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What Do These Terms Mean


BREAST FORM is a term commonly used for a breast prosthesis.  It often refers to a pre-made breast prosthesis.  


The definition of a prosthesis is “an artificial replacement of a missing body part.” The plural word is PROSTHESES. Sometimes a breast implant is referred to as an "internal breast prosthesis". A New Attitude custom made breast prosthesis can be described as an "external breast prosthesis".


The term “prosthetic” is used as an adjective to describe items that are prostheses. For example, a breast prosthesis can be called a prosthetic breast.  Prosthetics also refers to the field of creating an artificial body part, such as; the field of prosthetics creates prostheses. The artificial part itself is called a prosthesis.


A prosthetist is a person skilled in making prosthetic devices. A prosthetist who creates life like realist body prostheses is called an ANAPLASTOLOGIST.


There are several university medical art degree programs in North America that train artists in the core concepts of medicine. Artists have a long history of collaborating in medicine from the earliest times when artists worked with physicians to illustrate medical textbooks. The rise of technology has introduced new applications of medical art and increased the scope of the field to include medically trained artists that create like-like facial and body prostheses. This field is called ANAPLASTOLOGY. Irene Healey is a Certified Clinical Anaplastologist and she completed her Art as Applied to Medicine degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada.


ANAPLASTOLOGY is  the clinical practice of restoring the appearance of patients who have lost a facial part or other body part due to disease (cancer) or an accident (trauma) or for those who were born with an absence or malformation of a body part (congenital) by creating a realistic life-like external body prostheses. In anaplastology, the ability to sculpt realistically and colour match accurately is very important, as well as the knowledge of medicine. In addition to a knowledge of medicine, an anaplastologist must have an in depth knowledge of materials and have the technical skills do design and fabricate restorative body prostheses. There is a Certification in Clinical Anaplastology. A Certified Clinical Anaplastologist has the highest level of skills required to realistically restore a patient’s appearance.  Irene Healey is a Certified Clinical Anaplastologist.


A custom made prosthesis is literally something made for you based on your body measurements, posture, etc. This type of prosthesis will not fit anyone else. A custom made breast prosthesis always starts with taking a copy of the chest wall (the mastectomy site) where the breast prosthesis will sit. This copy can be done either by a direct cast or with a digital scan. A custom made prosthesis is always more expensive than a pre-made prosthesis as it requires time spent with the expert provider (a Certified Clinical Anaplastologist) who will design the prosthesis precisely to fit your body.


The term Bespoke is often used interchangeably with CUSTOM MADE and it usually describes a higher level of expertise and more hand construction and craftsmanship using the best materials.  New Attitude Custom Made Breast Prostheses are truly bespoke prostheses. We often use the term CUSTOM MADE as it is a better term for a keyword search when people are looking for breast prostheses.


The terms “pre-made” or “off-the-shelf” and “pre-fabricated” are used to apply to a breast prosthesis that is mass produced similar to what “off-the-rack” means when applied to clothing. Pre-made breast prostheses are manufactured in a limited range of shapes and sizes. Pre-made breast prostheses are held in place by putting it inside a pocket in a “mastectomy bra”.


Personalized is used when a pre-made object is made and the consumer has some choice in some of the features; such as ordering a pair of running shoes and being able to choose the colour or a feature of the design.  In limb prosthetics, you see PERSONALIZATION when a prosthetist adds a decorative cover to the lower leg prosthesis.


SILICONE is manufactured elastomer starting with a silica molecule (Si) and adding two oxygen molecules (O2 ). Other molecule groups are added to SiO2 to give the material different physical properties or characteristics. Silicone can be anything from a silicone gel to a hard silicone rubber depending on how it is engineered. Medical grade silicone is understood to mean that each lot of silicone that is manufactured has been tested to pass requirements that the FDA has established for materials that sit against the skin for the long term. 

Silicone is considered to be a bio compatible material and the most appropriate material to be used  in prosthetics. However, the correct type of silicone (platinum cure) must always be used and each batch used in a body prosthesis must be tested to be sure it conforms to the FDA standards.  The problems women are experiencing with silicone breast implants and Breast Implant Associate Illness (BII) is due to the body’s response to having a foreign material implanted inside the body. These problems are thought to be the body’s immune response trying to attack something foreign inside it. Silicone sitting outside the body and on the skin would not elicit these responses from the body and the correct silicone placed on the skin outside the body is safe to use.

Glossary: FAQ

Do you have questions? Call us and speak to Irene.

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