To Nipple or Not to Nipple

EtsyNipplePasties

When all else fails, Pasties are fun!
©Gothfoxdesigns

To nipple or not to nipple, that is the question. At least for me, that is the question which I have been pondering for a very long time now as I approach the exchange surgery where my tissue expanders will be replaced with permanent implants.

When my journey first began, I was dead-set on having the nipple reconstruction surgery, now, I am dead-set against it, for personal reasons. First of all, I never liked having nipples since they were always protruding even if the weather wasn’t cold! They were eye-magnets for men and I always felt uncomfortable when I would notice a man staring at my nipples.

My chest, I’m not going to refer to my reconstruction as “foobs” (f=fake, oobs=boobs) because I do not like bandwagon terminology or mentality. Nor shall I refer to the reconstructed area as breasts because, in fact, they are NOT breasts. They are implants fashioned to resemble breasts. I shall refer to them as implants.

My exchange surgery is next week, March 6, 2014. I am anxious to have this completed but fearful for how the end result may look. After my visit with my plastic surgeon last Monday, I was upset with how she described the upcoming surgery, “I’ll just cut into the existing scars here,” she pointed toward the outer side of my scars near my underarms, “about two inches, remove the expanders and place the implants.”

Bilateral Mastectomy Expanders

My expanders look like this,
placed very high with ragged scars.

She said nothing about cutting out the existing scars from the mastectomy surgery and refining them as she had told me in one of our initial visits when she had explained how she would make new, clean cuts to cut out the jagged scars and the new scars would be hairline and nearly invisible. I emailed her this morning asking what the situation is. I have not heard back from her. I am not happy.

Another area of concern, note the photo, my expanders are just as lopsided. I am so afraid that my plastic surgeon is NOT going to do a good job, and then what? Will my insurance cover me for surgery with a different surgeon to fix her mess? Beyond that fear, I am upset at the thought of possibly having to go for another surgery to fix her mess.

But, I digress, I intended to write about my choice to NOT go for nipple reconstruction and the biggest part is that I am beginning to have less faith in my plastic surgeon and her results. I just want to get this implant surgery finished and get on with my life. I don’t trust her to do nipple surgery, but, as I said before, I don’t want nipples because I didn’t like them when I had them. To my mind, reconstructed nipples would be like having skin tags.

I have been researching 3D nipple/areola tattoos and of course, Vinnie Myers’ name came up as he is the most revered tattoo artist in this area. I believe that I have found a tattoo artist, locally, (Big Daddy’s Tattoos in OKC – scroll down to Drew Shurtleff) who I think can give me just as good or BETTER results as Vinnie and I won’t have to travel. I’ll write more about my tattoo experience with photos when the time comes.

nipple_medium_large_200

© Myreforma
Prosthetic, Reusable Nipple

3D Nipple/areola tattoos are my choice and if I really want to change out to the ‘look’ of protruding nipples, I can always buy reusable, prosthetic nipples at a reasonable cost, heck, insurance may even cover that cost. I can also use pasties or cartoon stickers for fun, the kind my grandchildren use! The possibilities are endless!

BAR_LINE2

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29 responses to “To Nipple or Not to Nipple

  1. I’m glad I skipped the whole nipple thing. I’ve been thinking about getting some kind of truly strange tattoo … Or just draw something with magic marker. I think my implants are going to fall out after this next surgery anyhow. So it’s probably a moot point.

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    • Oh no! I have also been looking at different types of tattoos. When I’m ready, I’ll talk with the tattoo artist I’ve chosen and who knows, maybe I will be unconventional, like you!

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  2. Is it typical to have the tissue expanders look as ugly as these???

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    • Yes. Those actually look pretty good.The implants don’t necessarily look much better. Mine look kind of square. They do NOT look like real breasts, but they feel pretty real to the touch.

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      • Ugh! If the implants look similar to this picture of expanders, I will be VERY disappointed! I’ve just been chatting with my cousin who just got her implants in 5 days ago. She sent me pictures of her expanders and the new implants (even though they are fresh and swollen). BUT, the expanders looked BEAUTIFUL and her new implants are gorgeous! Sigh… I’m going to have to go on a stronger dose of anti-depressants if the implants look as bad as these tissue expanders.

