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01-14-2019 The Elusive Nipple Solution After Breast Cancer Surgery

Elusive Nipple Solution

Written as a Guest Blog for the closed Facebook group "DiepCJourney - Breast Reconstruction After Mastectomy" and the website blog that provides education, compassionate support and excellent resources for breast cancer "thrivers" and health care professionals.

For many of us going through breast cancer, by the time we get through diagnosis, surgery, treatment and breast reconstruction, we have an eager anticipation of the final step of getting nipples to help us feel whole and complete. It seems like it should be simple, but often it drags on and on without a satisfactory solution. Surgical nipples flatten, tattoos fade, prosthetics fall off.

I was really fortunate. After my unilateral mastectomy in 2007, while I was still in the breast reconstruction process, my innovative husband was inspired by my plastic surgeon to develop a silicone nipple-areola for me. What a gift! It makes me feel so joyful to look in the mirror after showering or while dressing and see the symmetry of two nipples. It eases some of the sting of what breast cancer has taken from me as a woman.

We had no idea what a need there was for a good nipple solution!
Our plastic surgeon was impressed with the nipple prototype my husband had made for me. He encouraged us to show it to breast surgeons attending his training conferences.

We were genuinely surprised at how excited these world-renowned breast surgeons, at the conference, were about our product. They loved how realistic Naturally Impressive nipples looked and felt. A couple surgeons informed us that the real test was "Do they stay on?"

There are other nipple prosthetics available, but many look fake and fall off unpredictably making for a very unsatisfactory experience. Some might look realistic, but still do not stay on reliably. To provide a nipple prosthetic that looked real and stayed on securely (for weeks) became our focus.

Since 2008, we’ve been through an evolution of perfecting design, adhesives, and true to life skin tone color. After many years of making impressions for custom nipples, we found patterns emerged regarding areola and nipple features. We also realized what a moving target it is to "match" a natural nipple since it changes size and color with temperature and other factors. It's always going to be an approximate match anyway.

Therefore, we simplified to make the process faster and less expensive (about $100) while maintaining custom quality. Our wide selection of nipple & areola features along with five basic "tried and true" colors and one free exchange makes it possible for most women to find something that feels "right" for them. It's thrilling to see how often we are able to provide a very satisfactory nipple solution for women for either short or long term use.

For short term use, our affordable pricing and wide selection make Naturally Impressive nipples an excellent decision making tool while waiting for tissue to settle. Discover what size, color and features you like best and bring your Naturally Impressive nipples to your nipple reconstruction surgeon / tattoo artist to tangibly communicate your goals for permanent nipple restoration.

I never would have dreamed that something so meaningful would have come out of my breast cancer diagnosis. It's hard to put into words how touching it is to hear women’s gratitude. I invite you to view some of their "Nipple Journeys" captured in video on our website.

Free Naturally Impressive nipple demo and brochures are available to MDs / Nurse Navigators upon request.

Randi Johnson RN, BSN
Co-founder Naturally Impressive, LLC

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