Breast Cancer Surgery Forms

For women who have had a mastectomy for breast cancer, breast forms are an alternative to breast reconstruction.

Most breast forms are made from materials that have a weight and feel similar to your natural breast tissue. With a good fit, the form will provide the balance your body needs for correct posture.

At first, these forms may feel heavy but they will feel natural over time. Take time to shop for a good fit, comfort, price and an attractive natural appearance in the bra and under clothing. Your clothes should fit the way they did before surgery.

You will want to choose a bra that works well with your breast form. It may be the same bra you’ve always worn but you will want to make sure it doesn’t bind your chest too tightly.

If you decide to wear your breast form in a pocket in your bra, you can have your regular bra adapted. There are also special mastectomy bras, with the pockets already sewn in.

If the form causes any kind of skin irritation, use a bra with a pocket. If your bra has underwiring, you may be able to wear it if it doesn’t cause discomfort.

Some women want to wear their prosthesis under nightgowns but would like something more comfortable than a regular bra. Most department stores carry a soft bra, sometimes called a leisure or night bra.

If, after a trial of wearing an external prosthesis, it is uncomfortable or inconvenient, you may wish to meet with a Virginia Mason plastic surgeon to discuss breast reconstruction options to rebuild your breast.

Insurance Coverage for Breast Forms

Your breast form may be covered by insurance. Check your insurance policy to see what is covered and how to submit claims.

In addition:

  • Ask your physician to write prescriptions for your prosthesis and for any special mastectomy bras.
  • When purchasing bras or breast forms, have the bills and any checks you write marked "surgical."
  • Medicare and Medicaid can be used to pay for some of these expenses, if you are eligible.
  • The cost of breast forms and bras with pockets may be tax deductible.
  • If you have a bra altered, the charge may be tax deductible.
  • Keep careful records of all related expenses.

In many cases, if you submit a claim for a prosthesis or bra to your insurance company, it won’t cover reconstruction, if you choose this procedure in the future.

Please get all the facts before submitting any insurance claims.