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Topic: compression bra

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: May 5, 2006 05:36PM

kimmytoo wrote:

can you believe that I am just now getting fitted correctly for this thing??? Insurance is a nightmare, and fitters can be worse.

This one is a juzo compression bra (couldn't get belisse) -- what a nightmare it is. 2 separate layers, both velcro closed in back - makes big humps in back under my shirt - also touches the top of my pants. These things are HUGE.

Anyone ever use the Juzo? Think it will help?

I can tell already that there isn't enough compression on my chest wall on mast. side, so I put my falsie in there and it seems to press more.

Do I sleep in it, or just wear it in the evening? *(daytime is OUT OF THE QUESTION!)
Dx 8/25/2003, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 12/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 6, 2006 04:17AM NPat wrote:

Kimmy,
I understand what you are facing and I know Binney does also. Welcome to truncal LE!!! The Bellisse didn't compress me medially and I ended up contacting Barbara at Women's Personal Health.com . She searched the bras and found 3 Anita bras with wide straps, high backs, no wires that might work. Binney through a miracle had one of them already that was too big for her and she never wore it....she sent it too me because it was my size!! I love her! I ordered the other two. I had to pay up front for them. Unfortunately, my insurance reimbursed me only $29.33 each because the Rx didn't say Compression Vest instead of bra... so I am appealing. Anita also makes a compression bra for post breast surgery that looks like it will do also ... Anita 1094. Binney has a compression vest made by Solaris-Tribute... I think... Binney, where areeee youuuuu!!?? My insurance refused to pay for my garments this time also.... because "the codes were wrong". I called BioHorizons and they said the codes were right... the person who handled my claim was confused. Anyway they said they would appeal it... sigh... I finally got the breast MRI paid for because I had documented all over my chart that the truncal LE was a problem and compression by the mammogram exacerbated the swelling. That appeal was about 15 pages. I spoke to a patient with the same insurance and she said that she gets so tired of fighting... I told her we had to keep on... If we don't treat the LE we will have more problems. Take care.
Pat
NPat
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May 6, 2006 02:24PM Binney4 wrote:

Hi, Kimmy and Pat,
Ah, yes, the Juzo bra. Do you have a secret for getting it on by yourself, Kimmy? I always have to have help. Since you adjust it yourself every time with velcro, it doesn't actually have a measureable compression ratio. And as you point out, with one breast remaining it won't really compress well across the other side. (Here's a bit of trivia you can throw around to impress your fitters, therapists, and insurance chimpanzees: when a compression garment gets hung up on something like a boob and doesn't lie flat on the surface it's supposed to compress, that is officially called "bridging." There, now aren't you glad you tuned in this afternoon?!) So, are you wearing your falsie against your skin, or between the two layers? I'm bilat and used two of those tough fiber-filled jobbers between the layers, and it looked fairly decent. In front, of course, not in back where all that velcro is piled on top of itself in huge sheets. SO -- when I wear that thing (which is only between washings of my Solaris vest) I go for a roomy shirt with a vest over it. The vest works really well to camoflage "the hump."

Options: definitely talk to Barbara at Women'sPersonalHealth about bras that might work. They don't work for me, because every bra ever made cuts right across the most sensitive LE area in front of my axilla and also does not come up high enough under my arm to keep the swelling in check. Which means it gets very painful.

The Bellisse definitely gets mixed reviews. Not too well mixed, either, since most of the women I've talked to about them hate them, and two fitters in my area who stocked them for a while have stopped dealing with them (this has to do with both a low level of customer satisfaction and an exorbitant re-stocking fee). The fabric is way wonderful, but they smoosh real breasts into a look that can best be described as smuggling rounded loaves of bread, and if you have two real breasts they get smooshed into one giant loaf. In all fairness, though, I've talked to women who love them, too, so don't listen to me!

