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What Is a Mastectomy Camisole?

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  • Written By: R. Bargar
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Images By: Jovannig, n/a, Bvdc, Adrin Shamsudin
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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A mastectomy camisole, used after breast cancer surgery, provides the support of a bra and pockets for external breast prostheses. These camisoles come in a variety of styles and materials and are specially constructed for the various needs of breast cancer survivors. There are specific camisoles that can be used immediately after the mastectomy, providing for post-surgical drains. There is also a type of mastectomy camisole designed specifically for patients undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Mastectomy lingerie provides a noninvasive and inexpensive option for patients who prefer an external breast prosthesis.

The typical mastectomy camisole is constructed with two pockets where breast forms can be placed. There are breast forms of different shapes and weights that can be used to create a natural profile and improve posture after surgery. The camisole provides support for the patient’s remaining breast and replaces a bra. If both breasts were removed during the mastectomy procedure, then both pockets can be used for external breast prostheses. A mastectomy camisole can be used after a mastectomy, breast reconstruction surgery or a lumpectomy.

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Different styles of medical camisoles meet the specific needs of breast cancer survivors. For patients requiring radiation therapy, the mastectomy camisole is made specially to protect the sensitive skin. Seams are covered, the fabric is comfortable, and very lightweight breast forms are recommended. For immediately after the surgery, a special mastectomy camisole is used that opens in the front and accommodates post-surgical drains. In the US, many mastectomy camisoles qualify for Medicare and insurance coverage.

Women often prefer a front opening mastectomy camisole right after surgery. The front closure helps make dressing easier, as arm movement might be affected by the surgery. Special fabrics are frequently used that cause minimal irritation — some are made with soothing aloe or Vitamin E. Women undergoing chemotherapy may choose a mastectomy camisole that wicks moisture away from the skin. This helps with the problem of excessive sweating caused by the medication.

Studies have found that there is very little information available to physicians and patients about external breast prostheses and mastectomy camisoles other than that provided by the manufacturers of these products. One study concluded that comprehensive scientific studies should be conducted to evaluate the different products. They believe this could give physicians and patients better information that might lead to better choices. Another study found that quality services providing information and personal fittings are helpful for breast cancer survivors.

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