After a mastectomy, a well-fitted breast prosthesis can increase self-confidence and help ease any emotional trauma caused by the loss of a breast(s).

Waiting 4-6 weeks before purchasing a breast prosthesis gives the chest wall time to heal. Your surgeon will give you a prescription for the prosthesis, and it may be covered by your insurance. In the meantime, wear a soft, lightweight prosthesis. Temporary prostheses also may be more comfortable to wear following radiation therapy. A lightweight prosthesis should only be used temporarily because it is not weighted properly and can cause shoulder and back issues.

Permanent breast prostheses move, feel, weigh and look like natural breast tissue. They come in many different materials, shapes, sizes, textures and colors. They can attach directly to the chest wall or be inserted into a bra. Custom-made forms also are available.

Before selecting a prosthesis, do some research. Check with the insurance provider to be sure the vendor is in network, and buy the prosthesis from an experienced and skilled fitter.

Find prosthesis suppliers.