Another option is a compression vest which, as you may well imagine, is not a thing of surpassing comfort. Jobst makes them, and so does Bio-concepts. Do you know what a burn garment is? These are like that. They're made of regular compression fabric, extremely well fitted to whatever: both breasts, a single breast, no breasts. With one of these your natural breast will stand out on its own, no smooshing, and you can then wear a bra and prosthesis for the other side. (Unless the bra strap aggravates your LE like mine does, that is -- in that case there's not a whole lot you can do. Loose shirts, layers, vests and scarves -- this did not work well for me here in the desert, even in the winter...) So, to get one of these you see a fitter, who custom orders your vest. You can get it waist length (which is recommended, especially if you have swelling down your side or back) or a bit shorter (which is what I have, to fight the heat), short sleeves, cap sleeves, or sleeveless. With Bio-Con you can get the vest to match or contrast with your sleeve and glove. They fit wonderfully, they control the swelling, but because I'm small, the compression made it hard for me to breathe. Which is not very nice.

What I wear now is a prototype Solaris day vest, the only one they've ever made. Unfortunately for the entire LE world, their designer left for another job somewhere. For all I know it's with Cirque du Soleil. So I've been assigned a new designer who's in the process of making me a second vest, this one with a bra-like prosthesis deal on the outside, made out of honest-to-goodness lingerie fabric like real ladies wear. This vest is made like a night vest or sleeve (stuffed with foam chips) only thinner. It does not look very "natural" under clothes and it's hot, but it can be refrigerated at night for a cool start in the morning, and if they ever get my second one made I can even trade them off during the day. It does not feel natural when people hug me, either, and I've been told by surprised friends that it feels like I'm dressed in bubble-wrap. On the other hand, compared to everything else it's wildly comfortable, I can breathe and move, it controls the swelling to perfection, and I don't hurt anymore. My cardiologist is especially happy with it because I can breathe again, and he seems to think that's important. I asked the Solaris people if they could design one for someone with one breast and they said yes, but again, we'd be looking at the smoosh effect.

Pat, what's the model number of the bra I sent you? The fitter calls it her "magic LE bra" because it works so well for her patients with breast LE. Kimmy, if you discover something wonderful do come let us know, yes?
Binney
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May 9, 2006 05:20PM NPat wrote:

Binney,
You sent me the Anita 5319. I ordered the 5419 and 5420 also. The 5419 is the same as the 5319 but fastens in back. The 5420 is similar to the 5419 but has some lace trim on the bodice. They are very comfortable and compress more evenly. I resubmitted my claims to my insurance company for the "thoracic vests"... I hope they reconsider. The whole think is stupid. I still haven't gotten my last garments approved after having them ordered without a hitch for two years. I want to scream.
Pat
NPat
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May 9, 2006 06:36PM Binney4 wrote:

Pat, Lari-Ann at Bio-Con told me that "they" (whoever that is) have recently changed the codes for all LE garments, making them prosthetics instead of durable medical equipment. For me, that's a financial disaster, and my insurance did exactly what yours is doing -- simply stopped paying for them after having done so for a year and a half, and with no new policy or contract being written. I appealed, and now have a letter in hand that states that LE garments are still durable medical equipment, and they'll continue to pay. We can apparently count on our insurance companies to live by the policy: "When in doubt, refuse payment!" It makes me crazy to have to appeal in order to have the terms of their contract honored, but I did it, adding pages and pages of LE educational information to the appeal, because by law they're required to read the entire appeal package. (A friend in Ohio who is appealing refusal to pay for her toddler's feeding tube supplements just sent in an appeal that was 85 pages long -- brava for her!) Maybe you'll have to make a bunch of noise to get payment, but think of it as helping educate the insurance people in order to help other women who may just give up when faced with this kind of thing. Or something...
Binney
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May 10, 2006 04:08AM NPat wrote:

I am going to my congressperson. I finally get my LE under control and then zap!!! BEWARE OF THE SWOLLEN MASSES!! That would make a good movie! Can you see the insurance offices stormed by a bunch of breastless women with swollen limbs? OMG! What a sight!
Pat
NPat
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May 17, 2006 12:12PM sherry7 wrote:

I am also wondering about the belise vest. I have one whole breast and one recon. breast, about 1/3 the size...I have arm and trunkel LE and its working up to my face at times. I just want to be comfortable, any suggestions? I already wear the sleeve and glove daily, thanks, Sherry

let the miracles happen... Dx 9/17/2005, DCIS, 1cm, Stage 0, Grade 1, 0/0 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+

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