Mastectomy Services

Non-surgical image reconstruction is offered by Comprehensive Prosthetics and Orthotics, and it focuses on the non-surgical choices available for women seeking to meet the psychological and physiological recovery needs following a lumpectomy, mastectomy, or breast reconstructive surgery.

Our women’s services specialist is an ABC-certified mastectomy/lymphedema fitter, trained in the fitting of breast prostheses after breast surgery.


Mastectomy is a surgical operation to remove a breast. About 44% of women diagnosed with breast cancer choose to have a mastectomy performed. Of those 44% only 7% choose to have immediate reconstruction.

Breast prosthesis is a contoured device resembling breast tissue and made of silicone or foam. It is to be worn inside a pocketed bra. This helps to regain balance along the chest wall and recreates a pre-surgery appearance.

Lumpectomy is a surgical procedure where only the malignant tumor and margin of healthy breast tissue is removed. It is also referred to as “breast conserving surgery.” Lymph nodes may also be removed during a lumpectomy.

Partial breast prostheses is a thin silicone or foam insert designed to fit over remaining breast tissue to create balance with the non-surgical breast.

Stage of Healing

Immediately After Surgery

Camisole/Fiber Filled Prostheses: A camisole gives minimal support for the non-surgical breast while still providing comfort. This garment comes with removable drainage pouches for post-surgical drainage bulbs as well as a fiber-filled breast form to help recreate symmetry. These garments are great for post-op and/or during radiation treatments because they are soft and lightweight. This style garment is available in both a short and long style.

Less Than Six Weeks After Surgery

Cotton Stretch Bra: This is a very soft and stretchable garment with a front closure, which allows for minimal arm motion. It also contains pockets to help hold the prosthesis in place. This garment is recommended for low levels of activity. Weighted or Non-Weighted Foam Prostheses: These prostheses are used during the final stages of healing when comfort and ease are still a primary need. The weighted prosthesis allows just enough weight to keep the prosthesis down in the pocket of the bra and prevents the prosthesis from “floating.” However, these garments can also be worn during low activity anytime throughout the patient’s life.

More Than Six Weeks After Surgery

Traditional Fashion Bra: Once the patient is completely healed, it is recommended they return to a post-mastectomy fashion bra. CPO offers all pocketed garments in a variety of styles and colors. Silicone Prostheses: The silicone breast prosthesis offers the most natural feel and look for women who have had a mastectomy.

Life After Breast Surgery

Just as before the surgery, it is important to build a wardrobe of choices. This includes keeping a variety of styles of bras and prostheses. Multiple options will provide many different combinations that allow for choices according to your daily activity level.

Frequently Asked Questions-

While recreating a pre-surgery appearance helps meet the psychological need for a positive self-esteem, the use of a breast prosthesis also serves a physiological purpose by restoring natural balance and carriage of body weight. Not wearing a breast prosthesis can cause:

  • Spinal curvature
  • Shoulder drop
  • Balance problems
  • Muscle contracture and stretching/neck and back pain
  • Clothing to fit inappropriately due to chest wall variations

A pocketed post-mastectomy bra is advised because:

  • The pocketed bra creates security for the prosthesis and allows the form to move with the body
  • The mastectomy bra is designed to allow a higher fit under the arm where tissue may be missing
  • The straps are set closer in the back to help balance the prosthesis weight
  • Side frames help support, anchor, and balance the band around the body

Since decisions related to reconstruction need not be scheduled at the time of the initial surgery. Patients can choose to bridge the time with a prosthesis that maintains body alignment and provides shape to the individual profile.

It is suggested that new measurements be taken as often as every 6 months until the body has stabilized. Anatomical changes may include swelling, weight loss/gain, and changes in shape

Most insurance companies allow at least 6 new garments per year. Many insurance companies will permit this as medically necessary, which is about 8-10 new garments per year. It is important to remember the expected lifetime of a bra is only 6 months. A silicone prosthesis can be replaced once every two years. And a foam form can get replaced once every 6 months. However, everyone’s insurance is different, so it is important to contact your insurance company before new garments and prostheses are provided.

Many private insurance plans, as well as Medicare, have an allowable reimbursement for these services. It is recommended that you contact your insurance company to determine the benefits, restrictions, and patient responsibilities. CPO will process Medicare and other private insurance claims according to our office policy.

Silicone prostheses are not known to trigger alarm systems. However, materials used in the weighted foam prosthesis are made up of a metal/gel weight and could potentially be sensitive to security alarms. If you have a foam prosthesis, just be aware that the prosthesis does contain metal, but it does not need to be a concern; it’s just important to be aware. If you are concerned, a prescription from your physician can be provided.

Many manufacturers indicate their products can be worn in either a swimming pool or a hot tub, but we suggest that a specifically designed swim form be used if you are frequently in chlorinated water. Otherwise, the breast form you were provided with can be worn in a pool or hot tub. The prosthesis will need to be washed well with a mild soap and left to air dry after each use.

Request a Free Evaluation

Take the first step in your journey toward returning to your new normal. We are here to help you every step of the way. Schedule a consultation with a certified prosthetist or orthotist in the nearest CPO clinic.

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