Breasts forms are available in a large variety of materials, shapes, and sizes. Below, you'll find descriptions of the primary types of breast forms available and recommendations for specific options that have worked well for many women. In addition to the two major categories, Silicone and Non-Silicone Breast Forms, we have created a separate category for Swim Forms, which includes both silicone and non-silicone options. Also, in the introduction to Non-Silicone Breast Forms, you'll find links to instructions for making your own micro bead, knitted, or crocheted breast forms.
Bear in mind that a form alone is only part of a comfortable, attractive solution. Finding the right bra for a particular form can make all the difference in providing comfort and a natural look.
If you've had a single mastectomy, you'll need to select a breast form that will help you balance your remaining breast and prevent back pain and posture issues. If you've had a bilateral mastectomy, weighted forms are not necessary. At its TLC website, the American Cancer Society offers a helpful article for women with either single or double mastectomies, entitled What You Need to Know about Breast Replacement Forms.
A link is provided for each form recommended below, so you can see what the form looks like and gather other information. Just click on the name of the item you would like to learn more about. Where possible, the link is to the company that manufactures the form. In some instances, where links to manufacturers don't exist or don't provide adequate information, links to online retailers are used instead. The retailers are selected from among those included in our Helpful Links section. These are retailers who offer excellent service, fair prices, and a good selection of post-mastectomy products. If you do not have insurance and cannot afford breast forms, local hospitals and volunteer organizations sometimes provide free forms. Also, check out PINKSTOCK, which collects breast forms and other mastectomy items from women who no longer need them and distributes them to women who do.
Silicone Breast Forms
Silicone breast forms are the most lifelike forms on the market today and are the most popular type of form. Silicone forms come in all shapes and sizes. If you've had a single mastectomy, there's almost certainly a silicone breast form available that will match up well with your remaining breast. And if you've had bilaterals, you can choose the size and look you want.
The great advantage of silicone forms is their ability to simulate natural breast tissue. They also mold to the chest wall, so can provide a secure fit even if your surgical site has unevenness or concavity. With shapes varying from triangle to tear drop, heart shape, or asymmetrical, you'll most likely be able to find a form that restores the look of your natural breast.
Silicone forms do have some disadvantages, however. They can be quite heavy, especially in the larger sizes, making them uncomfortable to wear and putting a strain on your shoulders. While some weight may be necessary to help balance your natural breast if you've had a single mastectomy, too much weight can create problems. Further, silicone forms can cause your chest to perspire, particularly in warm weather and during exercise, even when worn in a pocketed bra.
Many women have felt frustrated with the heaviness of forms and their tendency to cause perspiration. However, in recent years manufacturers have responded with solutions that address both these problems. There are now ways to enjoy the benefits of silicone without experiencing its disadvantages.
All the major breast form manufacturers have introduced lightweight silicone forms. These forms can be 20% to 50% lighter than standard-weight forms and many women find them very comfortable.
Companies have also paid attention to complaints about perspiration caused by wearing a silicone form against the chest wall, even inside a pocket. They've created a variety of cooler breast forms, which generally use some type of moisture-wicking backing on a lightweight silicone form.
Another option that's gaining in popularity is the attachable form. Attachable forms adhere to the chest and can be worn with a regular unpocketed bra. An attachable form takes weight off your shoulders and allows the form to move with you in a way that feels secure, lifelike, and comfortable.
Below, you'll find options that we think work particularly well to provide the natural feel of silicone while maintaining comfort. However, selecting the right breast form is a very personal process. What works for some women may not work for you. For example, if your skin is sensitive, attachable forms may not be a good choice. Or, even though many women prefer lightweight forms, you may find that a standard weight form suits you better. We encourage you to try on a variety of forms to discover what's best for you. A number of companies manufacture breast forms. These include American Breast Care, Amoena, Classique, Jodee, Nearly Me, Silique, and Trulife.
Amoena's innovative contact form has a "permanent" adhesive back, featuring "Pearl" adhesive, little pearl-shaped protrusions which help the form attach. The back sticks to your skin directly and doesn't require special tape. To maintain the adhesive back, the form should be washed after every use. Its stickiness does diminish over time, even when washed carefully according to the instructions, but it remains sticky enough to stay in place in a regular unpocketed bra. Most regular full-coverage bras will work well with Amoena Contact Forms.