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        • All implants are not created equal and all surgeries aren’t the same. Implants + a lumpectomy look MUCH better than implants following a fully mastectomy (what I had X2). Because there was nothing left of my original breasts, none of the musculature, the implants don’t hold their shape as well as they would if there were more of the underlying muscles left. It’s why I was warned to wear at least a leisure bra all the time, because the implants themselves have no support other than the skin that surrounds them.

          Implants get softer over time. Very firm and perky at the beginning, but they change with time — everything does.

          I don’t know what surgery you had. I had a double full mastectomy. I had no viable skin on my abdomen (too many prior surgeries), so she used skin from my breasts and refilled them — minus nipples. I’m assured they look amazingly good and with a decent bra, entirely real — under clothing. But naked, they are a bit square and have shifted some (I was warned this would happen) over the past 2-1/2 years.

          I have no idea what impact the heart surgery, with it’s chest incision, will have on the implants. I hope they aren’t a total loss. They could be.

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          • I had the same full, bilateral mastectomy as you had. The plastic surgeon told me that the breast surgeon, who did the mastectomies, is known for being VERY aggressive with how much tissue she typically removes.

            I’m going to phone the other plastic surgeon, the guy I wanted in the 1st place. He stopped his association with the hospital where I had my surgery, that’s how I ended up with the plastic surgeon I now have. If I can get an appointment for a 2nd opinion within the next 2 weeks or so, that’s what I’ll do, I just don’t know how to handle this with the plastic surgeon I’m scheduled with, for the exchange surgery – how to postpone the surgery that’s scheduled for next week.

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  3. Do what you want, to heck with anything else.

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  4. At the very least, I would postpone and get a 2nd opinion from another plastic surgeon. I got very lucky; my plastic surgeon is a genius. I had nipple reconstruction, back in December. Mine look fairly natural, and remember, they won’t be reactive to cold like natural nipples. At first they were protrusive, but now they’ve “settled in” and don’t protrude. I’d be happy to send you a photo privately; I’m not comfortable sharing them on the internet…

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    • Thanks Debi, as soon as my 1st choice for plastic surgeon’s office is open, I’m going to phone and see if I can get in to talk with him and if he’ll take me as a patient. What I’m afraid of is burning bridges with the plastic surgeon I already have.

      Sure, I would be very appreciative if you could send a photo of the nipple reconstruction, my email is swoosieque@gmail.com. Thanks again!

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  5. Thanks for writing about this. For some reason it’s hard to talk and/or write about nipples. I’d just like to say that you can always do the nipple reconstruction later on too. For me personally, well, let’s just say things could use some tweaking, but frankly, I don’t care to deal with any more surgeries right now. Maybe later. And then again, maybe not. Sometimes good enough is just that. Good enough. And there are options as you pointed out. Good luck with things.

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    • You are so right! Actually, a woman’s breast can be nearly exposed but somehow, if the nipple remains covered, society thinks it’s ok.

      I actually began thinking about this when a male breast cancer survivor spoke about how awkward he felt without a nipple! I was astonished that a man would have that reaction to a body part that I assumed was associated more with being a woman; even though men, of course have them, women’s are developed to serve an actual purpose other than sexual pleasure.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  6. I just finished reconstruction and decided against another surgery for nipples. I ordered temporary nipple tattoos and they looked bizarre! I am just happy that I can wear my tank tops again.

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  7. They come off easily with rubbing alcohol.

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  8. Your welcome! Let me know if it helps you in making your decision!

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  9. 3boyscallmemama

    I’m interested in who you have found in OKC to possibly do your 3d nipple tattoos. I am just beginning this journey as well. Oh and Dr. S. is great!

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  10. Nice Blog! Have you seen tepelbedekkers before? I have seen some at http://tepelbedekkers.nl and those products might be interesting to blog about for you?

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