In the case of breast cancer, removal of the breast can not always be avoided. The use of external prostheses, however, can lead to discomfort for the patients through shoulder pain and muscle hardening. It can be assumed that this is caused by strain on the shoulder due to the weight of the prosthesis. This study was to identify the possibilities to objectively assess patients' complaints associated with this type of supportive treatment.
Subjects and Methods
In this pilot study, varying types and sizes of prostheses were tested on male subjects, quasi as if they were women amputated on both sides. The strain caused by the prostheses and distributed via the straps of the brassiere were measured by electronic pressure sensors and statistically evaluated.
Weight-reduced prostheses significantly decreased the resulting average pressure amplitude (p < 0.01) compared to normal weight prostheses. Furthermore, heavy contact prostheses, which are attached to the chest wall, have a significant advantage (p < 0.01) compared to normal prostheses of the same size. Moreover, evidence was found that contact prostheses have advantages with respect to pressure on the shoulder during physical exercise, e.g. running.
Currently, weight-reduced contact prostheses present optimal treatment after breast amputation.