Health Information and Tools > Breast Cancer Surgery > At home after surgery >  Breast cancer surgery: Appearance and prostheses

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Breast Cancer Surgery


Body image


It’s normal to have questions and concerns about body image and sexuality. You may have unexpected feelings from the changes to your body from surgery or treatment. This is different for everyone. If you can talk about these feelings with your partner, family, and friends, you’ll feel less alone when dealing with these changes.

If you’d like more help, talk to:

  • Someone in your community who you can trust
  • Any member of your healthcare team


A breast prosthesis is a removable breast form that fits in your bra cup. It is designed to look, weigh, and move like a natural breast. A prosthesis can be used with or without a specially formed pocket inside your bra.


Images cou​rtesy of Healthwise®.

The decision to use a breast prosthesis is very personal. It’s based on your feelings, needs, and lifestyle. You may choose to always wear a prosthesis. Or you may choose to wear one while you’re deciding about or waiting for breast reconstruction surgery. It’s your choice whether or not to use a breast prosthesis or have reconstructive surgery. You’re free to change your mind.

When you wear a properly fitted prosthesis, your balance and posture are supported. This can help prevent back and neck problems after you have had a breast removed. Your prosthesis also prevents your bra from sliding up and gives a natural shape to your clothing.

Transitional (temporary) prosthesis

A temporary (transitional) prosthesis is a soft light-form (fluffy or foamy) that you can secure inside your clothes or wear inside your bra. People often use these for the first 8 to 12 weeks after surgery until their incision is well healed. At that time you can be fitted for a long-term (permanent) prosthesis. You may be able to get a transitional prosthesis for free. Talk to your healthcare team about where to get one.

Long-term (permanent) prosthesis

A permanent prosthesis is an option for people who have had a mastectomy without breast reconstruction. Permanent prostheses are made from silicone, foam, or other materials. Some prostheses temporarily stick to the skin on the chest. Others are worn in a regular bra or a mastectomy bra.​​

Things to know before you are fitted:​​

  • Wait at least 8 to 12 weeks after surgery, until your scar is fully healed and the swelling has gone down
  • You may have to wait longer than 12 weeks if you are having radiation treatment.
  • If you’ve had a mastectomy, Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL) may pay for part of your prosthesis. Contact a Home Healthcare vendor of your choice for an appointment. They will help you find out if you can get assistance through AADL, Blue Cross, or other private health insurance providers. Some or all of the cost of your prosthesis may be covered. You may also contact your insurance provider and ask.​

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