Choosing the right Breast Form
What is a Mastectomy?
Be Kind to yourself
Breast Form Size Guide - UK
Breast Forms and Breast Prosthesis FAQ - How to Choose the Right Breast Form for you.
We understand it can be hard to choose the correct breast forms or prosthesis first time, but there is no risk as you can return or exchange your item if you get the wrong shape or size. Please refer to our breast form size guide when choosing a prosthesis and please read through our helpful FAQs below.
Why breast forms?
Our silicone breast forms are great for acting as either a long term replacement breast after breast removal surgery, or a short-term replacement whilst waiting for breast reconstruction surgery. The breast prostheses can be used to restore your natural balance and shape. Our silicone breast forms are also very popular with crossdressers and widely used in the film and TV industry. At Undercover Glamour you can find many shapes, sizes and colours to suit most peoples preferences. We have recently developed darker shades of breast forms to increase the supply for people of colour and those with tanned skin. Many of our customers had shared with us that they have struggled to find prostheses that are darker and could only get forms of lighter colour options. We are so proud to say that we have been able to broaden the selection of breast forms to cater to so many more people.
What breast form shape should I choose?
We have several shapes of breast prosthesis available depending on your needs. The triangular prosthesis is a full breast shape which is versatile and will fit many types of breast shape. The triangle shaped breast prostheses are symmetrical so they can be worn on either side. The triangle shaped breast forms work well for women with round and full breasts (known as Archetype, the most common type) and Athletic breasts (breasts that have more muscle and less breast tissue).
Our triangle shaped breast forms are a more popular choice with crossdressers probably due to them being wider in shape and they work well with more athletic frames.
Our teardrop shaped breast forms are another versatile shape, as they are shaped with a rounder bottom and a thinner top they can be worn in several ways. The teardrop breast suits women that have Bell shaped breasts (breast is fuller at the top than the bottom), Slender breasts (breasts are narrow and long, with the nipples pointing downwards) and for Relaxed breasts (due to age the breasts have looser breast tissue and now hang downwards). And as described, the teardrop breast form also suits the teardrop breast shape. For these breast shapes the teardrop breast prostheses can be worn with the thinner part pointing upwards and the fuller and rounder bottom at the lower point.
The teardrop breast forms can also be worn with the thinner point under the arm and the fuller part where the breast is. It can be worn this way if you have had lymph gland tissue removal from under the arm area, and from the side of the breast. The teardrop breasts can also be positioned for Side set breast shapes.
I have had underarm lymph gland removal which breast form do you recommend?
Our Extended Full Breast Prosthesis works best if you have undergone a mastectomy which involved removing the tissue from under your arm. The Extended Full Breasts are asymmetrical in shape, with a pronounced extension to replace tissue at the underarm area. They are also lightweight so very comfortable to wear.
Are the breast prostheses suitable for post-mastectomy surgery?
Yes. Whether you have had your breasts removed due to cancer or preventative/ prophylactic surgery like Angelina Jolie, our replacement breasts are a perfect solution for restoring your shape and confidence. Our breast prostheses are very soft and realistic, just like a natural breast. They can be purchased as an individual breast or as a pair depending on your needs. We also supply lightweight breast prostheses which are perfect for larger breasted women as they give the fuller size without the extra weight. Our lightweight breast prostheses are about 2/3 of the weight of the silicone breast forms.
What size of breast form should I order?
We offer A cup to H cup breast forms, if you require a larger size please contact us and we will be happy to help. Please see our size guide tables to help you find the best fitting prosthesis. Our lightweight range of breast prostheses are available in the bigger sizes and are great for the larger bust due to being about a 1/3 lighter than the silicone breast forms. You have the option to buy one breast prosthesis or a pair depending on your needs.
Our size 8 and size 9 silicone breast forms are the most popular with crossdressers probably as these are the most common UK bust sizes. The average UK bust size is now a 36DD. Our size 8 breast forms fit a full 34DD, 36D bra, 38C bra, and our size 9 breast forms fit a full 34E, 36DD bra, 38D bra.
What is the difference between your silicone breast forms and your lightweight breast forms?
Our silicone breast forms are the most life-like of all our breast forms and are made from a silicone substance which is soft and squishy that feels like natural breast tissue. The silicone breast forms also have a realistic looking areola and nipple raise. The lightweight breast forms are about 1/3 lighter than the silicone breast forms so these are popular with women as it is less weight to carry around. The lightweight breast forms are also soft but not quite as squishy as the silicone breast forms. Both styles are designed to fill out your bra cup and restoring your natural shape and balance.
