Using a prosthesis


This is my first post. It was confirmed today that I will need to have a mastectomy and I have 2 weeks in which to decide what I want to do about reconstructive surgery. I’m thinking about leaving it (for now anyway) and just using a prosthesis as I have ME/CFS and I don’t want to put my body under any more pressure than I really have to.

What’s it like using a prosthesis all the time?


Hi Jefner,
I had mx in November with no recon. Got my silicone prosthesis in Jan but much prefer the softies I got post-surgery. They are really comfortable and can be pinned into ordinary bras. You need to juggle with bra straps a bit because the softie is light and tends to ride up so you leave the bra strap on that side a bit looser to keep the prosthesis low.
I have worn all my normal clothes since the day I left hospital without any worries at all. Nobody scrutinises your chest like you do yourself so who notices a wee bit of lop-sidedness if it happens?
I may well go for recon surgery later, but for now I want to concentrate on getting through chemo and rads - just one chemo to go.
Only you can decide what will suit you best. Good luck with making the decision.

Hi jefner,

I had my mx back in sept last year and am going for my prosthesis fitting at the end of this month like Katyb61 I have been using the softee my BCN gave me since mx but have too admit most of the time I don’t really bother with anything at all, my breasts were very small before and I never really wore a bra anyway. My BS has told me as long as I am stable for a long period of time (i have secondaries) that they will perform a recon if I want it, not sure I want to put my body through anymore stress, I’ve done chemo, surgery and rads and feel thats enough for the time being, I’m going to wait and see how I feel at the moment I feel strongly that I will probably not opt for a recon. Like katyb61 has said its a personal decision only you will know what will suit you, best wishes for your surgery.

Love and light to you
sarahlouise xx

Hi Jefner,

I have been wearing self adhesive breast prosthesis for over 9 years bilateral, both sides, I also have ME and Fibromyalgia, so wearing prosthesis I thought would be heavy and pull on my shoulders or neck, but I got lightweight ones, and if my neck is sore or I am fatigued I can take them off and feel relaxed, and if I am having a bad day, I still feel good in myself without my breasts.

I have looked into delayed reconstruction, but with the Fibromyalgia it is a tough decision, as I dont want further pain in my muscles if I get the Latis or Diep recon, or do I think I will manage with implants, and possibly getting further nerve damage, so at the moment I am happy with the prosthesis then see if my pain and fatigue gets worse or if it stays the same then I might change my mind and go for reconstruction. I have good pain management.

I did get reconstruction at the same time as my mastectomy in 2000, with the tissue expander then implant, and this was ok, but I got a severe infection in my implants and had to have them removed and got fitted for prosthesis for 6 months, so the infection can clear up, but I kept the prosthesis as I was great with them, but then I got diagnosed with ME and Fibromyalgia so wanted to get those managed and move forward.

With having bilateral you can choose your cupsize, so I decided to go up a cupsize in the prosthesis, but this may be difficult if you have a natural breast to measure up to, The lingerie is getting better and more choices are out there, although still some basic whites, when you want colours, but depending on how well your prosthesis is fitted, you could wear a non pocketed bra as long as it is full cup to cover the prosthesis, you can get away with wearing nicer feminine bras.

Hope you are well and speak soon


I had a mastectomy with no reconstruction in Dec 2006. I got through all my chemo, then started to think about reconstruction. It took me till Jan 2010 when I saw the consultant to make up my mind. My reconstruction went ahead in Dec 2010. It was a Tram Flap reconstruction, a big op, 10 hours in all. I am really pleased with my new boob, but I am glad I waited to go ahead. Feel free to ask any questions. Some people have it done right away, everyone is different its what works for you.

Take care

Carolyn x

Just throwing in my experience.

Was diagnosed with primaries and bone secondaries July 07. Had chemo first, then mx with full anc on one side but no recon, rads and hormone therapy. Needed a one-off rads zap to area in spine where there had been a bit of spread. I have felt increasingly unblalanced and thought a mx on my good side may even me up and apart from anything else would take away the extra fear of the cancer appearing on that side. And my clothing can be more even too!!

Thought about it a lot and after a long time I approached my surgeon asking if he would do a second mx. I didn’t and have never wanted recon but that hasn’t been offered anyway. He had to speak to my onc at an MDT meeting but she agreed with him that it was fine to do as I am relatively stable. After 2 dates being cancelled, I finally got my mx last Thursday and feel fine. Came home Fri and had drain removed today. Go back for a check-up at the end of next week and hope the pathology report on the removed tissue shows ok. Had it not been that my surgeon did such a good job last time and is the most wonderful surgeon, I may not have thought about the second mx but I trust him implicitly and so far the results look fantastic. Once the scar has healed more I will start wearing bras again with matching prosthesis on both sides!!! That will help me feel better in itself. On days when I either can’t be bothered or am sitting at home, I can go prosthesis-free.

