WHAT IS A POST MASTECTOMY BRA?

A mastectomy bra is a bra designed specifically for women who has had a mastectomy. Mastectomy bra’s are required to hold the prostheses in place by method of a pocket within the bra cup that holds the prostheses securely in place. As there is no skin, ligament or muscle holding the “breast” in place, it is up the the bra to effectively house and carry the weight of the prostheses comfortably.

A good mastectomy bra has the following features enabling the bra to securely and comfortably keep a breast prostheses in place:

  • Pocketed. Most mastectomy bra’s have pockets to house a breast prostheses or form. Theses pockets are sewn into the bra cups and are generally made from soft silk like material that is comfortable against someone’s skin and further allows a small amount air to ventilate the area between your chest wall and the mastectomy bra.
  • High Sternal Segment. This ensures that the breast and/or breast prostheses are/is encapsulated. This will keep the breast prostheses securely in place and prevent migration in the bra as well as keep the bra snag against the torso
  • Broad side wall. This ensures that the scar sites and potential skin and soft tissue left post mastectomy is comfortably contained and supported. It also provides addition support the the bra structure to carry the prostheses weight elevating weight from the shoulder straps – like a backpack does with a waist band.
  • No underwire. This is key that no restrictions are placed on lymph drainage with removed nodes. A underwire create a narrow point of pressure that decreases lymph drainage
  • Good pectoral coverage. The higher sternal section gives raise to good pectoral cover to ensure the bra sits snugly against the chest wall. This will also prevent the bra from gaping when you bend forward.
  • Material Technology. Mastectomy bra’s are made from high cotton count or microfibre materials to ensure that the are comfortable to wear, soft to touch and do not build up heat or moisture.
  • Soft Edges. Soft edges will ensure comfort with wearing as there might be sensitive area’s post mastectomy and treatment

Can I wear a breast protheses in a normal bra?

It is possible to wear a breast prosthesis in a normal bra BUT the prosthesis is like not going to be concealed by the cup of the bra. More importantly the breast prosthesis will not be held in place and will be able to move and potentially slip out.

Why can’t I wear an underwire bra?

Underwire bra’s have a wire sewn into the button of the cup to provide support to the breast tissue by pressing against the chest wall. The 2 main reasons why underwire bra’s are not recommend are as follow-

    1. The underwire with its narrow line of pressure will reduce lymph drainage especially is central nodes have been removed
    2. The narrow area of pressure is generally uncomfortable against radiation and or/ scar site

How often I’am, I eligible to get a new breast prosthesis and mastectomy bra’s from my medical aid?

Most medical aids cover 4 bra’s a year and a prosthesis every second year. This is also applicable for breast reconstruction patients

What happens if I gain or loose weight - will my breast prosthesis and bra size change?

Depending on how much weight is gained or loosed during or after treatment, your waist measurement and breast size will change. A bra should always feel comfortable and supportive.  If you therefore feel that your bra is not giving you support, or you experience the bra not hugging the breast and sternum your bra is probably to big and you should be resized.  Should you feel your bra is constricting you, and there is no adjustment options left and you are aware of weight gain- it is recommend to be resized.

What will happen during the consultation?

The consultation process is about getting to know each women and determining what style, size and type of prostheses and mastectomy bra would best suite each women. This involves a discussion about expectations of mastectomy products, general interests, concerns. 

Following this we will measure a patient and fit a number of bra’s and breast prostheses to determine what breast form and/or bra will best suit body and breast type as well as determine the correct sizing.

How much does a mastectomy bra cost?

Bra’s range in costs. The reasons for this is that different styles will have different material technologies, cuts and amount of work required to manufacture. Each of the mastectomy bra’s we stock and sell is specifically designed for women who has had a mastectomy. A lot of thought, care and meticulous attention to detail has gone into making each bra that we prescribe and fit, AND you will feel the difference immediately!.

Our most affordable mastectomy bra is R 595. This is a German made pure cotton bra. Our prices in general range from R 850- R 1650. (there are however bra’s that go up to R 2750 with crystals in…)

We strive to fit you fit the correct bra for your body and breast shape to achieve the perfect support and shape. We will advise you as to what best suits you.

What can I do with my old prosthesis and/or bra’s?

Previously loved prostheses and mastectomy bra’s can be donated at any of The M Store practices – we will put this on our national databasis and distribute to women that are in need of mastectomy bra’s and breast prostheses. We work closely together with a number NGO’s, like Reach for Recovery in assisting women in need.