Michelle Kolath-Arbel did not dream that her breast cancer diagnosis in 2010 would eventually turn her into a pioneering innovator.
But four years on, Ms Kolath-Arbel of Kfar Saba is running a successful business making and selling what she believes is a unique product — realistic-looking nipples that can be mounted on reconstructed breasts. “I got through chemotherapy, needed a full mastectomy on one side, and not many people know that when you do a full mastectomy with reconstruction you normally lose a nipple,” she said.
“At the end of this I had no hair anywhere, had lost my eyelashes and eyebrows, and when they took my nipples I felt I’d lost my femininity.”
She showed her surviving nipple to a US online seller via Skype and ordered a stick-on copy for her other breast, but found it hard, rubbery and “ridiculous”. The only other option was surgery to create a nipple-like lump, which would then be coloured with a tattoo.
So Ms Kolath-Arbel developed a range of soft nipples, made from medical-grade silicone, which are matched to the skin and which she said look realistic. A nipple from her firm, Pink Perfect, costs around £170, and the cost drops if consumers order two. The finished nipples can last for years and have attracted the praise of Israeli doctors. They sustain all activities “including intimate relations”.