The Amoena Contact is lightweight. Amoena has recently redesigned the form to incorporate its new Comfort+ technology. The front layer of silicone feels very soft and the back (which adheres to the skin) features a "temperature-equalizing layer" that helps control body heat and reduce perspiration.
This form has two tremendous advantages—it feels lighter than typical silicone forms, since part of the weight is borne directly by your chest wall; and it feels more like part of your body because it doesn't move away from your chest when you lean forward, as traditional silicone forms sometimes do.
As for disadvantages, some women find direct skin contact with the form to be uncomfortable. If you have that problem, the Amoena Contact may not be the best choice for you. Also, in hot climates or other sweaty situations, excessive perspiration may reduce the Amoena Contact's ability to adhere to your skin. The Comfort+ technology may reduce this problem, but it's unlikely to completely eliminate it. Amoena does make a Back Pad, which allows you to cover the adhesive back and wear the form in a pocketed bra, so this would be an option in hot weather.
The Amoena Contact form is available in several shapes and projections.
The Energy form combines Amoena's Comfort+ technology with a three-dimensional pearl surface on the back of the breast form to maximize air flow. According to Amoena, the Comfort+ technology enables the breast form to absorb heat generated from the chest wall and return the warmth when needed, "maintaining a perfect and constant balance with the body for maximum comfort," while the three-dimensional pearl surface "reduces perspiration and increases evaporation rate."
Women who have used the Energy breast form report that it's effective at minimizing perspiration. It contains 30% more Comfort+ than other Amoena forms, making it an excellent choice for women when exercising or for those who suffer from hot flashes or live in a warm climate.
The Energy form comes in two innovative shapes, 2U and 3U, offering fitting options for both average and full cups. This form is meant to be worn in a pocketed bra.
The Natura is a lightweight form and is available in several shapes and projections. The Natura incorporates Amoena's Comfort+ technology—the front of the form is made of very soft silicone, while the back features a "temperature-equalizing layer" that is intended to control body heat and reduce perspiration.
Some women report an improved skin climate with the Natura, which is why we are recommending it. This form is designed to be worn with a pocketed bra.
The TriTex represents a wonderful advance in breast form technology. The back of this silicone form has raised silicone ridges which create air chambers for ventilation. These chambers are covered by an extremely soft microfiber backing. The microfiber extends over the entire back of the silicone form, so you can wear the form directly against your skin in an unpocketed bra, without any silicone touching your skin. This prevents the stickiness and irritation that can result from wearing a traditional silicone form against bare skin. The microfiber backing wicks moisture away from your chest, allowing it to evaporate. You can also wear this form in a pocketed bra, if you wish.
The TriTex is an excellent choice if you're bothered by traditional silicone forms. It's also a good option if you find mastectomy bras uncomfortable, since it can be worn in a regular bra. The form should be hand washed with mild soap, just as you would wash a traditional silicone form.
Note: This form was discontinued for a while in the United States, but because of popular demand is now available again. Your local retailer can order the form for you or you can order it online from Metro Medical Online, which sells it for a very good price.
The Comfort-Lite is a three-layered breast form that combines silicone gel, polyurethane beads, and a hypoallergenic fabric backing. This triangular form is ultra-lightweight, yet soft and natural-looking. It can be worn in a regular bra and is an excellent choice if perspiration is a problem and if you desire a form that combines the naturalness of silicone with an extremely light weight. It's offered by TLC, the mastectomy product website of the American Cancer Society.
The BodiCool breast form is designed to minimize perspiration behind the form by utilizing a raised channeling system of Cooling Cushions "to promote air circulation for optimal cooling." The Cooling Cushions are filled with TruCool™ gel, which draws excess heat away from the body.
While this form won't entirely eliminate perspiration, it's an excellent choice for those seeking to reduce the problem. The form is available in both a triangle and an oval shape. The BodiCool form is meant to be worn in a pocketed bra, but comes with a removable CoolMax® breast form cover, enabling it to be used in a non-mastectomy bra as well.
