Frequently Asked Questions on Breast Forms, Mastectomy Bras, and Insurance.

Breast Forms:

Q: What is a breast form?

A: A breast form is an external prosthesis that can be worn inside the pocket of a bra. Breast forms are designed to resemble natural breast tissue and are therefore typically made of silicone.

Q: Why do I need to wear a breast form?

A: Wearing a breast form can enhance your overall appearance and help restore the weight that's missing from your chest wall. Not wearing one can sometimes cause physical alterations if your body's natural balance has been affected by your surgery. A weighted breast form will restore your body's natural balance. It will prevent spinal curvature, shoulder drop, and lower back and neck pain.

Q: Can I swim in my breast form?

A: It is recommended that you opt for form which was designed specifically for swimming. These forms are designed to handle exposure to the types of water found in the ocean and swimming pools.

Q: How long will my breast form last?

A: Breast forms have a life expectancy of 2 years. Medicare and most private insurances grant you an allowable for a new prosthesis every 2 years. If you have a bilateral, you're allowed 2 breast forms every 2 years.

Q: Is there breast forms that keep me cool?

A: Most breast form brands offer a version with enhanced cooling properties. Typically, this is accomplished with air channels designed into the forms rear surface that contacts your body.

Q: Can I get a lighter breast form?

A: Yes, light weight breast forms are available, but keep in mind that weight balance is also important.

Q: I need to restore symmetry after a lumpectomy, reconstruction or breast conserving surgery. What will work best for me?

A: Partial breast forms are designed to restore symmetry, helping you achieve a balanced look and feel. A variety of shapes are available from your certified fitter.

Q: Will people be able to tell the difference between my natural breast and my breast form?

A: With a proper fitting and the right breast form and bra, you will look balanced and feel confident. It's also helpful to know that silicone breast forms are completely "huggable". Your breast form will pass the "hug test" with flying colors.

Q: Why should I be seen by a certified fitter?

A: Every woman is different – so is every bra and every breast form. It's best to have a certified fitter help you look at what works best for your size, frame and build.

Q: What should I do if my breast size changes before I'm due for a replacement?

A: Before you go for another fitting, you should check with your doctor. You need to have another prescription in order for your insurance to cover another breast form(s).

Q: Can I wear a breast form without wearing a pocketed
post-mastectomy bra?

A: Yes, but you may find it easier to wear a pocketed bra that was designed to hold the weight of a breast form. Other bras may not be able to sustain the weight of the breast form. A post-mastectomy bra gives you the added security that you need.

Q: When should I start wearing a breast form?

A: Immediately following your surgery, it is recommended that you initially get fitted with a non-silicone form. This should be worn for at least 6 weeks after your surgery. When your doctor determines that you're ready for a weighted prosthesis, then he/she will write you a prescription for a silicone breast form.

Q: Is silicone safe to use?

A: Yes, silicone is deemed a safe material to use in the production of an external breast prosthesis.

Mastectomy Bras:

Q: What's the difference between a post-mastectomy bra and regular bra?

A: Post-mastectomy bras are designed with a pocket on the inside of the bra cup. This pocket is designed to hold your breast prosthesis in place. Additionally, there are design features that allow for the added weight of a silicone breast form. There are a variety of bras because there are a variety of women. A certified fitter will consult with you to determine which bra works best for you.

Q: How many bras will my insurance cover?

A: Medicare and most insurance providers will usually cover several bras up to a 3 month supply each time. To be certain, ask your doctor to specify the number of bras on your prescription. Also check with your insurance provider before visiting your fitter.

Q:How will I know which bra will work the best for me?

A: Every woman is designed differently, which is why it's best to be fitted by a certified mastectomy fitter before you purchase your post-mastectomy bra. The fitter will consult with you to determine if a seamless molded cup works better than a soft cup bra. When choosing a bra you want to consider three things: comfort, confidence, and ease of wear.

Q: Now that I have to wear a breast form, will I have to wear an unattractive and unflattering bra?

A: In your search to find the right bra, you will discover that many post-mastectomy bras are designed to reflect the current fashion trends in the market. There are a number of bras that provide the beauty you want as well as the support you need.

Insurance:

Q: How many bras will my insurance cover?

A: Medicare and most insurance providers usually cover between 2 to 6 bras every year. Check with your insurance provider before visiting
your fitter.

Q: Will my insurance cover my breast prosthesis?

A: Medicare and most private insurance providers usually cover one silicone breast form every two years. If you had a bilateral mastectomy, then you are normally entitled to two silicone breast forms every two years. For non-silicone prostheses, Medicare and most insurance providers normally allow one form every 6 months. Non-silicone breast forms are commonly used immediately after surgery and for leisure wear. Wait at least 6 weeks after surgery or based on your doctor's recommendation before you transition into a silicone breast form.

Q: Is there anything I need to bring to my first
fitting appointment?

A: Make sure that you have a prescription from your doctor. This will help the fitter know exactly what you need and what needs to be covered by your insurance. Both a breast prosthesis and post-mastectomy bra require a prescription.

Q: What happens if I lose (gain) weight and need to change my breast prosthesis and/or bra?

A: If you experience weight loss or gain and require a new prosthesis and/or bra, you must have a prescription from your doctor. There must be a weight gain or loss of 20 lbs. in order for your doctor to write another prescription. This prescription is required for insurance reimbursement.


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