Although most women look forward to the final touch that helps make their new breasts looks as natural as possible, others forego the procedure because they don't want nipples without sensation or response, they don’t want to have any additional surgery, or they simply would rather not deal with issues that are inherent with reconstructed nipples--eventual flattening and fading over time.
For some women, the answer is a non-surgical alternative, like the examples below, which can be used on breast prostheses, on reconstructed breasts in lieu of nipple reconstruction, or while you’re waiting to have your own newly-created nipples tattooed:
- Adhesive nipple prostheses: polyurethane or silicone semi-erect nipples from Amoena (http://www.amoena.us) and Pink Perfect (http://www.pink-perfect.com) can be put on your reconstructed breast or your prostheses and taken off whenever the mood strikes you. You'll find many sources, including Amazon. Just search for "adhesive nipples."
- Nipple “decals”: Rub-on Nipples (http://www.breasthealing.com) last a week or two and are easily removed with rubbing alcohol.
- Custom nipple prostheses: Pink Perfect, Reforma (http://www.myreforma.com), New Attitude (http://www.new-attitude-inc.com) and other companies customize prosthetic nipples in different sizes and skin tones, including the little goosebumps on the areola known as Montgomery’s tubercles.
- 3-D tattoos: Creative tattoos involve a subtle mix of colors, shading and highlighting to more closely simulate the nipple and areola are becoming more common--it looks as though you have nipples, even when you don’t. If you decide to go this route, be sure to check out the tattoo artist’s experience with this type of tattooing; 3-D tattooing has more dimension and takes a different skill than simply applying color to an area of the breast.