The Silk Connect is an attachable breast form, part of Trulife's Harmony Silk line of very soft, lightweight breast forms. The Silk Connect shares the advantages and disadvantages listed above for the Amoena Contact form. However, unlike the Amoena Contact, with its "Pearl" adhesive back, the Silk Connect features a smooth adhesive back. Some women find that the Silk Connect back detaches from the chest more gently than the Amoena Contact and that the form is even lighter-weight. It also offers a slightly different shape, projection, and feel than the Amoena Contact and comes with a protective back, enabling it to be worn unattached, like a regular silicone form. The Silk Connect is a good option to consider if you're looking for an attachable breast form.
Non-Silicone Breast Forms
There are a number of breast forms available that are not made of silicone. Manufacturers may market them as "leisure" forms, "sleep" forms, or "post-surgery" forms, but some women prefer them to silicone and use them for everyday wear on a permanent basis. Other women like to use non-silicone forms for some activities and silicone forms for others. Many non-silicone forms are unweighted or lightly weighted and thus very comfortable. Often, they look quite natural, but some don't have the lifelike feel of silicone.
If you want to try making your own breast forms, check out the photo tutorial, How to Make a Micro Bead Breast Form, posted on our BreastFree Blog. For those of you who like to sew, the instructions will enable you to fashion a form that is light as air, soft, and washable. Also, patterns are available for knitted forms. Using soft yarns, you can customize your own comfortable shape. A knitting pattern with detailed directions is available at the knitty.com website. (You can also order custom knitted forms in a wide variety of yarns from TitBits.) If you would like to crochet a breast form, click on the following link: Crocheting Instructions. Knitting and crocheting instructions can also be found at the website of Bosom Buddies of the QC, under the heading "instructions."
This innovative form is made of memory foam meant to mold to your body. The memory foam gives it a very light weight, making it slightly heavier than foam forms and less likely to ride up in a bra. This is a great form for exercising, relaxing at home, or everyday wear. The removable cover has a silky nylon finish in front, so gives a smooth appearance under clothes.
Note that while the memory foam does yield to the touch, it's not nearly as soft as silicone. Still, this is a great choice if you want an ultra-lightweight form that's comfortable and gives you a natural-looking shape.
These forms come in two versions—weighted (Style 132) and unweighted (Style 130). They are the first non-silicone forms to employ Amoena's Comfort+ technology. According to Amoena, "A Comfort+ fabric layer works continuously to maintain a dry environment by absorbing excess body heat and helping to reduce perspiration behind the form."
The forms also use "SmartSilver antimicrobial technology," which is integrated into the back fabric. Amoena says this inhibits bacterial growth, providing a more hygienic climate for the wearer regardless of what healing stage she is in. Because the technology is integrated into the back fabric, it will not wash or wear off.
Style 132, the weighted version of the form, contains another innovation—the weight is supplied by barium sulfate powder. Barium Sulfate is a natural occurring mineral which does not retain water as typical powders do, so when washed it should dry more quickly. Amoena recommends hand washing the form with Amoena cleanser. If you wear the form frequently, it's best to hand wash the outside fabric as needed using a cloth and only wash the entire form about every two weeks. Another benefit of barium sulfate powder is that it will not set off metal detectors at airports or other venues.
Both the weighted and unweighted forms are nicely shaped and comfortable. The weighted form, Style 132, provides just enough weight to keep bras from riding up. It also feels softer when on than most other foam forms. Some women may like the 132 so much that it becomes their everyday form. It's a particularly good choice for women who live in a warm climate.
This soft, lightweight breast form is a wonderful alternative to heavier, stickier silicone forms. It can be worn in a pocketed or unpocketed bra. While lighter than even the lightweight silicone forms, this creme-filled form has enough weight to hold it in place inside an unpocketed bra. One caveat—the form runs large. For a 34B, a size A would probably work. A matching empty cup is sold with the Illusion to provide smoothness across both breasts, helpful for those with unilateral mastectomies. These forms can be easily hand washed and air dried.
Pals breast forms are made from a non-silicone soft gel polymer. They contain medical grade natural mineral oils and can be worn against the skin. In fact, the company claims that the forms will help moisturize your skin while you wear them. These forms have flat backs and are marketed both as "enhancers" for natural breasts and as breast forms. They are very inexpensive compared to silicone forms, so some women purchase them as "extra" breast forms. Also, since Pals forms are available with prominent nipples, some women find them a good choice for intimate moments.
