Pink Perfect customers are both male and female and not only breast cancer survivors. Its customers include women whose nipples were damaged during breast reduction or augmentation surgery. The company also provides nipples for transgender men and women who are looking for a more feminine or masculine look.
Pink Perfect has a catalog of its ready-made nipples. These prosthetics are available in 3 of the most popular styles in 8 colors — from the lightest pink to the darkest brown — that match any shade of skin.
Custom-made styles are available in an endless selection of size and color options. Kolath-Arbel said that she can make any type of nipple of any shape and color, and she has even had a customer request a nipple with a piercing. When a survivor is ready to order a custom-made nipple, the company sends her a quick and simple kit for making an impression of her existing nipple. The customer is also asked to complete a short questionnaire on the details of the remaining nipple, and receives a color chart to choose from hundreds of colors. She can select different colors for the nipple and the areola, if that is what she wants.
Making an impression of the remaining nipple is easily accomplished by applying a paste-like material that hardens after several minutes. The fine resolution of the material catches the nipple texture, including the bumps, and reproduces its overall look. The impression is returned with a photo, measurements, and the color match from the chart. With these, Pink Perfect is able to create a nipple that is virtually identical to the remaining one. To increase the chance of making a perfect match the customer actually receives 4 to 6 nipples with slight variations of color.
The prosthetic nipples are shipped with an FDA-registered medical adhesive that has been fully tested with the prosthetic nipples during normal day-to-day activities. The adhesive is waterproof and can hold the prosthetic nipple for about a week (depending on skin type and moisture level). The post-mastectomy patient can usually start wearing her new prosthetic nipple 3 weeks after surgery, once the area has healed completely.
Reflecting on her life-changing work, this medical artist says, “In a way I cannot put breast cancer behind me because I’m in touch with so many women. Some passed away, some became metastatic, and my heart breaks every time I hear this. But on the other hand, I talk to many brave and powerful women that I am inspired by in so many ways. I am the one who helps them to be able to feel sexy again … or to simply get undressed in front of their mates or kids. I feel very privileged.”
Bette Weinstein Kaplan is a medical writer based in Tenafly, New Jersey.