The production of prosthetic nipples currently has limited research and innovation in the field. That's a shame, because nipple reconstruction can have a significant impact on the physical and emotional well-being of breast cancer survivors. It can help to restore a sense of wholeness and regain confidence to those who've faced the daunting battles of cancer. Arianna Pezzano, a graduate from Central Saint Martins, has come up with an idea to help breast cancer patients. She's figured out a way to create special prosthetic nipples using keratine, coming from the same hair that patients lose during chemotherapy.
When cancer patients go through chemotherapy, they often lose their hair. The prosthetic nipples are custom-made for each patient, and they even match their skin color. Pezzano decided to use keratin derived from the patient's own hair, because it would feel safe and natural for them. With this gesture, she is hoping to give the patients back what they have lost due to their illness. Arianna collected this hair and used a special process to derive the keratin, the fibrous protein that is found in hair.
Pezzano decided to use keratin derived from the patient's own hair, because it would feel safe and natural for them
The designer then creates a mold of the patient's breast. With a special type of machine she spins the keratin into a lightweight artificial nipple. She focused on the nipple after realising this aspect of breast reconstruction needed some innovation. Her next step? Further development of the project. Pezzano is hoping that in the future she can create full artificial breasts along with the nipples by using 3D printing. The goal is to make artificial breasts that look and feel as real as possible.