The Hanger Clinic Advantage
A certified mastectomy fitter works closely with each patient to find the right size and style of post mastectomy products and bras that will restore a natural look and project a positive body image. In addition, today’s mastectomy bras are very fashionable and comfortable.
Recent advancements in breast forms include lightweight styles for leisure and sleeping, waterproof forms for swimming and others that are made for athletics and a vigorous lifestyle.
Hanger Clinic’s post mastectomy fitters are eager to show women how attractive they can be with the comfort and protection of the right breast form and bra.
What is a Breast Form?
Breast forms are made from safe materials that approximate natural tissue. They are similar in color, weight and texture to a natural breast and are contoured for a supple and natural-appearing silhouette. Newer breast forms adhere directly to the chest wall and require no special lingerie for security. Choice of a breast form is determined by the type and extent of surgery, the person’s skin condition, the weight of the form, lifestyle demands and comfort.
A breast form is vital to restore balance to a woman’s body, to maintain shoulder posture, to add comfort and to enhance appearance and self-esteem. Establishing proper fit also is important for good respiratory function.
Your First Visit
Before your first visit, you will need a prescription from your primary or referring physicians and insurance information. Most insurance providers as well as Medicare cover both the breast form and the bra. If you have insurance other than Medicare please confirm with your insurance company regarding coverage and when you are entitled to a new breast form and bra. Medicare guidelines states that your bra may be replaced every year and your breast form every two years. It is likely you will find that most bras last about six months.
Our general recommendation is to come in for your first fitting two to six weeks after surgery. But recovery varies for each woman, so consult with your physician.
You will be measured and correctly fitted for a breast form and you will also discuss options for bras with the fitter. It will probably take one or two visits to ensure a good fit. Your breast form and bra may also need to be custom ordered, unless it is an in-stock item. Orders typically arrive quickly. Then you will return to your fitter every one to two years to be refit unless you experience significant weight loss or gain or there is damage to the breast form.
If Hanger Clinic is billing your insurance company, you must bring a new prescription with you on your return visits. Insurance requires a new prescription for each entitled breast form for claims submission.
Caring for Your Mastectomy Product
Wash your mastectomy product daily with warm water and liquid soap. Pay extra attention to the gel/pearls in the attachable back of the breast form. When drying the breast form, pat dry using a clean towel but allow the attachable portion to air dry. Refer to the specific manufacturer’s instructions for further information regarding the cleaning and care of your breast form.
Some mastectomy products require a cover for wearing. If provided, please wear the cover over your product. This will help reduce moisture getting to the breast form. Not wearing the breast form cover could cause the product to break down prematurely.
The mastectomy product that you received generally has a two-year warranty that is provided by the manufacturer. Upon receiving your warranty card, send it in to the manufacturer immediately to begin and ensure warranty coverage. If your breast form leaks, breaks or cracks please call our office. The attachable breast form back for the gel/pearls does not carry a warranty by the manufacturer.
Always store your mastectomy product in the container provided when not wearing and avoid direct sunlight.
Please remove jewelry (rings, bracelets, etc.) when handling your breast form. Use caution when playing with pets or handling sharp objects.
We recommend hand washing your bra and then line drying or laying it flat to dry on a clean towel. If you decide to use the washing machine, place the bra in a pillowcase or delicate bag and use a mild liquid soap on the delicate cycle. DO NOT use Woolite® and NEVER place in the dryer.
You may wear your breast form while swimming in salt water or chlorine water, but NEVER in a Jacuzzi. Wash your mastectomy product as soon as possible after swimming.
If you swim more than 3-4 times a week, please contact your fitter for information about special swim forms.
Emotional Concerns for Mastectomy Patients
It is natural to feel nervous about being in public following a mastectomy and wearing a breast form. Your Hanger Clinic fitter can suggest local support groups and organizations that will help you and your loved ones and friends deal with the emotional concerns that are a natural part of the recovery process. Just ask your fitter for the name and phone numbers of these groups and don’t hesitate to call.
ABCD Cancer Support (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis) offers support and mentorship for women going through treatment for breast cancer.
To find out more about this program, click here.