Many women choose to have no reconstruction of any type after the mastectomy. Some make this decision because they want to avoid extra surgery. Others because they’re comfortable with their appearance and body image. A few view their scars as battle scars from a war they waged.

If you choose to have no reconstruction, you may want to use a breast form instead. Breast forms, or prostheses as they are also called, are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Some are designed to fit into a special bra. Others can be attached securely to your chest using a special adhesive. Prostheses range from inexpensive foam inserts to custom-molded replacements with realistic color and texture, designed to duplicate your natural breast as closely as possible.

Breast forms are used not just for appearance. They play an important function by relieving the uneven strain on your posture that may occur after a mastectomy, particularly if your breasts are large.

The decision about whether to have breast reconstruction, or to wear an external prosthesis instead, is a very personal one. It should be based on your own feelings about your body, your sexuality, and your tolerance for additional surgery. Your decision is legitimate, and must be respected by your healthcare providers and your loved ones.