Partial breast forms are used to create a natural breast outline for women who have had breast surgeries resulting in partial loss of breast tissue. A partial breast prosthesis is used to fill out space where breast tissue was lost.
When are Partial Breast Forms Used?
Partial breast forms are necessary when breast cancer patients choose to have breast-conservation surgeries such as a lumpectomy. These operations aim to remove the cancerous cells without performing a traditional mastectomy.
Unlike a mastectomy surgery, breast-conservation surgery removes only a portion of breast tissue. Patients have no use for full breast prosthesis, and instead, opt for specialized partial breast forms that are designed to fill out the breast outline.
What Kinds of Partial Breast Forms are There?
- Traditional Partial Prosthesis
Most partial breast forms are worn inside the bra, to fill out the natural breast shape. They are made of the same silicone material used to make full breast prostheses. These are used under post-surgical bras for lumpectomy patients once their scar tissue has healed.
- Shell Prosthesis
A shell prosthesis is a partial prosthesis that can be used over the smaller breast so that it matches the size of the larger breast. Some breast-conservation surgeries require removal of a lot of breast tissue, leaving patients with asymmetrical and uneven breasts. Shell prostheses are especially useful for these patients because they create a fuller, smoother, and more natural appearance.
- Stick-on Prosthesis
Partial prostheses can also be stuck directly to the skin to accommodate certain women’s active lifestyles or cosmetic preferences. These use a sensitive double-sided tape designed for use on the skin. But doctors advise patients not to use these until at least a year after the procedure, to avoid damage to the skin. They can be worn either directly on the chest or in pocketed post-surgical bras as a regular prosthesis, with a protective backing on the stick-on part.
How to Wear Your Partial Breast Form
Stick-on partial breast prostheses adhere directly to the skin. These are typically equipped with a double-sided adhesive to attach to the skin, but you could also use any double-sided adhesive. To apply, clean the skin with an alcohol wipe to remove dirt and oils from the skin. Place several pieces of tape on the back of the partial breast form and carefully put it in place on your skin. Hold the prosthesis in place to ensure it is fully attached.
Silicone prosthesis can be paired with mastectomy bras such as Anita sports bras, Jodee bras, and Amoena bras. These include pockets that can support your partial prosthesis the same way they support a full prosthesis. Simply insert your silicone partial prosthesis into the delicate, fabric pocket inside your post-surgical bra. These specialty bras provide secure support to the prostheses, holding them firmly in place and creating a natural silhouette.
Tips to Clean and Care for Your Breast Forms
To avoid damaging your breast forms, establish a regular cleaning schedule and use the following general cleaning guidelines:
- Hand Wash Only
Machine washing can damage your partial breast prosthesis and can even remove the adhesive backing, which is why a gentle hand wash is preferable.
- Clean Daily
Generally, you should clean your partial prosthesis daily. Clean your breast prostheses using a special breast wash formula and a gentle non-abrasive sponge.
- Dry Gently
Try to avoid wringing out excess water from your breast forms because this will make foam-covered and fabric-covered partial breast forms will lose their natural shape.
Instead, use a soft towel and pat dry the majority of the water from the partial breast prosthesis and leave the rest to air dry. This avoids damage to the inner adhesive layer of your breast forms, and the outer layer.
- Avoid Chemical Irritants
Chemical irritants such as perfumes and body lotions interact poorly with the adhesive layer of most partial breast forms and can impact the prosthesis’ ability to adhere to the skin properly.
- Store Properly
Also, to ensure your breast forms maintain their shape, store them in their original box when you are not using them.