A number of postmastectomy options are available to a woman undergoing treatment for breast cancer. A patient might choose to do nothing and “go flat.” Or she might find breast reconstruction more cosmetically appealing. If she is not satisfied with the look of her reconstructed breast, she might choose to embellish it with a painterly tattoo of a flowering vine executed by a gifted artist such as David Allen. She might want just a simple nipple tattoo, perhaps. Of course, for a more anatomically accurate result she might choose nipple-conserving reconstruction, but that option is not always feasible for medical reasons.
Enter breast cancer survivor Michelle Kolath-Arbel, whose disease was diagnosed in 2010. Her treatment included chemotherapy, a unilateral mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery. After 3 operations her breast was replaced, but it was bare — the nipple was missing. Every time she looked in the mirror she saw her breasts were different and was reminded of her breast cancer. She would need another surgery to create a nipple, but her doctors told her that her skin was too tight and sensitive. Another surgery was out of the question. Kolath-Arbel began looking for an alternative approach to nipple reconstruction. She explored prosthetic nipples, but all of the imitation nipples she found were hard plastic. She wanted a nipple that looked and felt realistic. That is when she came up with the idea of making a prosthetic nipple from premium silicone that would give it a realistic look and feel.
Crafting Nipples “Like Crazy”
“I studied the nipple-making process and crafted nipples like crazy!” explained Kolath-Arbel. “I wanted a nipple that would look and feel as close to my real one as possible. I wanted it to have a soft texture like my real nipple, with thin edges that would blend to my skin. It took me a long time until I was satisfied with the results. Only then did I start selling them.”
At that point Michelle founded her company, Pink Perfect (www.pink-perfect.com), which produces realistic, ready-made and custom-made adhesive silicone nipples for survivors who have undergone unilateral or bilateral mastectomy. The prosthetics are handmade from the finest quality silicone, and thus are very close to the look and feel of real skin. They are waterproof and adhere to the breast with a medical-grade adhesive that can last for days, so women can confidently wear them in the shower, swimming pool, or even swimming in the ocean. These silicone prosthetic nipples offer an alternative solution to nipple reconstruction surgery or nipple tattooing. There is no pain or surgery involved in the prosthetic nipple process. The prosthetics can last for years, and if the survivor is pleased with them, they can actually eliminate the need for more surgery and more expense. Furthermore, they are even reimbursable by insurance.