Breast prostheses and reconstruction

This information has been prepared to help you understand your options before or after surgery for breast cancer.

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Breast prostheses

Questions to ask the breast care nurse or fitter

  • Do I need to wear a breast prosthesis?
  • What kind of prosthesis would work best for me? Is there something suitable after breast-conserving surgery?
  • When can I start wearing a breast prosthesis?
  • How will wearing a prosthesis affect me if I have lymphoedema or oedema?
  • What can I do if I find the breast prosthesis uncomfortable?
  • Do I need to buy pocketed bras or can I wear regular ones?

Questions to ask the fitter about the fitting

  • How long will the fitting take?
  • Can I bring a support person to the fitting?
  • If I don’t want to remove my bra, is it possible to be measured for a prosthesis and/or pocketed bra without doing so?
  • Do you have a wide range of styles and colours? Can you order other styles or colours if the ones in stock aren’t suitable?
  • What if I find the prosthesis too heavy or too hot?
  • Can I also get a swim breast prosthesis? Will I need a special swimming costume?
  • What is the price range of the prostheses and bras you sell?
  • Do I need to buy a pocketed bra or can I use a regular one?
  • How do I care for the prosthesis?
  • Can I return the prosthesis if it’s not suitable?
  • What happens if I puncture my prosthesis?
  • What is the warranty period for the prosthesis?
  • How long will my prosthesis last?
  • What should I do if my breast size changes before I’m due for replacement?

Questions to ask yourself about the fit

  • Is the bra comfortable when I take a deep breath?
  • When I lean forward, is the bra sitting flat against my chest?
  • Does the prosthesis feel secure in the bra?
  • Does the prosthesis match my skin tone?
  • Do I feel balanced? Does the surface of the bra look smooth?
  • Can I see edges of the prosthesis sticking out of the bra?
  • Do I like how I look with the prosthesis in place?

Breast reconstruction

Questions to ask your breast or reconstructive (plastic) surgeon

  • Do you think I can have a reconstruction?
  • When would you advise me to have the reconstruction?
  • What types of reconstructions are suitable for me?
  • If I need radiation therapy, will this affect the reconstruction or the type of reconstruction I can have?
  • Will you do my reconstruction?
  • What are the risks and possible side effects of this type of reconstruction?
  • Do you specialise in this type of surgery?
  • How long will I have to wait to have the reconstruction?
  • Where can I have this surgery?
  • How long will I need to stay in hospital? How long will my recovery take?
  • How much will it cost? Are there any out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Medicare or my private health cover?
  • How will the reconstructed breast look and feel?
  • Can you show me photos of previous reconstructions you’ve done?
  • Can I talk to others who have had a similar operation?
  • Will the reconstruction hide any new problems? Do I still need regular mammograms?
  • How can I get a second opinion?
  • Who should I contact if I have questions or a problem after surgery?
  • If there are complications, is it likely I’ll need more surgery?

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