Based in the Breast Unit, this service is provided by the Breast Care Nurse for women who have significant difference in breast size or shape due to surgery, injury or growth defects. The Breast Care Nurse can help you to select the right prosthesis for you based on your lifestyle, health and personal preferences. Breast prostheses fitted by the Breast Care Nurse are available free of charge.
Please note that the information on this page can be found in the “Prosthesis Fitting Service Guernsey Breast Screening” leaflet, copies of which are available from the Breast Unit. The leaflet is reproduced here by permission of the Health and Social Services Department of the Guernsey Government.
Breast Prosthesis Service
Based in the Breast Unit, this service is provided by the Breast Care Nurse for women who have significant difference in breast size or shape due to surgery, injury or growth defects.
The Breast Care Nurse can help you to select the right prosthesis for you based on your lifestyle, health and personal preferences.
Breast prostheses fitted by the Breast Care Nurse are available free of charge.
A prosthesis can help balance the body and anchor the bra, preventing back or neck pain, shoulder sagging, or having a bra "ride up" in the back.
A breast prosthesis is an artificial breast form that fits in a bra cup. It can replace all or part of your breast where there is a loss of tissue following breast cancer surgery, or due to birth or growth defects.
There are many different styles and shapes to choose from, including self-supporting, partial pieces and replacement nipples.
Choosing a bra
A well-fitting bra is essential in ensuring your breast prosthesis is comfortable. Your Breast Care Nurse will measure you to ensure your bras fit properly before you receive a new prosthesis.
Specially adapted bras with pockets for securing the prosthesis are available from a variety of sources.
- Local lingerie stores
- Mail order catalogues
- Internet stores
Some normal bras can also be worn. Bras should have wide straps and full cups to allow proper support of the prosthesis.
Caring for your breast prosthesis
Always treat with care.
Keep the prosthesis clean by washing daily in warm soapy water and drying gently with a towel.
Store your breast form in the box provided as this will help to maintain the shape and protect from damage.
Protect from damage from sharp objects such as long fingernails, pins or scissors.
After swimming, always wash your prosthesis as soon as possible to protect from damage from salt or pool chemicals.
Additional Information After surgery
You may be concerned that you will look different after an operation on or treatment to your breast. However, it is unlikely that people will know about this unless you tell them.
After a mastectomy, a prosthesis will be fitted. When you are dressed, you will look the same as before your operation.
You will be fitted with a temporary soft lightweight prosthesis before you go home from hospital. This will give you shape and will not irritate the skin or interfere with wound healing. After 4-6 weeks, you will be fitted with a permanent prosthesis.
During and after Radiotherapy
It is advisable not to wear the silicone breast prosthesis during radiotherapy treatment. It may be possible to wear a lightweight prosthesis. Your Breast Care Nurse will advise when you can begin wearing your usual prosthesis again. This will be different for everyone but would normally be 2 - 4 weeks after treatment has finished.
During and after Chemotherapy
It is advisable not to wear the silicone breast prosthesis in the 3 days after chemotherapy treatment. Your Breast Care Nurse can provide a soft prosthesis for wearing during this time.
Replacing your prosthesis
Most prostheses are guaranteed for 2 or 3 years. Your prosthesis should be replaced regularly to ensure correct fitting and maximum comfort.
Your prosthesis will require changing earlier.
- If you lose or gain weight
- If it becomes damaged
Breast Prostheses are replaced free of charge. Please contact the Breast Care Nurse to make an appointment.
Please bring a plain light coloured t-shirt or lightweight sweater with you. This will give a smooth outline and allow better judgement of your appearance.
Please bring along a selection of bras. If you are unsure about your size, the Breast Care Nurse will measure you and advise on suitable bras.
BE BREAST AWARE
- Know what is normal for you.
- Look at and feel your breasts.
- Know what changes to look out for.
- Report any changes without delay.
- Go for breast screening if 50 and over.
Guernsey Breast Unit
Princess Elizabeth Hospital
Telephone: (01481) 724816
Publication date November 2004
Review date November 2006
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