Good luck with whatever you decide.


hi there,

i had this decision just over 3 weeks ago. i went for mx and no recon. i could have had implant. i didnt have enough tummy to spare for other op, and may have needed implant anyway with the back flap one. so implant one seemed the easiest. plus i didnt fancy a long op. i had previous wide local excisions and just wanted the mx done. i didnt want further tweaks with the implant which surgeon said was possible at some point. in the end i decided i knew i wasnt ready and just needed to get the mx over with.

i am doing ok with the mx only. i am only small busted really so dont know if this is advantage with mx only or not - i dont feel lopsided at all really. i am using the softy at moment and its fine. i wear it with crop top stretchy sport bra type things from M&S. because they are tight the softy sits in there and doesnt move about at all. i havent bothered trying it with my normal bras. i cant comment yet on the proper prothesis, i will be fitted in 2 weeks. so hope that is just as good or better. i thought the softy would be more of a give away than prosthesis, but am surprised its ok. i wore loose shirts to start with as thought tighter fitting t-shirts you would be able to tell, but you cant tell all. once you get knack of getting it in right position so its not to high or low etc.

feel free to message me if you have questions etc.

best wishes with your decision

TTM xxx

I’ve been wearing a lightweight beenyboob, usually in a pocketed bra, for nearly two years now since my Mx, and I can honestly say it’s no big deal, it’s a whole lot easier than getting my hair under control every morning or reaching to trim my toenails! Was never into cleavage/showy-busty dressing anyhow and since becoming a sleevewearer I rarely do strappy tops either, so no probs of showing at the armhole edge. I tried a heavier prosthesis but it was dragging the bra against my lymphoedema. Totally uninterested in extra surgery for recon etc but would be very happy with a balancing Mx if the other side ever got iffy. Unsure if it’s worth the risks while it stays healthy.
But every one has different views of their body image, some ppl can’t imagine how I can feel this laid back about it. I was seriously told last week that every woman should have a recon, I was very polite and restrained as I only just met this lady. I didn’t tell her that every one should aspire to get themself a normal BMI and stay healthy, and that the NHS has quite enough to do dealing with serious illness…

For me it has been very straightforward. Reminded me a bit of when I first wore spectacles i.e. took a few days to get used to and then after that I don’t even notice I’m wearing it.

I was treated on the NHS and was offered a reconstruction straightaway if I wanted it, or to have it done at any point in the future. I’ve met several people who have recurring painful problems with reconstructions necessitating additional surgery and I remain glad I stuck with the decision to leave it for now.

Hello there - thought I’d jump on - you might have seen my recent thread about fun things to do with a prosthesis…I can happily say that I am very comfortable with it now after 2 years. Perhaps a bit of my story will help - really shocked to have to have MX after lumpectomy - knew already i would have to have chemo and rds so a second op v difficult. Post MX I hated my body shape for a bit, hid myself from my partner etc. But wearing loose clothing and scaves after surgery helped me gradually adjust. Then I got my first prosthesis, wore it with sports bra…fine but not too comfy. went back to nice prosthesis woman who gave me a lighter weight one - ( i am 38D) - then I went to John lewis cos i wanted to go back to nice bras. got served by a woman with MX …FABULOUS - now have black lacy bras again. Only issue for me now is not having a clevage and being careful about necklines when buying clothes, but I am getting used to it, and also there are clothes in my drawers i will never be able to wear again and should throw out but haven’t quite yet!!
adjustment takes time, but prosthesis fine, and for me better than recon.
oh and if you go to beach post me cos I have a great set up for that - I use a different one for swimming,
all the best Nicola

As you will have already seen its very individual how different people feel about prothesis, I personally saw it as a necessary evil to allow me to walk out of the door. Most of the time once your wearing it you won’t feel it but at times I felt it was away from my chest way and was really self conscious if I thought it showed. I think it depends on your body / boob type as a lot of ladies look fab in their underwear and you can’t seem to tell, but mine was always obvious in the cleavage area, no matter how good a mastectomy bra I tried and meant I was wearing totally different clothes to what I wanted to. I’ve now had recon and am really pleased to be able to send the falsie off to a Romanian charity for ladies who dont get the options we have over here.

It’s a really personal choice and neither option is right or wrong and what is best for you is the main thing, see if you can be put in touch with ladies in your area who can show you results of both options. Keep asking questions and make the choices you want, this is one area where you get control over what happens to your body.

Good luck what ever you choose xx

Thanks so much, everyone, for your comments and insights, which have put some of my concerns to rest.
The jury is still out!

x x