Wondering What To Do About Nipples? From 3D Tattoos to Stick-Ons, You’ve Got Options!

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These are exciting times if you find yourself in need of a new breast or two! After the pain, stress, and fear of a single or double mastectomy, breast cancer patients find themselves with what is hopefully an encouraging array of options. Do you reconstruct? Do you go for an amazing cover-up tattoo? Decide you’re done with breasts and go flat? There are options, ladies!

No one should rush their decision. How you choose to reconstruct (or not) is deeply personal and will be a big part of helping you make peace with your new post-cancer body. There are several good reasons to just go flat and embrace a streamlined lifestyle: cost or health issues may be prohibitive to reconstruction, staying flat may feel like the best way to feel true to yourself, and implants won’t have the same sensitivity to touch that a flat chest will. And a big plus of going flat is that no further surgeries are required—one and done!

Some women choose to wear a prostheses, and there are multiple options if you want to go that route. A prosthesis is another great option for women who want to be 100% done with surgery.

But for many women, having one or both breasts reconstructed is extremely important. They feel reconstruction will help them feel whole again or more confident, and if a woman underwent a single mastectomy, reconstruction of the removed breast may feel like a practical step to maintain symmetry. If it’s important to a woman to have one or both breasts reconstructed, then she will have to answer a host of new questions. One of the trickiest is: What do I do about nipples?

The decision can be overwhelming, because it’s not a simple “Yes” or “No.” It’s “Permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary?” and “Now or later?” and of course, “What size, shape, height, and color?”

Goodness gracious. Since when did nipples become as customizable as your coffee order?

But we’re all for it. Here are 4 big considerations when starting your journey to new nipples.

1. Do I Care About Nipples?

Some women feel it’s important to have their breasts reconstructed but are less concerned about nipples. A smooth, round mound is fine with them—no protrusion or color needed. Some of those who think nipple-free is the way to be will opt for decorative tattoos over their breasts (like these amazing ladies).

The pro of not caring about nipples is that you’ll avoid additional surgery and its associated risks. But some women think nipples are essential and want them for symmetry, a sense of normalcy, or even the sexual pleasure of their partner. If that’s the case, then there are more questions to answer!

“NEXT” for nipple reconstruction projecting vs. nonprojecting nipple options

Katie Taylor started writing in 5th grade and hasn't stopped since. Her favorite place to pen a phrase is in front of her fireplace with a cup of tea, but she's been known to write in parking lots on the backs of old receipts if necessary. She and her husband live cozily in the Pacific Northwest enjoying rainy days and Netflix.
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