You can choose among several Pals options. The "Triangles with Nipples" are quite lifelike, soft, and comfortable. They are flat in back. Be aware that the smallest size Triangle is equivalent to a B cup and the forms are at least as heavy as silicone. However, they can be trimmed to customize the fit without damaging the gel. Also, unlike silicone forms, they are puncture-proof. The Pals Triangle form is pictured in the Photographs section of BreastFree, in the photo set entitled Pals breast forms. One of the photographs demonstrates how the form can be trimmed as needed.
If you prefer something smaller and lighter, you can opt for the "Push-ups with Nipples". The Push-up form is also available in a no-nipple version. In the past, Pals has been willing to customize forms, for example by making a standard size a half-size smaller or larger. The charge for this has been very reasonable.
To care for Pals forms, wash them with soap and water, dry with a paper towel, and then dust with powder (corn starch is recommended). If not dusted with powder, the forms can become tacky. Some women prefer to wear their Pals without powder and only use the powder when storing the forms. Also, Pals should be stored in a plastic bag or other such protection. If left on wood surfaces, the oils in the form can stain the wood.
This unweighted fiber-filled form is made by Still You, the manufacturer of the Illusions Breast Replacement, reviewed above. Constructed in the same oval shape as the Illusions, its fiber filling makes it almost weightless, but unlike other unweighted forms (for example Amoena's Leisure Form, Style 126), the form feels very soft to the touch (the Illusions form is also very soft, but has a slight amount of weight). The form works beautifully in a Still You Tank Top camisole (see "Camisoles" in the Bras and Camisoles section of BreastFree ) and can be worn in unpocketed bras. This versatile form is extremely inexpensive, making it a good option, especially for exercise or other activities where comfort is paramount.
TLC, the mastectomy product website of the American Cancer Society, offers an almost-weightless breast form that has all the benefits of unweighted foam forms while feeling softer and more pliable. Women who have tried this form love it. It works particularly well in a pocketed camisole, though it can also be worn in either an unpocketed bra or a mastectomy bra.
One drawback some women mention is that the form doesn't create as natural a shape as some other forms in that it can flatten out in certain bras and camisoles. But it's a great option when you want the lightest possible weight, along with some softness.
Trulife Tri-Leisure and Tri-Featherweight Forms
These foam breast forms are great for wearing when you need an unweighted or lightly weighted form. They feature a cotton-backed cover which can be removed for washing, something not found in the Amoena Leisure Forms with Comfort+.
The Tri-Leisure form has an inner weighted core which gives it a slight amount of weight, which helps prevent the form from riding up. The Tri-Featherweight form is unweighted, good for wearing when riding up is not a problem.
There are a variety of swim forms available, ranging from silicone options, offered by most of the major breast form manufacturers, to non-silicone choices, and even improvised solutions, the most popular being the bath puff.
Silicone Swim Forms
Silicone swim form have concave backs so that water can flow through, enabling the forms to retain their shape and allowing for less weight than traditional forms. Two examples of silicone swim forms that many women like are the Amoena Swimform and the Nearly Me #380 Freestyle® Athletic Versatile Triangle. You can also use these forms for exercise and other athletic activities. It should be noted that a number of regular silicone forms can also be used for swimming. Check with your fitter or the manufacturer to make sure, as salt water or chlorine can be problematic for some silicone forms.
Non-Silicone Swim Forms
All the non-silicone forms described in our Non-Silicone Breast Forms section, above, work well as swim forms. The Amoena Leisure Form, Style 126, provides a weightless option that gives a nice molded look in a swimsuit. It can be worn in the pocket of a mastectomy suit or can be pinned or sewn into a non-mastectomy bathing suit. Still You, which makes the Illusions Breast Replacement form, says that its forms are "ideal for swimming and active wear." And the makers of Pals Breast Forms also affirm that their forms can be used for swimming.
Improvised Swim Forms
An improvised swim form that has gained great popularity among women is the so-called bath puff, also known as a bath poof or shower scrubby. This cheap, almost-weightless finely netted product, which is normally used in the shower for exfoliation, can be worn in the pocket of a mastectomy swimsuit. The bath puff drains immediately and dries almost instantly, both desirable qualities in a swim form. And the bath puff won't weigh you down! If the shape or size isn't quite right, you can use a scissors to sculpt a swim form custom-made for you. Bath puffs can be found at many stores. Tip—look for one that's tightly bound. Those that are just bound with a plastic ring don't work as well.