthesis is available for individuals who do not necessarily need reconstruction and who have not “gone flat” as a result of surgery. Wear a partial prosthesis (also called a shaper, shell or equalizer) over the breast to create a fuller, smoother appearance (Lee, 2014).

  • Mastectomy bras: Many breast prostheses manufacturers also make special bras with pockets in the cups to hold the prosthesis in place. They are made to support the weight of the breast form. Not every woman needs a special mastectomy bra. You may be able to use a bra you already own. You might need to make a few adjustments to make it comfortable or sew in a pocket to hold the prosthesis( Lee, 2014).


Home Medical Resources is located at 901 W. Second Street, Gillette, Wyoming, across from the Rockpile Museum. They are open Monday -Friday, 8 am-5 pm and someone is available 24/7 for emergencies only. Visit us or call for all your medical resourcing needs. 307.688.6260


Breast Reconstruction Alternatives. (n.d.). Retrieved September 8, 2022, from

Home Medical Resources. (n.d.). Campbell County Health. Retrieved September 8, 2022, from

Lee, S. (2014). Breast prostheses. Canadian Cancer Society.

  • Category: Home Medical Resources