An integral part of the recovery process after mastectomy involves the consideration of restorative options, including external prosthesis use; however, only few studies regarding the influence of breast prostheses on functional status have been done.
This study aimed to determine whether wearing an external breast prosthesis affects gait in women after a mastectomy.
Spatiotemporal gait parameters were collected in 40 women, postmastectomy, aged 37 to 70 years, divided into age subgroups of 37 to 54 years and 55 to 70 years, and in 38 healthy controls, women aged 38 to 69 years. Gait parameters were assessed with and without the breast prosthesis, including walking velocity, cadence, step length, step time, and left-right step time asymmetry.
Significant differences were found in the gait parameters of the younger age group with and without a prosthesis. No significant differences were found in the women of the older group with and without the prosthesis.
Gait parameters of the younger age group were closer to those of the healthy control group when they were wearing an external prosthesis, as compared with when they were not. This suggests a positive influence of breast prosthesis use on the functional status of women after mastectomy.
Implications for Practice:
Clinical practitioners should be aware of the study results suggesting a positive influence of breast prosthesis use on gait parameters after mastectomy surgery, which could improve the patient’s functional status after surgery; however, further research is still needed on factors affecting changes in gait with a larger study population.