I have had a partial mastectomy, what sized breast forms should I choose?
We have a range of breast enhancers, chicken fillets for bras, and bra inserts that are a half cup shape in design which will help fill the space in your bra and balance you, please view www.undercover-glamour.com/breast-enhancers to see our full range.
I had reconstruction surgery to match my other breast, I have since lost weight so now my real breast is smaller, what do you suggest to balance my bust?
We have a range of different sizes of breast enhancers and bra inserts which will help fill your bra out and match you to your reconstruction breast. Depending on the difference between your actual breast and your reconstruction breast will depend on the size of enhancer you need, please note our measurements of each breast enhancer on the product pages.
Are the breast forms heavy?
The silicone breast forms are about the same weight as real breasts. For example, 36E cup and 34F cup breasts weigh approximately 750 grams per breast so 1.5kgs for the pair. Our size 10 silicone breast forms that fit a full 36E/34F cup weigh 800 grams per breast (so 50 grams heavier than the average 36E/ 34F natural breast weight). Our lightweight breast forms are approximately 35% lighter than your natural breast weight. You can view the weights and sizes of the breast forms at https://undercover-glamour.com/prosthesis-measurements
Can I swim while wearing my breast prosthesis/ prostheses?
Yes, the silicone breast forms are completely waterproof. After swimming in a pool make sure you rinse the breast forms to clean any chlorine off, and then towel dry. There is a large market for mastectomy swimwear, and the variety is increasing all the time. Our silicone breast forms are ideal for wearing with your mastectomy swimwear.
I want to exercise but I don’t want to be flat chested on one side/ asymmetrical, what can I do?
Whilst many women may feel self-conscious about exercising without a breast following a single mastectomy, there are many specially designed mastectomy sports bras that are ideally suited to Undercover Glamour’s breast forms. This means that if you have had a mastectomy you can still be active and play sports which is increasingly important in protecting your health and well-being.
Can I wear my normal bra with the breast forms?
The simple answer is yes, however mastectomy bras are better as they have a pocket sewn into the bra to hold and conceal the breast prosthesis and stop it from moving around. Alternatively, if you have a ‘favourite’ bra that you would like to wear the breast forms in you can purchase Sew-In Bra Pockets to alter your normal bra so that the breast form is fully secured in place just like a mastectomy bra.
Are the breast forms comfortable?
Customers who have worn them before, sometimes say that the prosthesis can be cold and heavy when you first put them in your bra, but this feeling usually goes away quickly as the temperature from your body warms them up and so they mould to your body and bra just like normal breast tissue would, leaving you feeling comfortable.
Do they stick on?
No. These breasts are made specifically for putting into bras and swimwear, in particular mastectomy clothing. If you are looking for stick on bras with padding or for a silicone stick on bra, please view are range here, www.undercover-glamour.com/strapless-bra
Can I wash my breast forms?
Yes. We recommend that you do wash your breast forms to keep them clean. Hand-wash the silicone breast forms with warm water and mild soap and then dry with a towel.
Can you send the breast forms in unbranded packaging?
Your breast forms will be shipped discreetly in a plain, unmarked box with no identifying labels. When shipping abroad on the customs label we put "lingerie accessory."
Do many people wear prosthetic breasts?
Breast cancer is also the most common cancer in the UK. It represented 15% of all new cancer cases in 2017. In the UK around 54,700 new cases of breast cancer in women were diagnosed in 2017, please see www.breastcanceruk.org.uk for more facts and statistics.
According to breastcancer.org a 2014 study said that "56% of women had reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy, and 44% didn't." So that is 44% of women that either choose to do nothing or decide to wear a breast prosthesis or breast forms.
Breast forms in the TV and Film industry
Breast enhancers and breast forms are often used in the film and TV industry to enhance actresses' busts to fit a role they play, or for body doubles and stunt doubles to match the actress's body shape. Catherine, our founder also works as a stunt double and has worn large breast forms to double actresses that have much bigger busts than her. Also, when men double female actresses then breast forms can be used to give them a matching feminine shape.
What is a Mastectomy?
A Mastectomy is an operation to remove a breast. There are several types of mastectomy from partial tissue removal to total breast removal. Breastcancer.org have shared some great information with us detailing these types of surgery as shown below. There are five different types of mastectomy: "simple" or "total" mastectomy, modified radical mastectomy, radical mastectomy, partial mastectomy, and subcutaneous (nipple-sparing) mastectomy.
"Simple" or "Total" Mastectomy
Simple or total mastectomy concentrates on the breast tissue itself:
- The surgeon removes the entire breast.
