This video explores the various breast prosthetics and prothesis bras and swimwear that are available for women that have had a mastectomy.
Michelle – Breast care nurse: Breast care nurses in Australia should all have access to a bra and prosthesis fitter. If they don’t do it themselves (and most of us don’t do it ourselves – we refer you to somebody). There are trained bra and prosthesis fitters within Brisbane who we would refer you to and they would basically look at the shape and size of your remaining breast and fit you with a prosthesis. It’s made of a silicone type material – it’s very similar to the other breast in shape, size and weight and will fit you with some bra’s too.
A mastectomy bra is similar to a normal bra except they have little pockets sown into the back so the prosthesis can sit inside them. There’s a lot of different types too so when you talk to the prosthesis fitter, talk about your lifestyle; how active you are; whether you swim or not; if you run – all of these things need to be taken into account when you’re talking about prosthesis because it’s not one size fits all. The prosthesis fitter can run through all that with you when she sees you.
Jen – Breast care nurse: There are lots of options and it’s about what makes you feel comfortable. I personally think that if you’ve got good posture, you don’t have to be doing anything. Don’t feel you have to be wearing a prosthesis. I don’t feel it has to be weighted either so, it’s whatever you feel comfortable in.
You can wear a bra; you can wear foam; you can have weighted prosthesis. I think its really important that you are doing and wearing what you feel comfortable in.
Come back and talk to your breast care nurse if you’re not comfortable or where you were fitted for any of those things because, there’s really no rules there – there’s no do’s or don’ts – it’s what you want to do.
Juanita – Breast care nurse: It’s also important to note that Medicare rebate gives you $400 per prosthesis so if you had bilateral reconstruction or mastectomies and required prostheses, you would be able to buy 2 of those.
Usually the fitter where you go will do all this paperwork for you. You need to pay the money up front but get reimbursed by Medicare within about 5-7 days.
Every 2 years, you’re entitled to get new prostheses.
Alison – Breast care nurse: Your permanent prosthetic is made of silicone. There are other options as well, but this is the most common type [Alison holds up a prosthetic]. There are different backings that they all have, and it depends on you and your skin as to what actually happens. Normally you can get these about 4-6 weeks after your surgery, once everything is healed up.
The heavier prosthetics – they are weighted. This one [Alison holds one up] is about 500 grams so it’s quite heavy. Some ladies find that’s just a bit too heavy however, sometimes we need to balance you so your fitter and provider/specialist that’s been trained to measure up and to make it even, will do a whole heap of measuring and see. The idea is that they have the size and shape and flow of a breast.
The other options that we have is a slightly lighter weight one [holds up a sample], a lot lighter weight. There’s also another version of this which has got more projection, basically, more of a cup.
For some ladies, their breast is a bit different in size to what it was before or the other breast may need a tiny bit of adjustment as well so, we have things called ‘partial prosthetic’ [she holds up a sample] and there’s different shapes because you may need it in different areas depending on what your breasts are doing. Ideally, when you’re going out, no-one needs to know unless you choose to tell them.
Putting your implant in – all these ones have [holds up a sample prosthesis and a bra] little inserts so they’re not going to fall out and cause you embarrassment. They fit into the bra. We have sports bra’s [holds up a sample sports bra].
They’re increasing the range of bra’s that do up at the front because the Burley support post-op bras have got do up at the front. This is one of the crop tops [hold up a sample of a crop top] and with all of these, there’s the insert.
This is what we call a ‘swim form’ [holds up a sample of a swim form prosthetics] a swimming prosthetic. It’s slightly hollow and there are waves that helps the water go through. These are not covered by Medicare but some health funds do cover them. They’re roughly about $140.00 but check with prosthetic fitter when you’re getting your swim form.
[Holding up swimwear] The prosthetic fits into the swimwear so that basically you can just take off your bra, pull your swimmers up and they’re in there. This is a sample of a ‘Tankini’ [holds up a sample of a Tankini]. There are bikini’s as well, or we’ve got the different full pieces as well.