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  • Services and Programs for Cancer Patients

    Breast Prosthesis and Bras for Cancer Patients

    What is a breast prosthesis?

    "For the first time in seven years, shopping for products I need because of my mastectomy felt normal and even luxurious, not medical. What a wonderful thing."
    — Friends' Place customer

    A breast prosthesis or breast form is an artificial breast used after a surgery in which the breast has been removed or altered. A breast form may be worn to simulate the natural breast and body shape. Depending on the type of surgery, either full breasts or partial breasts can be purchased to balance the appearance. Breast prostheses usually come in silicone, foam, or fiberfill and are worn inside the bra or are attached to the body with a special adhesive.

    Why would I need a breast prosthesis?

    Many women dealing with breast cancer undergo surgery that alters their physical appearance. The common types of surgery include:

    • Lumpectomy: which is the removal of a breast tumor and some of the breast
    • Mastectomy: which is the removal of the breast tissue or the surgical removal of the breast tissue and underlying muscle.

    A breast prosthesis is weighted and helps keep the body symmetrical when breast surgery results in an imbalance. When the body is not properly aligned, you may suffer back, shoulder, and neck discomfort. A breast prosthesis will help restore the body's natural balance and posture.

    What are the benefits of having a breast prosthesis?

    • Helps prevent muscle-skeletal problems
    • Keeps your bra from shifting
    • Gives you warmth
    • Protects your chest and scars
    • May produce a more natural look under clothes
    • May produce a more balanced look

    Added benefits of a custom breast prosthesis:

    • The breast form is tailored to your own needs
    • Precisely fits the chest wall
    • Exactly distributes your weight
    • May entirely alleviate stress and friction on sensitive areas of the chest wall
    • More precisely matches skin tone, breast shape and areola size/color

    How soon after surgery can I be fitted for my breast prosthesis?

    You may make an appointment to be fitted as soon as you receive permission from your physician. (It usually takes 6-8 weeks.)

    What is a mastectomy bra?

    A mastectomy bra is a bra that is specially designed with pockets to hold the weighted breast form. The bra comes in a variety of attractive colors and styles and can be fitted at the same time as your breast prosthesis fitting.

    Will my insurance cover my breast prosthesis and prosthetic bras?

    For breast prostheses, get a prescription from your doctor stating your diagnosis, right or left breast prosthesis, and prosthetic bras. Medicare covers bras and prostheses as medically necessary. Most insurance companies cover breast prostheses and bras. Check with your insurance carrier for your specific coverage.

    Do I need to make an appointment before coming into Friends' Place?

    Making an appointment for a compression garment, wig, breast prosthesis, or bra fitting is helpful to us so we can give you our full attention and reduce your wait time. By scheduling ahead, we can verify the necessary prescription and insurance information, which will minimize your wait when you come in for your consultation. You can be confident that we will make every effort to accommodate your needs.

    To schedule an appointment, please call 617-632-2211.

    If we are able to accommodate walk-ins, we will be more than happy to help you.

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