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Why Amoena’s breast forms lead the way in quality and innovation
We talk to Brigitte Seehaus, Product Manager Breast Forms 2011-2013 at Amoena’s head office and Germany about how the baton of excellence in breast form quality and design has been passed down to successive generations of experts over the past 35 years.
It’s hard to imagine now, but before the invention of the silicone breast form by Amoena’s founder, Cornelius Rechenberg, in 1975, women who wanted to restore their figure after mastectomy were faced with very few choices – none of them particularly appealing. From cotton bags filled with tiny glass balls, to inflatable prostheses that were likely to deflate (noisily) at any moment, to stuffing their bras with cotton wool, there was no real sense of aftercare following breast cancer surgery and frequently women were left to their own devices when it came to recreating a balanced outline that didn’t tell the whole world that they’d had a breast removed. Rubber prostheses, invented in the 1950s, were hard and often uncomfortable, and while the liquid-filled breast form, introduced in the 60s, was an improvement, it still left a lot to be desired in terms of comfort and life-like appearance.
All that changed when a Bavarian bio-engineering student took a summer holiday job in a prosthesis factory. Convinced that he could improve on the technology of the day, he started experimenting with silicone formulations in a pressure cooker in his mother’s kitchen, and came up with the forerunner of today’s ubiquitous silicone prosthesis. Although he did not know at the time that his invention was to become the benchmark for all silicon breast forms subsequently produced, Cornelius did believe he was onto a winner. He started his own company to market the breast forms and so Amoena was born. Since then, Amoena has dedicated itself to developing lifelike, comfortable breast forms that restore women’s self-confidence and quality of life after breast surgery.
Today the company leads the world in breast form products, with a reputation for research, development and cutting-edge technology that continues to push out the boundaries of scientific endeavour for the comfort and wellbeing of women who have had breast surgery. We asked Amoena’s Product Manager Breast Forms, Brigitte Seehaus about how Amoena continues to innovate and excel
AL: What makes Amoena different in terms of its research and development activities?
[Brigitte]: I think one of our advantages is the fact that we have been established for such a long time. Founded by an engineer, from the start we dedicated ourselves to research and development and we have always worked closely with retailers and customers to ensure that we incorporate the latest technology into our pioneering designs. The result is innovative breast forms of the highest quality. We have never been about making products and then trying to convince our customers that they need them. We create products that answer the real-life needs of women who have had breast surgery. And we recognise that these needs are ever-changing, as surgery techniques evolve and as women demand more in terms of performance and choice.
AL: So does this level of quality make Amoena’s breast forms unique?
[Brigitte]: Over the decades we have established manufacturing processes that produce the most durable, skin-friendly, lifelike breast forms in the industry. We use our own exclusive silicone formulations and we test all the raw materials to make sure that they meet our strict quality standards. The breast forms themselves are tested for endurance to ensure that they will withstand years of daily wear. We want to ensure that they will maintain their shape, colour, consistency and softness – and not just in everyday situations, but also in extreme situations such as temperature change and impact. I think such rigorous testing and dedication to quality in every aspect of design and construction is what makes our breast forms unique.
AL: How do you stay ahead of developments in technology and ensure that you continue to offer products that meet women’s needs?
[Brigitte]: Our world-leading innovation has resulted in a long history of patented materials, products and manufacturing methods. As a multinational company we have a global innovation network that draws input from over 60 countries worldwide, and our research and development team collaborates with universities and scientists across many disciplines. Our in-house experts incorporate this knowledge into their constant search for new ways to transfer the latest scientific developments into breast form technology. Surgery techniques are constantly evolving and it’s also vital for us to collaborate with doctors, surgeons and nurses to ensure that our products accommodate the latest methods. Another key aspect in our product development is working closely with end-users themselves. We conduct extensive wear tests with customers for comfort, ease of use and suitability to individual surgery types and lifestyles. Women these days expect more from the consumer products they use, and breast forms are no exception.
AL: Are there any recognised industry standards for quality?
[Brigitte]: Yes, there are, and Amoena was proud to be the first to receive industry certification, back in 1992. The internationally-recognised ISO9000 standards bear witness to our industry-leading quality and environmental management credentials. I think people want to know that they are buying from ethically sound companies with solid credentials, and I’m pleased to say that our commitment to excellence includes a proactive approach to quality benchmarking within the breast form industry.
AL: How do you ensure that Amoena customers receive the same standard of service worldwide?
[Brigitte]: Highly trained fitting specialists support the broadest product range in the industry, and their job is to offer faultless back-up to more than half a million customers across the globe. Supporting them are our expert trainers, with decades of experience in working with women who have had breast surgery and educating nurses and fitting specialists. This system ensures a consistent standard of care for all Amoena customers and, of course, helps complete the circle of feedback that ensures that our products always reflect our customers’ needs.
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Very pleased by CC After losing a little weight my 3S Breast Form was looking too full. The 2S is perfect and the perfect weight, I always forget I'm wearing a breast form.MRS by M H VERY PLEASED WITH MY NEW BOOBS AND GREAT SERVICE
Perfect by AT This breast form is brilliant.It is so light and comfortable that you hardly know that you are wearing inside the bra. Would definitely recommendLightweight prosthesis by F M This is comfortable and gives arealistic shape but it is only 19% lighter than my standard NHS prosthesis, so describing it as "up to 30%" lighter raised false hopes.Comfortable by H Lightweight, comfortable. This is the 2nd one I've had & it lasted over 7 years. Why wash the form after every use as it is in a bra pocket. Only quibble seems expensive for a bag of silicone,
comfortable and realistic by JS When my four year old granddaughter snuggles into me and my breast form and says how cuddly I am, I know that it feels good both for the wearer and the cuddler!Brilliant by WD This breast form is light and comfortable. The slight shaping to the side is great if you've had some lymph nodes removed as well. It flattens naturally when you you lie down . I highly recommend.Comfortable by WD This may seem like a lot of money to pay for a breast form but believe me it is worth every penny. It is soft, light, comfortable and above very natural feeling. You have to wear this every day so it’s really important to buy the right one.
Breast form by LW Very comfortable to wear, fits nicely into bra pocket. Looks and feels natural.Amoeba breast form by MH Really comfortable fit. My first breast form was Amoena - the same as this one - and lasted for 7 years. This is the reason I purchased the same one again. So natural looking.Everyday comfort by E E I have lymphoedema and I've had a double mastectomy. This breast form has been my favourite for some time now. Drapes naturally and the lighter weight makes it comfortable to wear all day.Everyday comfort by EE Delivered promptly. This breast form is so comfortable especially as I'm a bilateral with lymphoedema. The weight and fit are just perfect. A very happy customer.
Beaucoup de légèreté by Annie CLEMENT Bonjour, J'ai acheté cette prothèse il y a deux mois. Et elle m'a changé la vie, car beaucoup plus légère que mon ancienne environ 360 gr de moins. J'en arrive à oublier que j'ai une prothèse ce qui ait appréciable.Natura Xtra Light 2SN Breast Form by FD I was getting shoulder pain with a normal weight breast form. This is definitely lighter. It is very wide but this does give wider spread than the normal breast form, and so sits more comfortablyComfortable fit by IS First fit, still using pocketed but so much better than kapok filled forms.