Breast prostheses and reconstruction
This information is for women who have had, or are considering, a partial or complete removal of one or both breasts (mastectomy). The surgery may have been because of cancer or to prevent cancer.
For many women, breasts symbolise femininity, motherhood and sexual attractiveness. Losing part or all of a breast may affect a woman’s body image or confidence.
Before or after a mastectomy you may think about whether, and how, to restore your breast shape. You may consider a breast prosthesis or a breast reconstruction. A prosthesis is an artificial breast worn inside a bra. It is also called a breast form. A reconstruction is a surgical procedure used to create a new breast shape using your own tissue and skin, and/or an implant.
We hope this section will help you understand both options. It also includes information on the possible benefits and drawbacks, which may be helpful in your decision-making process.
This section does not need to be read from cover to cover – just read the parts that are useful to you. Some terms that may be unfamiliar are explained in the glossary.
Learn more about:
- Key questions about breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Making decisions about breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast prostheses
- Breast reconstruction
- Looking after yourself
- Seeking support
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, University of Sydney, NSW; Jo Cockwill, Consumer;
Suzanne Elliott, Consumer; Bronwyn Flanagan, Breast Care Nurse, Brightways, Cabrini Hospital, VIC; Maina Gordon, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Corsetry Specialist, Colleen’s Post-Mastectomy Connection, ACT; Kerry Nash, Sales and Marketing Manager, Amoena Australia, NSW; A/Prof Kerry Sherman, Macquarie University and Westmead Breast Cancer Institute, NSW. We are grateful to Amoena Australia Pty Ltd for supplying the breast form images, which appear on pages 14 -16. The breast reconstruction images on pages 37, 45, 48, 51 have been reproduced with permission from Breast Cancer: Taking Control, breastcancertakingcontrol.com © Boycare Publishing 2010.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.