Choosing a Prosthesis After Breast Cancer Surgery

Jan 2nd, 2020

If you or a loved one has recently undergone breast cancer surgery and has opted out of breast reconstruction, then breast prostheses may be right for you. Prostheses allow you to maintain the natural shape and form of your body without requiring further surgery. Whether or not to wear a prosthesis is a very personal decision, and some women find that they help boost confidence in their body post-mastectomy.

What kinds of prosthetics are used after breast surgery?

As there are many sizes and shapes of bodies, the availability of breast prostheses follows suit. With a wide range of materials, colors, sizes, shapes, and fits, there is sure to be a breast prosthesis available for every woman’s figure and lifestyle.

Silicone Prosthesis

Breast form shapes


A full breast form is ideal for a woman who has had an entire breast or both breasts removed.


A partial breast form is for a woman who has kept a portion of her breast and wants to fill out space in her bra.


A shell breast form is hollow and fits over either the natural breast or the reconstructed breast. This may be desirable to achieve a more balanced look.

Nipple only

An artificial nipple is designed to stick onto a reconstructed breast or a breast form with no nipple design.

Nipple cover

Sometimes a reconstructed breast will not have a nipple, so you can use nipple covers to create a balanced look.

Breast form materials


Silicone breast forms are among the most natural-looking artificial breast form material, and also the most expensive. It is a heavy material that resembles the weight of a natural breast.

Fiberfill or foam

Fiberfill and foam breast forms are a lot more cost-effective and easier to wear. However, they may not look as natural, especially under form-fitting clothing. These are ideal for around the house or relaxing.

Waterproof or water-resistant

Certain breast forms are designed specifically for getting wet. Swimming is a great exercise for after breast cancer surgery, so swim forms may be a good investment.

Custom-made breast forms

A custom-made breast form is designed by taking a mold of the shape of your chest. This allows for a more natural-looking and better fitting breast form. Your local American Cancer Society and your doctor can help you determine if this is a good option for you.

What are the benefits of getting a breast form?

Some women feel a boost of confidence when they wear breast forms. Other women feel comfortable without them. This is a very personal decision for each woman and there is no right or wrong answer.

Some advantages of breast forms are that they help to hold your bra and clothes in place. They may also help you feel more feminine and confident post-mastectomy.

benefits of a breast form

What are the disadvantages?

Breast forms require care and maintenance. They require regular washing and proper storage. While your insurance company may cover the cost of some breast forms, they may not cover everything which can limit your options. At the we can help you with your insurance paperwork and remove the burden of what is covered and what is not from your shoulders so you can focus on getting the breast forms you need for the st.

How soon can you wear a breast form?

Certain types of breast forms may be worn right after surgery if your doctor recommends it, but it depends on each woman and her surgery and healing. However, you may have to wait 6-8 weeks or longer after your surgery to wear silicone forms. They are heavier and may cause irritation after radiation.

Where can you get a breast form?

At, we offer a wide range of post-mastectomy products, including several different options for breast forms. We employ certified fitters to ensure that you are guided through the fitting process and can find a form that fits you well and feels comfortable.


Why did you decide to wear a breast form/prosthesis rather than have a reconstruction?

Sometimes after a traumatic and life-changing surgery like a mastectomy, the last thing a woman wants to do is have another surgery, especially right away. Prosthetics allow a woman to maintain the look and feel of her natural body while in recovery. It is also possible to use the prosthesis while you decide whether or not to have reconstructive surgery.

How did having a mastectomy and then wearing a prosthesis change the way you felt about your body?

Immediately following a mastectomy, there is almost guaranteed to be an adjustment period. Some women may feel anxious about the changes in their bodies. Every woman deserves to feel beautiful and desirable, and a prosthesis is a way to help with that after breast cancer surgery.

Do you have any tips for other women who might be trying to decide if a breast prosthesis is right for them?

It’s important to educate yourself about the options available to you. You can take a friend or a loved one to a fitting to get their opinion. Most people who work in or with breast prostheses are compassionate and ready and willing to help you with all of your concerns.

Is there anything else you think women with breast cancer should know?

Whether you have a single or double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery or no reconstruction, prosthesis or no prosthesis, you are beautiful and your body is desirable.