- The surgeon does not perform axillary lymph node dissection (removal of lymph nodes in the underarm area). Sometimes, lymph nodes are occasionally removed because they happen to be located within the breast tissue taken during surgery.
- No muscles are removed from beneath the breast.
Who usually has a simple or total mastectomy?
A simple or total mastectomy is appropriate for women with multiple or large areas of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and for women seeking prophylactic mastectomies, meaning breast removal in order to prevent any possibility of breast cancer occurring.
For this type of mastectomy, we would recommend our Triangle shaped or Teardrop shaped Breast Forms.
Modified Radical Mastectomy
Modified radical mastectomy involves the removal of both breast tissue and lymph nodes:
- The surgeon removes the entire breast.
- Axillary lymph node dissection is performed, during which levels I and II of underarm lymph nodes are removed (B and C in illustration).
- No muscles are removed from beneath the breast.
Who usually has a modified radical mastectomy?
Most people with invasive breast cancer who decide to have mastectomies will receive modified radical mastectomies so that the lymph nodes can be examined. Examining the lymph nodes helps to identify whether cancer cells may have spread beyond the breast.
For this type of mastectomy, we would recommend an Extended Full Breast Form or a Tear Drop shaped Breast Form.
Radical mastectomy is the most extensive type of mastectomy:
- The surgeon removes the entire breast.
- Levels I, II, and III of the underarm lymph nodes are removed (B, C, and D in illustration).
- The surgeon also removes the chest wall muscles under the breast.
Who usually has a radical mastectomy?
Today, radical mastectomy is recommended only when the breast cancer has spread to the chest muscles under the breast. Although common in the past, radical mastectomy is now rarely performed because in most cases modified radical mastectomy has proven to be just as effective and less disfiguring.
If this type of mastectomy is carried out we would recommend an Extended Full Breast Form.
Partial mastectomy is the removal of the cancerous part of the breast tissue and some normal tissue around it. While lumpectomy is technically a form of partial mastectomy, more tissue is removed in partial mastectomy than in lumpectomy.
During nipple-sparing mastectomy all of the breast tissue is removed but the nipple is left alone.
What is a Lumpectomy?
A Lumpectomy is also known as breast-conserving surgery, it is the removal of only the tumor and a small amount of surrounding tissue.
What Happens After a Mastectomy/ Lumpectomy?
Some women decide to have the breast rebuilt or reconstructed during the same operation that removes the breast. This is called immediate reconstruction. Other women may wait months or years to have a breast reconstructed. Other women opt to do nothing, this is known as "going flat" and other women opt to wear a breast prosthesis or breast forms.
There are many ways to reconstruct a breast. Different options include inserting either a saline or silicone implant, inserting tissue from another part of your body, or using a combination. One advantage of immediate reconstruction is that you don’t have to wake up from surgery and experience the emotional impact of having an empty space where the breast used to be. For some women, making decisions about immediate reconstruction is too overwhelming with all the other decisions they have to make, and therefore it may be best to use a temporary prosthesis until you have had time to really consider how you want your reconstruction to look.
Regardless of whether you are thinking about having immediate or later breast reconstruction, it is important to plan reconstruction at a time that works well for you. Healing from reconstruction surgery will add more recovery time. Also, you may need to wait until your chemotherapy and radiation treatment is finished. Many surgeons also believe that radiation to a reconstructed breast can compromise the appearance and feeling of the reconstruction. Therefore, in most cases, breast reconstruction should wait until both chemotherapy and radiation are completed.
Learn more about what to expect with different types of reconstruction by visiting the Breastcancer.org Breast Reconstruction section.
If you are unsure about your reconstructive surgery, or for medical reasons you need to wait, it does not mean that you have to walk around feeling incomplete. There are many types of breast prostheses that can make you feel comfortable and restore your balance.
We supply several types of life-like breast forms designed to look and feel like real breasts, as listed below:
The need for a Breast Prosthesis and Breast Forms
- Having reconstruction surgery straight away may not be the best option if you need prompt chemotherapy.
- In most cases it is recommended that reconstruction surgery should wait until after chemotherapy and radiation treatment is complete, therefore you can use a breast form as a temporary option.
- If you have very large breasts and have had one removed you may consider breast reduction on the other breast as it is more complicated to match a very large breast with reconstruction. Or, you may prefer to use a breast form to match your natural breast. Our breast prosthesis are available in large bra sizes, i.e., FF cup, G cup and H cup.
- Reconstruction means a longer recovery time. You may need to resume your physical activities quickly and therefore opt for a prosthesis or breast forms.
- If you are an athlete you may prefer breast forms as you do not wish to risk your physical performance with implants.
