Why choose a custom form?Even though there are a wide variety of shapes, sizes and color tones available in retail breast forms from the various manufacturers, there is still a possibility that an off-the-shelf breast form solution might not be right for some people... The sizes or shapes available in general retail breast forms may be too small or large for your situation, or you may have issues that an off-the-shelf form can not address. The best alternative in these situations is a custom breast prosthesis.
A good custom breast form is tailored to your own body's contours, will most likely be made of silicone, and simulates the weight, shape, color tone, texture and movement of your natural breast tissue as closely as possible.
The precise fit to the chest wall is probably the most important aspect of a custom breast form. The chest wall surface of someone requiring a custom breast form might be uneven due to the effects of a lumpectomy or multiple/radical surgeries. Some people's chests may also be too sensitive from surgery or other causes to tolerate the significant friction that a general form can generate on the chest. Having a form that matches your contours exactly distributes the weight of a form better than an off-the-shelf breast form and can be much more comfortable to wear, feeling lighter. A custom form can also be designed to alleviate stress and friction entirely on more sensitive areas of the chest wall as well.
Since the process of creating a custom form is much more involved than buying a pre-made form, a price comparison between the two will show that the custom form will probably always be more expensive. Just how much more? That will certainly vary depending on the company, but medical insurance coverage should still be the same for this type of form as with pre-made forms.
General process of creating a custom formThe first steps in creating a custom breast form involve taking a casting or surface mapping scan of the area before and/or after breast surgery. If the mapping is done before surgery, important data about the original external contours of the breast to be operated on can be preserved. The mapping that happens after surgery is performed will capture the exact current contours of the chest area where the breast form will sit, and possibly map the other existing breast to create a mirror image if a scan was not made prior to surgery.
After mapping the area, a form prototype is then made. At this point you will probably meet again with the company to do preliminary fitting adjustments. They should also discuss any further options available for matching skin tone, breast shape and areola size/color. If attachability to the chest is a desired feature, you should also be asking about this by now. The final fitting for the custom breast form should then follow at a later date.
Known custom breast form manufacturers