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Nips that Stick
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.
Wouldn't it be nice if prosthetic nipples would stick just like window cling? You simply slap them on and they stay on until you peeled them off. Newsflash: skin isn't like glass! Our marvelous, living, breathing skin with natural oils and sweat glands just isn't like the surface of glass -thank goodness!.
"Nips that don't stick" is a common and frustrating problem for many types of prosthetic nipples. Falling off at embarrassing moments or potentially getting lost can understandably be deal breakers for women considering nipple prosthetics after breast cancer surgery.
Finding a way to provide secure adhesion for Naturally Impressive nipples sticking securely on the breast was one of our first big challenges. We had developed a nipple that looked fantastically real, but when using Pros-Aide water based adhesive, they only stayed on a few days, at best. Often I'd find them in the bedsheets in the morning or stuck to my husband's arm! A bit funny, but also VERY frustrating! And if you've paid a few hundred dollars for it and it gets lost, that's financially painful.
The core issue relates to silicone. Silicone is a wonderful, safe, versatile material to work with for prosthetics of any kind. It's strong, yet pliable, has low toxicity, high thermal stability and does not absorb organic material that could lead to bacterial growth. It can be colored extrinsically or intrinsically for a natural appearance. The biggest problem is that nothing really sticks RELIABLY to silicone but silicone based adhesive.
You can add plastics to the silicone and that will help a water based adhesive like Pros-Aide be effective, but it will also make the prosthetic look and feel stiffer-less real. We have found the solution in using a highly safety tested, medical grade, silicone based adhesive (Telesis), paired with a gentle, effective adhesive remover. These two products have been game changers for us in being able to confidently provide "nips that stick."
Since Telesis adhesive sticks so well to pure silicone & the thin silicone nipple edges are delicate (in order to blend into the skin beautifully), the result of wearing and caring for silicone prostheses using Telesis slowly causes the edges to show cosmetic wear.
Women vary greatly in their cosmetic preferences and how often they wish to replace their Naturally Impressive nipples. They may last a year for women who wear them intermittently. With consistent wear, average replacement time is 4 to 6 months. Please note that we have discount prices for reorders.
Our focus is to provide "nips that stick." For most women that is accomplished using Telesis adhesive. We have a few clients with drier skin types (e.g. after radiation) that find sufficient adhesion with the Pros-Aide water based adhesive. They have the best deal ever as Naturally Impressive nipples will last a year or more using Pros-Aide adhesive. If interested, we suggest you purchase (on your own) "Pros-Aide: The Original" 2 oz. online.
Free Naturally Impressive nipple demo and brochures are available to MDs / Nurse Navigators upon request.
Randi RN, BSN
Co-founder Naturally Impressive, LLC