How A Woman's Mastectomy Inspired Her To Design Custom-Made Nipples (VIDEO & SLIDESHOW)
When Michelle Kolath-Arbel was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, her life was turned upside down. In July of the same year, she had just concluded her studies at New York University so the couple decided to return to Israel and to have a second child. She was devastated when, after a battery of tests, her doctor announced her that she had a malignant lump in her right breast.
In 2011, after 16 strenuous chemo treatments as well as biological and hormonal ones, the 37-year-old wife and mother of a little boy had to undergo a unilateral mastectomy including the removal of her nipple. She was completely demolish by the news of losing her nipple. She told JTA:
“When the doctor told me I'd have to lose the nipple, I cried more than when they told me I had cancer,” It’s so small, but every day I'd get dressed, I'd see the scar. I’d get undressed, I’d see the scar. I’d shower, I'd see the scar. It’s in your face.”
The same year, Mrs Kolath-Arbel had a breast reconstructive surgery, but she wasn't satisfied with the options of nipple replacement. She ordered some adhesive nipple prostheses from United States and China, but they were thick, rubbery and looked fake. Also, the ones from China took as long as three months to arrive by mail.
That's when it all started! She studied prosthetics for one year with a silicone specialist and, after several attempts, learned to create her first nipple prosthesis. The handmade prosthesis, which is made with silicone of platinum-grade quality, matches the skin tone and is held in place with a medical-grade adhesive. Watch below how the prosthesis is done:
So, in 2012, Michelle Kolath-Arbel founded Pink Perfect, which specializes in providing breast cancer survivors with custom-made and ready-made nipple prostheses. Each purchase comes with a one-year warranty, although the creator affirms that the prosthesis can last several years if treated with good care. Its material is very resilient as well as waterproof and can endure daily activities. Her workshop is based in her home in Kfar Saba, Israel near Tel-Aviv.
The ready-made nipple prosthesis is offered in 8 different color variations from pink to brown and in 3 styles Modest, Bold and Natural. An impression kit is available for the custom-made prosthesis. It allows the person to make an impression out of her real nipple and the do-it-yourself impression kit is very fast and simple to follow. The creation process can be done in as little as 5 minutes.
Mrs Kolath-Arbel has now satisfied customers all over Israel as well as in United States, Australia and Canada. So far, Pink Perfect has filled over 200 orders. Many renowned plastic surgeons all across Israel have supported her product. The director of breast reconstruction at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Dr. Yoav Barnea, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA):
“She essentially completes our breast reconstruction operation. What Michelle is doing is she provided a solution to build a nipple that looks like the other one in shape and color, and avoids surgery.”
In 2013, the philanthropic organization Keren Shemesh Foundation named Mrs Kolath-Arbel Israeli Entrepreneur of the Year. This organization helps young entrepreneurs who want to establish their first company. The organization awarded her first prize because she used her own experience to create an excellent product, which helps women facing the aftermath of mastectomy.
Michelle Kolath-Arbel is an inspiration to women who had to undergo mastectomy and she helps them regain confidence in themselves. Her prosthetic nipples give breast cancer survivors the opportunity to avoid additional surgery and still be comfortable with their body. After the hardship they endured, they can now begin to do what they didn't for a long time, live!
Below is a slideshow of several pictures that I put together showing what the prosthetic nipple looks like, how it is put in place and many more. This will give you a good idea of this awesome product.