ERJ staff report (TP)
Kfar Saba, Israel – About 200 people in Israel and elsewhere have prosthetic nipples that look and feel natural – all because of an Israeli woman who wasn’t willing to live the rest of her life without one, reported Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c.
Michelle Kolath-Arbel’s self-funded company, Pink Perfect, was founded for people who are missing a nipple because of cancer surgery or any other reason. The nipples are handmade from platinum-grade silicone to match the client’s skin tone, and are attached with a medical-grade adhesive strong enough to wear in the pool or shower.
Unless you’ve gone through a mastectomy, like 37-year-old Kolath-Arbel did in 2011, you might not realise that the cancerous breast’s nipple is almost always removed as well. The only available solutions – a “bump” of spare skin on the reconstructed breast, and/or a tattoo that must be retouched yearly – were not acceptable to her.
“When I realised my nipple would be removed with my breast, I was crying so much because this is something permanent,” she said. “I shopped around and tried to find a solution.”
She ordered fake nipples from other companies, but they were disappointingly just that – very fake.
It occurred to her to make a mould to fashion an artificial nipple. She was a marketing manager for an advertising company, but enjoyed making jewellery and crafts – so that helped.
With a loan from her brother, she took a prosthetics course with a silicone specialist. “And I just started making them. I thought if I’m crazy enough to do this, I hope there are other crazy women like me not settling for a bad solution.”
Pink Perfect nipples can be purchased ready-made and custom-made. Each comes with a one-year warranty, although with proper care the silicone nipples can last for years, says their inventor.
Ready-made nipple styles “natural,” “modest” and “bold” are available in eight different colour variations from pink to brown. The price of $280 (€201.6) per pair includes a bottle of adhesive and free shipping.
Custom-made nipples cost $370 (€266.4) apiece. The customer can purchase a $50 (€36) impression kit that comes with a colour chart, and mail it back to Kolath-Arbel at her Kfar Saba home office in Israel. Most of her overseas orders come from the United States, and she has also filled orders from Canada and Australia.
Dr. Yoav Barnea, director of breast reconstruction at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, said that Kolath-Arbel “essentially completes our breast reconstruction operation. Michelle … provided a solution to build a nipple that looks like the other one in shape and colour, and avoids surgery.”
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Full story from Israel21c