- Reconstruction and breast implants requires future care and surgery.
- You may not want further surgery. Having implants is not usually a one off operation.
- You may have health issues which prevent reconstruction from being possible.
- If you have had a small lumpectomy you may be happy to keep your original breasts and make up the difference with our breast enhancers or bra inserts to help you look balanced.
Preventative Mastectomy Surgery
Angelina Jolie decided to have preventative mastectomy surgery. Between the time of the breast removal surgery and the reconstructive surgery, Angelina wore fillers to feel more comfortable. You can read more about Angelina's surgery in our article Angelina Jolie undergoes double mastectomy.
Angelina Jolie had the breast cancer gene, is this common?
The estimated number of people who carry the mutation of the gene know as BRCA1 and BRCA2 in the general population is only 0.11% and 0.12% respectively. This means that only around 1 in 450 women carry a fault in one of these genes, so the chance is small, but if you are worried you can get your DNA tested privately.
I need a mastectomy but don’t know what to do?
If you need a mastectomy you can choose whether or not to have surgery on the NHS to rebuild the shape of the breast or instead, you could choose to wear a breast form that replaces the breast, wear padding inside your bra, or do nothing. All of these options have pros and cons. What is right for one woman may not be right for another.
Please visit www.breastcancercare.org.uk for further support.
Be Kind to yourself
Having to undergo breast cancer surgery whether it was required or preventative surgery is a massive stress both to your body and your emotions. Make sure you give yourself the TLC that you need to recover, and reach out to others for support.
What happens after breast cancer surgery?
It can take some time to adjust to a new body shape after a mastectomy or lumpectomy. If you are finding it challenging, accept that you have had something really traumatic happen to you and it is normal to find it hard, try to focus on the positive; you have your health, which is the most important thing.
You may have had reconstruction surgery at the same time as the surgery, this will save you from having to waking up without a breast. However, it still may be a shock but the swelling and bruising will go down and the scars from your operation will become less obvious. If you have to wait for reconstruction or decide not to have reconstruction, you will become used to your new shape. You may decide to use a breast prosthesis or breast forms while waiting for your reconstruction surgery or for long-term use. If the cancer and the operation has affected your confidence, with time and getting the help you need your confidence will gradually come back.
The emotional ups and down might last longer. You may find anxieties coming back when you go for a check up, or new situations such as being with a new partner may bring up more insecurities. Get care and support from others in whatever way is best for you. It is normal to find it hard.
Your feelings after breast surgery
The first few months after surgery can be very upsetting. You might have intense feelings including:
Your self confidence may also be affected. People react very differently to surgery. Most women need time to come to terms with changes to their breast or chest, so give yourself time to adjust. Talking to people who have had similar experiences can help, and you can ask your breast care nurse about local support groups or good online support groups. If you are waiting for reconstruction, or have been unable to have reconstruction or decided not to have it wearing a breast prosthesis or breast forms will make your appearance to others look just like it was before which will help with going about your everyday life.
How you will look after breast cancer surgery
Women find different ways of dealing with the changes to their bodies. You might prefer to see the results of the surgery for the first time alone, or you may want someone to be with you when you take your first look. Your surgeon will do all they can to make sure your scars are as discreet as possible and they will fade with time. It can be hard to accept changes in your looks that you are not happy with. If you have children you may be concerned about how your children will see you and how it might affect them. It is normal to worry about these things, but the people closest to you won't see you any differently as a person.
There are several things that may help you to cope with changes in the way your breasts look:
- Finding out what to expect - talk through your treatment with your surgeon and breast care nurse before your operation. It can help you deal with things later on. If you let your surgeon know that you want to have the complete picture, they will be honest with you. You are likely to be very swollen and sore just after surgery, but this won't last too long.
- Talking to people who've had similar surgery - some people find this reassuring, but it isn't helpful for everyone. Your surgeon or breast care nurse might be able to put you in touch with someone who has had a similar operation.
- Looking in the mirror - It's usually best to wait until a day or two after your operation before you first look in a mirror. You might want to have someone with you when you first look at your scars. Your first view might be a shock. You might see stitches and the area might be bruised or swollen. So it might be best if you have someone there to support you. The hospital staff will be very aware of your feelings and do everything they can to reassure and help you.
- Talking to people close to you - the best source of support for most of us is family and friends. You may feel worried about upsetting them, but it can help to share your feelings and the people close to you will want to support you. Try and let your partner know if you're having problems with your intimate relationships after the changes to your body.
- Sometimes counselling can help you to work through any worries you have.
