Many women are concerned about their appearance after having a mastectomy. There are several options that women have for restoring the way their bodies look. Many women opt for breast reconstruction that can create the most natural appearance whether a woman is wearing clothing or not.
One area of difficulty for women who have undergone surgical reconstruction is the appearance of their nipple or nipples. While it is possible to create a natural looking breast, the nipple and areola can be harder to recreate. This can create distress for the patient, who, quite understandably, would like her body to return to what it looked like before her illness and surgery.
Why a Nipple-Areola Prosthesis?
Women’s options when their nipple and areola cannot be preserved in a mastectomy have generally been limited to a surgical reconstruction of the area or working with an experienced tattoo artist who can re-create the look of the nipple on the skin.
While these are certainly reasonable options, not all women are satisfied with them. The ability to recreate a nipple and areola surgically depends largely on the skill of the physician. Tattoo artists can also do much to restore the appearance of the breast, but the tattoo itself is not three-dimensional. As a result, there may be some cognitive dissonance for the woman who has a nipple tattoo.
A third option is the construction of a nipple-areola prosthesis. This type of prosthesis can be constructed from silicone and has the look and texture of a real nipple and areola. It is attached to the breast using an adhesive. A skilled prosthetic designer can carefully match the color and size of the prosthesis to the original nipple. This noninvasive option has benefited many women.
Finding a Prosthesis Specialist
To find an expert in creating prosthetic nipples-areolas, you may have to do a bit of digging. If there is a support group that you belong to, you can certainly ask for referrals to nipple replacement services such as Custom Prosthetic Designs. As with hiring any professional, it is a good idea to get references and to check online reviews.
If you will be undergoing a mastectomy or have already done so, look into a prosthesis as an alternative to other reconstruction options. Having an understanding of all your options can help you arrive at the right decision for you and your body.