Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mastectomy and lumpectomy lingerie, pyjamas and sleepwear.

There are many issues that effect women who require treatment for breast cancer or various forms of tumor. Clearly there is the physical trauma of the surgery itself. However, equally invasive is the psycological trauma of the after effects of surgery on the individual and in some cases on their families.

Women can 'wrongly' sometimes have a reduced sense of self worth. They suddenly find difficulty in finding mastectomy bras that fit and their old favourite designers brand do not provide for their specialist needs. More and more companies such as the designer lingerie brand Di Murini are now producing specialist mastecomy bras which are highly functional in that they provide areas for prosthesis, have reduced abrasion through seam wear and utilise specialist materials which are gentle on the skin whilst maintaining the chic of designer lingerie.

These advances can only help women to lift their spirits after this form of surgery and to help them in the post-surgery recovery.

What is a mastectomy?

The word mastectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, somtimes this is partial or complete. A mastectomy is usually carried out to treat breast cancer. Somtimes women and even some men who are at high risk of breast cancer have the operation prophylactically - this prevents cancer rather than treating it.

Sometimes patients have a lumpectomy or wide local excision. This is an operation whereby a small portion of breast tissue containing the tumor and some local healthy tissue is removed to protect the overall breast.

Advice on what to look for in a post-surgery bra.

  1. If the bra you are wearing is the correct style and fit then it would be impossible for anyone to know that you had surgery.

  2. You should always get expert advice on what type of mastectomy bra is best for you. Considerations may be style, fit, comfort (immediatly post-surgery or after your skin has had time to recover) and materials used in the construction (make sure the materials will not irritate you). Comfort should be a paramount consideration.

  3. It may be better to buy a small selection of well constructed beautifully designed bras which make you feel and look great rather than a larger amount of cheaper bras.

  4. It may be possible for some women to wear under-wired bras after some time after surgery. However, this is very dependant on the type of surgery an individual has and on the individual with many women finding the underwire uncomfortable as it irritates the scar tissue.

  5. Again, dependant on the type of surgery, some women may be able to wear a padded bra or a padded bra with a small insert which helps restore the shape of the breast if the surgery is relatively minor or a minor lumpectomy.

  6. A silicone prosthesis may be possible to wear approximately 6 weeks after you surgery though it is always advisable to consult your doctor or medical team first.

  7. If your surgery is more extensive then the prosthesis may require a pocket to ensure that it remains in place. Make sure that you go through all of the normal movements you would make to ensure the prosthesis remains in place and that it moves as a normal breast would do.

  8. Remember to clean your prosthesis regularly using the manufacturers guidance and when not in use the prosthesis should be kept in its mould in its original packaging to help retain its shape and enhance its life.

  9. Several types of breast prostheses are available for women who have had a mastectomy. They range between the lightweight foam forms that can be used immediately after surgery (they can ride up a little) to the more realistic silicone breast prostheses.


There are many brands of prosthesis of prostheses available including Amoena, Anita, Classique, Silima and Trulif.
You should be able to find a prosthesis that both realistically matches your remaining breast or your body shape and which feels comfortable.

Silicone prostheses are made from a soft, gel-like substance surrounded by a polyurethane skin. Resembling the human breast they are made in a wide variety of shapes which mimic a whole breast or which are partial shells, wedges and undercup fillers. Most silicone prostheses, which cost approximately £100.00, are now available in full or reduced weight styles to suit your needs and preferences and should last up to two years when cared for properly. It may be useful to retain at least two prosthesis – maybe even in different weights – the alternate may be used for such activities as lying on a beach or sport.

There are two other main types of prostheses, the non-weighted and weighted.

The non-weighted forms include shaped foam forms and fibre-filled pads which can be worn post-operatively and may be more comfortable during sleep or when lying on a beach. They are a cheaper form of prostesis though they can ride-up thereby giving a less symetrical effect to a womas figure.

The weighted forms are often suitable for leisure and sports activities and some forms are designed specifically for the gym and for swimming. They are often cheaper than silicone prosthesis and are commonly half the weight meaning that they have less tendency to ride-up.

You should try to choose the mastectomy bra first or better still try the prostesis and the mastectomy bra at the same time. If you get the bra that fits the remaining breast and then match the prosthesis to the mastectomy bra this should give a great result. If you have private medical insurance then please check the policy as it may assist with the cost of the prosthesis and products such as mastectomy bras, lumpectomy bras and swimwear.

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