- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Breast prostheses
- Material used in prostheses
Material used in prostheses
Temporary soft prostheses
Temporary soft prostheses tend to be made with foam, fibre fill or fleece. In the first couple of weeks or months after surgery you will be given a temporary prosthesis to wear. Some women continue wearing a soft prosthesis at night-time. Another option is to use the temporary soft prosthesis with a knitted cotton cover called a knitted knocker, which often includes the shape of a nipple.
Permanent breast prostheses
Permanent breast prostheses for long-term use are mostly made from medical grade silicone gel. Silicone is a non-toxic manufactured substance that is heat-resistant and rubbery. If a prosthesis tears or punctures, the silicone can’t be absorbed by the skin.
The silicone is moulded into the natural shape of a breast or part of a breast. The front surface feels soft and smooth. The back surface that rests against the body varies depending on whether the prosthesis is designed to go into a bra pocket or attach directly to your skin. It can be firm and smooth, flat or hollow; have ridges that are soft and flexible; have a thin film that clings gently to the skin; or be made of fabric. A new type of prosthesis has an inflatable back that you can adjust for comfort. See Different breast prostheses and their features for more information.
Most permanent prostheses are weighted to feel similar to your remaining breast (if only one breast has been removed), but lightweight styles are also available. Some prostheses include a nipple outline, or you can buy a nipple that attaches to the prosthesis.
Breast forms are very well designed these days. Anyone pressing up against you would not know the difference – not like the days when they were filled with bird seed or rice.Jan
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dragana Ceprnja, Senior Physiotherapist and Health Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jan Davies, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Director, Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, ACT; Ashleigh Mondolo, Clinical Nurse Consultant Breast Care Nurse, Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane, QLD; Dr Jane O’Brien, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC; Moira Waters, Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Sharon Woolridge, Consumer; Rebecca Yeoh, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
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