Sex after breast cancer surgery
Breast surgery does not affect you being able to have sex, but your emotions might change your sexual feelings for a while. You may worry about allowing your partner to see or touch your body, there is no right or wrong way to approach this. You might feel very sensitive and need time to build up your courage to be looked at or touched by your partner. Or, you might need almost instant comfort and find that a loving touch relieves your fear of being rejected. You might find it helpful to take your partner with you for clinic visits before the operation, that way they will be prepared for how you will look after surgery.
Getting help and support
There are many people who can help and support you, but not everyone feels comfortable asking for help, so try to talk to someone you trust. Some organisations can put you in touch with women in your area who have been through the same experience. You can call the Cancer Research UK nurses to talk about any concerns you have about breast cancer surgery and how you might look and feel afterwards.
Temporary Breast Prosthesis
If you have a mastectomy without breast reconstruction, your nurse will give you a lightweight fabric breast shape to put in your bra. This is often called a softie or comfie. There are lots of shapes, styles and sizes available to help you find one that is best suited for you. You can wear it right after the operation if you want to, even if the area feels tender. Some women are happy with their breast prosthesis and continue wearing it instead of having breast reconstruction.
Permanent Breast Prosthesis and Breast Forms
About 6 weeks after mastectomy, once your scar has healed and you have finished any radiotherapy you may need, you’ll be ready for your permanent prosthesis. This is usually made from silicone and you have this fitted by the breast care nurse at the hospital where you had your surgery. Many types of breast prostheses are available free on the NHS. If you are a private patient, you may have to pay for this. Or you can ask for a referral to the NHS breast prosthesis fitting service. You may also have to pay to have a future replacement. You may wish to pay for a breast form online to save you from having to travel to the hospital for a fitting, this is what we specialise in and provide clear information and breast form size guides to help you choose the right one.
Special mastectomy bras are available, they have pockets to hold the breast prosthesis in place. You can have pockets sewn inside your own bras free of charge on the NHS, if you want to, ask your breast care nurse about this.
Swimming with a Breast Prosthesis and Breast Forms
You can wear your usual silicone prosthesis for swimming. If you use your usual prosthesis, rinse it in clean water afterwards to get rid of any chlorine or salt. Many of the breast cancer organisations supply bras and swimwear for women who have had a mastectomy.
Partial Breast Prosthesis and Breast Enhancers
Women who have had part of a breast removed can use a partial prosthesis, a shell prosthesis or from our breast enhancer range which consists of half cup sized silicone chicken fillets and bikini and bra inserts. A partial breast prosthesis is shaped to fit the tissue you've had removed, it can fill out the bottom, top or side of your bra. A shell prosthesis is a hollow breast shape that fits over your remaining breast tissue. With a bra on, your breast will look the same size and shape that it was if using a breast enhancer or prosthesis. You can talk to your breast care nurse to find out about either of these special types of breast prosthesis.
Getting a new Breast Prosthesis
You can get a new artificial breast shape every 2 years on the NHS. You might need a new breast prosthesis if yours gets worn or damaged. You may also need to replace it if you gain or lose weight. If you are not happy with the silicone breast forms or breast prosthesis supplied by the NHS, there are plenty more options available. Here at Undercover Glamour, we supply traditional silicone and lightweight silicone breast forms which come in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes to suit your needs. You can find out more about our products using the links below.
UK BREAST FORM SIZE GUIDE
Please use the guides below to determine the best size for you. For US, European and Australian size guides, please see our International Size Guides.
The sizes below relate to all of our breast forms, from the silicone clear forms, all the way to the grass seed natural forms. To get the correct sized breast, find your band size (the band size is the strap around the back of the bra, for example, a for a 34D, the band size is 34) and find this on the chart, then choose the cup size of the bra you would normally wear (for example, 34D the cup size is D), then find the number where the 34 and the D meet and you should find the best size option for you. For a 34D the perfect size will be a size 6. Please remember, everyone is different, and you may not get a perfect match first time, however we are always here to help and are happy to help with returns and exchanges if there are any problems.
As you may know, not all shops and brands use the same measurements for their clothing and underwear. We have chosen to measure our bras and breast forms against Marks and Spencer's sizes for continuity across our entire website. You can view our entire range of breast forms and prostheses on our Breast Forms page.
The guide above will give you a quick idea on what size should fit you best, however, if you are unsure on your current size, or need further information regarding the sizes of our prosthetic breast forms, please see our Weights and Measurements Guides. The measurements guide will give you more detailed information on each individual breast form, for example our teardrop silicone breast form, triangle shaped lightweight breast form and our extended shape breast form.