DEFINITION OF BRA PROFILES

SHALLOW:  Breast tissue drapes in the lower cup of the bra, often seen on the mature woman with soft breast tissue.

AVERAGE:  Equal amounts of breast tissue on the top and bottom of the breast with a more round appearance in the upper cup.

FULL:  The most round appearance, requiring a form with a strong projection to fill the upper and lower part of the cup.

DEFINITION OF BRA STYLES

Many difference types of bras can be worn after breast surgery, depending on surgery, profile type and individual choice. If you are wondering how to select a mastectomy bra here the definitions of different bra types to help you get started.

SUPPORT:  Most bras that fall into the category of “supportive” feature wide shoulder straps, high underarms, wide body bands and additional hook and eye fasteners, depending on style and size.  Many styles are also cut higher at the neckline to provide additional coverage and security.

SEAMLESS: Seamless styling provides a flawless, smooth profile under any type of fabric.

FIBERFILL: Lightly padded cups provide support and a smooth profile under clothing.

UNDERWIRE: Underwire bras provide separation and support for full profiles and offer additional lift and definition for small busts.

FRONT-CLOSURE:  Front-closure bras are ideal for women with limited movement and or dexterity due to surgery or those who suffer from arthritis or lymphedema and cannot stretch to close a back-closure bra.

LEISURE?POST-SURGICAL: Soft and unstructured for comfort after surgery, this bra style is suitable for use with a lightweight leisure form.

LONG-LINE: Control the abdominal area for a smooth appearance.

BREAST FORM STYLES

Triangle, Symmetrical: Triangle shaped breast forms offer a comfortable fit and can be worn on either the left or right side of the body.  This shape suits most contemporary surgical techniques where less breast tissue is removed.

Teardrop, Symmetrical: Teardrop shaped breast forms are suitable for surgery sites where minimal underarm or clavicle tissue was removed.  Teardrop shaped breast forms have an extension which can be angled in any direction, on either side of the body, for the best fit.

Heart-shaped, Symmetrical: Heart shaped breast forms will fill the bra cup without unnecessary bulk when no axillary tissue has been removed.  Often suitable for women with firm pectoral muscles or for shallow cups.

Asymmetrical: Asymmetrical shaped breast forms provide a range of cup projection, depending on the extent of the surgery.  Underarm extensions fill in where tissue is missing.  Works well with radical surgery sites.

HOW DO I KNOW WHICH BRA AND BREAST FORM IS RIGHT FOR ME?

The nature of a woman’s body and the type of surgery that a woman had are guides for a professional fitter to determine which style and size will be the best fit.  An experienced and trained fitter will help choose the correct size and shape of the breast form.  A breast form should be comfortable and match the remaining breast in terms of shape and size.

HOW SOON AFTER MY SURGERY CAN I WEAR A BREAST FORM?

Soon after surgery a woman can be fitted with a foam or fiber-filled breast form. Both foam and fiber-filled breast forms are considered temporary breast forms.  A temporary breast form restores shape, is lightweight and will minimize irritation to sensitive tissue.  Six to eight weeks after surgery a woman can be fitted with a permanent silicone breast form.

HOW DO I CARE FOR MY BREAST FORM?

If treated as directed, a breast form is very durable.  Care should be taken when handling sharp objects to prevent the outer film of the breast form from being punctured or damaged.  A breast form should be cleaned with warm water and a mild soap and dried gently after use.  When not in use, the breast form should be stored in its cradle to maintain the shape of the form and prevent accidental damage.

CAN SILICONE BREAST FORMS BE WORN FOR SWIMMING?

Yes.  Silicone breast forms will not normally be damaged by chlorine or salt water and can be worn in the swimming pool, ocean or hot tub.  After each use, gently wash and dry the breast form.

WILL WEARING A BREAST FORM RESTRICT MY ACTIVITIES IN ANY WAY?

Wearing a breast form should not restrict activities in any way.  Lightweight breast forms for leisure activities are available if a silicone breast form is unsuitable or too heavy.

HOW DO I CLEAN MY BREAST FORM?

To clean a silicone breast form, hand wash gently in lukewarm water with a mild soap.  Dry with a soft towel, do not wring or rub.  Avoid using powders, perfumes or hot water directly on the breast form.  Care should be taken to avoid sharp objects that may puncture the breast form.

HOW DO I ACHIEVE THE PERFECT FIT?

To achieve the perfect fit it is important to not only find the appropriate band and cup size but to determine the proper profile.  There are three distinct shapes that describe the wearer’s profile: shallow, average and full.

The type of profile is not dependent on cup capacity, for example someone who wears a “D” cup can have a shallow profile.  Similarly, a woman who wears an “A” cup can have a full profile.

Profile types:

Shallow:

Average:

Full:

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE MY FITTING CHECKED?

As a general rule, fittings should be checked at least once per year.  Any significant changes in body weight may mean a different size bra and breast form is needed.  In addition, the body changes over time.  Also, the breast form should be inspected for signs of damage or wear.

ARE BREAST FORMS AND BRAS COVERED BY INSURANCE?

Medicare, as well as most private insurance companies, usually cover mastectomy products, (breast forms and bras) if medically necessary.  Confirm coverage with your private insurance company.