A research team had an initial hypothesis that external breast prostheses played a significant role in maintaining a stable standing posture in women who underwent unilateral mastectomy. Results of their study, however, suggested the opposite. Their data indicated that an external breast prosthesis did not have a significant influence on the symmetry of loading on the amputated and nonamputated body sides or on postural stability.
Fifty-two women who had had a unilateral mastectomy took part in the study, which consisted of four parts: anthropometric measurements; measurements of upper-limb circumference; assessment of weight bearing; and posturographic tests. The researchers compared results of posturographic tests conducted on each patient with and without an external breast prosthesis.
Weight bearing between the amputated and nonamputated sides in both tested conditions (open and closed eyes), showed no significant differences between the test with or without an external prosthesis. No statistical differences were observed between posturometric parameters with and without a breast prosthesis during either test.
In comparing the posturometric parameters between the posturographic tests with open and closed eyes, the participants’ sway path of the center of pressure was statistically significantly longer when their eyes were closed with and without a prosthesis.
Additionally, the differences in arm circumferences on the participants’ amputated and nonamputated sides did not confirm the occurrence of lymphedemas typical after mastectomy.
The open-access study, “Influence of the external breast prosthesis on the postural control of women who underwent mastectomy: Cross-sectional study,” was published in Frontiers in Oncology.