|Publication number||US20070161328 A1|
|Application number||US 11/526,340|
|Publication date||Jul 12, 2007|
|Filing date||Sep 25, 2006|
|Priority date||Sep 26, 2005|
|Publication number||11526340, 526340, US 2007/0161328 A1, US 2007/161328 A1, US 20070161328 A1, US 20070161328A1, US 2007161328 A1, US 2007161328A1, US-A1-20070161328, US-A1-2007161328, US2007/0161328A1, US2007/161328A1, US20070161328 A1, US20070161328A1, US2007161328 A1, US2007161328A1|
|Inventors||James Munn, Mary Munn|
|Original Assignee||Munn James Jr, Munn Mary M|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application claims the benefit of PPA Ser. No. 60/720,335 filed Sep. 26, 2005.
This invention relates to breast form prostheses and post mastectomy garments, specifically to an enclosure to support a breast form prosthesis.
A mastectomy is the most common treatment for breast cancer whereby all or a portion of a woman's breast is removed. Often, mastectomy patients choose to alter their appearance after the operation to appear more natural and feminine. This may be done either through reconstructive surgery or the use of a prosthetic. Even, if the individual chooses to have reconstructive surgery, doctors will often recommend that they wait several months or years for this operation. Prosthetics are the only alternative to these individuals prior to having reconstructive surgery and are a much less costly alternative in any event.
Several types of breast prostheses are available. Some prosthetic breast forms are designed to adhere directly to the skin, such as that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,356,573 to Knoche (1982). The Knoche patent discloses a silicone breast prosthesis. U.S. Pat. No. 4,426,742 to Prahl (1984) discloses a breast form prosthesis designed to attach directly to the body via a plug mechanism. While these prostheses minimize problems associated with security and shifting, they are often uncomfortable. Having a device in contact with the skin for long periods of time interferes with the skins natural ability to perspire and breathe. These prostheses can also be difficult or uncomfortable to remove when desired; for instance, while sleeping.
Other solutions incorporate a garment, usually a bra, that contains a permanently affixed prosthesis. For instance, U.S. Pat. No. 6,234,867 to Fanelli (2001) discloses a line of undergarments with a prosthesis built into the garments. Because both the shape of the prosthesis and the size of the garment are peculiar to the individual, production of these garments is limited, resulting in increased costs. The cost is compounded by the fact that most women desire to maintain a collection of garments.
The cost is decreased by separating the prosthesis from the garment. One solution is to develop a breast form prosthesis with an integral means for attachment to the cup of a bra. U.S. Pat. No. 5,458,635 to Berman (1995) discloses a breast form prosthesis of several layers that may be attached to the brassiere using the attached nylon tape. U.S. Pat. No. 7,070,620 to Miller (2006) discloses a breast form prosthesis with hook and loop material affixed to the front and back. The front attaches to a bust cup of a garment with mating hook and loop material. A pad is attached to the back of the breast form in a similar fashion to provide a barrier between the prosthesis and the skin. This invention fails to provide a secure containment of the breast form because it requires two independent connections between three devices. The present invention addresses this problem by having the back panel(s) permanently and fixedly sewn or otherwise attached to the front panel. In general, these prostheses do not provide the security of placement, comfort, and visual appeal of the present invention.
Another solution is to focus on the design of the garment. Several inventions provide a means for attaching a breast form prosthesis to a garment. U.S. Pat. No. 3,701,168 to Balow (1972) discloses a brassiere with an integral pocket for holding a breast form prosthesis. U.S. Pat. No. 4,185,332 to Jahnig (1980) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,604,983 to Denn (2003) disclose slings with an incorporated pocket to receive a breast form prosthesis. U.S. Pat. No. 4,363,144 to Goad (1982) discloses a bra with fasteners on the inside of the cup for attaching a breast form prosthesis. U.S. Pat. No. 6,156,065 to Eaton (2000) discloses a bra with a panel sewn to the bottom edge of the cup. The panel folds upward to create a pocket to hold the prosthesis. The panel is held closed by tabs with hook and loop material that attach to points on the bra. U.S. Pat. No. 3,950,792 to Williams (1976) discloses an attachment to a bra for the concealment of scar tissue and support of a breast form. This attachment is intended to be incorporated during manufacture of the bra. All of these patents disclose specialty garments that may only be produced in limited quantities. This increases the cost of manufacture and, because the patient typically maintains a collection of bras, significantly increases the cost to the patient. Another problem with many of these garments is appearance. The apparatus or extra material required by the prosthesis creates a visually unbalanced or unnatural appearance.
This unnatural appearance may be seen in devices like that disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,168,497 to Edmond (2001). The Edmond patent discloses a bra that has loop material affixed to the inside of the cup. This loop material bonds to hook material affixed to the front of a pouch. The pouch is designed to receive and support the prosthesis. Thus, the pocket holding the prosthesis is held in place against the cup of the bra. The problems with this invention are, again, the specialization or alteration of the bra or garment and the unsightly bulges created by the discontinuous placement of the hook and loop material.
Bosom Buddy® from B & B Company of Boise, Id. incorporates a sleeve that may be filled with individual pillows. The sleeve is placed between the patient's torso and the brassiere. This device relies on compression to maintain its position which significantly compromises the positional stability of units used by active patients. Furthermore, the individual pillows, while decreasing costs, do not provide the superior shape and rigidity of a shaped silicone breast form.
The present invention offers patients a means for using a breast form prosthesis with readily available bras and undergarments without having the prosthesis physically attached to the patient's torso. The invention eliminates the costs associated with specialty or altered undergarments. The invention also eliminates the unsightly formations associated with flaps or hook and loop attachments to the brassiere cup.
The invention disclosed herein exhibits several novel and unique advantages over the prior art. Several prior art alternatives exhibit one or more of these characteristics, but none provide all of these advantages.
(a) This single device may be used with several different bras and undergarments, thus eliminating the cost of multiple specialty bras.
(b) The invention allows for the use of a properly weighted and attractive external silicone breast prosthesis while creating a comfortable and breathable layer between the prosthesis and the patient's skin.
(c) The use of an anti-skid material allows the prosthesis to maintain its position relative to the bra and properly weights the bra to prevent the bra from abnormally shifting.
(d) The pocket formed by permanently attaching the front panel to the back panel(s) creates a secure pocket for the placement of the breast form.
(e) This device is inexpensive to manufacture and provides the patient with a significantly lower overall cost than any existing alternative.
This patent application discloses an enclosure designed to comfortably hold a breast form prosthesis between the torso of a mastectomy patient and the cup of their bra or undergarment. The forward surface of the enclosure exhibits anti-skid material, preventing the enclosure from moving relative to the bra cup.
1. Front Cover
2. Back Panels
4. Opening (for receipt of breast form)
The Front Cover (1) of
Although the description above contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limiting the scope of the invention. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, rather than by the examples given.