Post-Mastectomy: How Do I Create Symmetry?

After undergoing a mastectomy, regaining symmetry can be a challenge. There are different options, like reconstruction and breast forms, but it can be difficult to determine which option is best for you. Here you will find a breakdown on some of the most common options.

Reconstructive surgery

Women can choose to undergo reconstruction surgery either at the same time as having a mastectomy (discuss with your doctor to find out if this is an option for you) or months or even years post-procedure. There is more than one type of reconstructive surgery. Breast(s) can be reconstructed using tissue from another part of the body or by using a silicone gel/saline implant. Reconstruction using body tissue is where skin and fat are taken from either the abdomen, back or buttocks and used to form a new breast. Reconstruction by implant is a surgical procedure in which a silicone gel/saline implant is placed under the chest tissue to form a breast of approximately the desired shape and size. As with all surgeries, there are risks involved in undergoing both types of breast reconstruction. Surgical options are often desired because of the permanent symmetry that they can help to create.

Breast forms

Breast forms are a non-permanent solution for women who have undergone a mastectomy.  Breast forms come in full, partial, and even custom-shaped prosthetics and can be made with several different materials that are designed to simulate the look, feel and shape of a natural breast. They are designed to slip easily into pocketed bras, camisoles and even swimwear, allowing you to stay comfortable and confident no matter where you go. The reasons that women choose breast forms over reconstructive surgery can vary. Breast forms are a good option for those who are still uncertain as to whether or not they want to get breast reconstruction surgery. Others choose to use forms indefinitely, as they do not want to go through surgery again.

One interesting new option for breast forms is called the Amoena Adapt Air. This specialty breast form is adjustable, and air can be added or released at any time. This is a great fit if you are in between breast form sizes. Check out how it works here! For more information about the Adapt Air, please contact the Nightingale location nearest you.

Talk to your doctor or a Certified Mastectomy Fitter for more information about your options when trying to achieve symmetry after your mastectomy. Nightingale Medical Supplies has Certified Mastectomy and Advanced Lymphedema/Compression Fitters who can guide you through what to expect when wearing a breast prosthesis, how to manage it when you’re being physically active, and how to easily care for your prosthetics. Nightingale also offers breast forms, found here. If you decide to go ahead with reconstructive surgery, Nightingale can help with compression garments, found here.