Choosing whether or not to wear a breast form is a very personal decision for a woman. Some women are comfortable with the idea of wearing a breast prosthesis while others may find it upsetting and may not want to wear one for personal reasons. However, breast forms don’t just help provide women with a more natural looking appearance, they can prevent some of the health-related problems that can occur for women who opt not to wear a breast form.
While the decision is ultimately yours and yours alone, we’re here to give you some guidance and information on why you might want to wear a breast prosthesis. There are many different shapes and styles of breast forms. Some are weighted, usually made of silicone, and others non-weighted and usually foam or fiberfill. The reasons for wearing a weighted breast form are many.
Firstly, not wearing a weighted breast form can cause multiple health issues. These include curvature of the spine, shoulder drop, and muscle contracture and discomfort (including neck and/or back pain) in addition to problems with your balance. Choosing to wear a properly fitted breast form that is the same shape and has a similar weight to your remaining breast is medically necessary as it helps regain the symmetry of your body. Many weighted breast forms are marketed as light-weight but they still have sufficient weight to maintain this balance. Your body will be much more evenly aligned and balanced which can help prevent the aforementioned problems that are caused by misalignment of the spine, shoulders and chest, as well as problems with your posture.
Besides these physical reasons for wearing a weighted breast form is the need to hold your bra in place. If the breast form is too light you may find yourself continually pulling your bra down as it rides up during wear. If wearing a non pocketed bra you may find the breast form actually rising up out of the bra. The foam or fibre filled breast forms can be ideal when worn for shorter periods while exercising or whilst sleeping.
Of course, if you have had a bi-lateral mastectomy your body is evenly weighted. The issue here is posture as many women tend to become round shouldered. This may be psychological as, unintentionally, the woman hunches over her chest to disguise her body shape. Also, it can be difficult to buy clothing as women’s clothes are designed for breasts.
If you choose to wear an adhesive breast form you don’t have to necessarily wear a pocketed bra. If your breast form is designed to wear in a pocket, then it is recommended that you wear a pocketed bra A pocketed bra has a pocket in the cup (as the name suggests) which holds the breast form in place. This can prevent movement between the breast form and your skin, which can resultin some discomfort.
Our founder, Jill Tucker, had her own health-related experience when using an un-pocketed bra: “I wore an un-pocketed bra initially (because, naturally, I had just bought new bras and was going to wear them!) but I ended up with a blood blister on the side under my arm from the movement”.
A pocketed bra is also designed with features that benefit the wearer. These design features can include more width underneath the arms to hold any excess flesh that may be left after surgery and to help the flow of the lymphatic fluid. The underband is designed for comfort and support negating the need for underwires. Straps can be wider and padded to spread the weight evenly and to help with prevention of lymphoedema. Necklines can be higher to disguise scarring and elasticised to hug the chest wall.
The type of breast form and pocketed bra you wear will be determined by the amount of breast tissue that remains, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. A breast form can give you a more natural shape under clothes, can be matched to your breast size to correct weight imbalance and can be worn with different clothes, including sports and swimwear. It’s recommended that you see a trained fitter who can help you choose the right breast form and pocketed bra if necessary.