Nipple Graft: New Nipples Anywhere!

I’m always very happy when I get to show the body modification world a new procedure that opens up new aesthetic options. So I am completely thrilled to show you an experimental first attempt at a nipple graft procedure coming out of South Africa’s small but inspired body modification community, done on Estè Kira by Lliezel Ellick and Faranaaz Kannemeyer (with most of the photos being by Lohan Koegelenberg). They learned a lot doing this, and I really want to be fair by mentioning that they’d originally wanted me to wait until they’d done a few more and refined the procedure before I showed it. But I think even this first attempt at creating a new nipple from regular skin is incredible and felt it was worth showing off — and I can’t wait to see their next attempt. Let me begin with a photo of the healed result, and then go on to the procedure in more detail.

Estè tells me that about a year ago, while joking around with a friend, she started thinking about having multiple nipples grafted. She says, “I have always envied people with third nipples, and soon realized that it should be possible to create a nipple from skin. I researched nipple reconstruction procedures, usually used in mastectomy cases, and found a website with some pictures and illustrations of the procedure.”

“My close friend, piercer, fellow performer and body mod artist, Lliezel Ellick, was immediately keen to try this experimental procedure. Together with Faranaz Kamaldien, another Cape Town piercer and scarification artist, we got together one saturday morning. After a bit of brain storming, and me explaining to them how I understood the procedure to be done, we went ahead. A friend of mine filmed the procedure as well. It was by far the most intense experience I have had thus far. The over-the-counter anesthetic was not strong enough, so I felt most of it. Every now and again I had a look and we would discuss the next step. It was very deep with the yellow fatty tissue exposed. I kept the open wound closed for about one and a half months with daily cleaning. I think it was the very intense and long healing and a very hard and physical job that has kept me thus far from continuing with the other three that I have planned, but have some time off in December, and want to do them then.”

In December when they do the next three, giving Estè two rows of three nipples a piece, they will be doing some refinements to the procedure from what they learned doing the first one. To the best of Estè’s knowledge — and I agree with her — this is the first such procedure done in the body modification community. It’s extremely exciting to me, and I think they deserve a lot of credit for opening this door, to say nothing of having done it so successfully.

Below you can see the procedure. In the first picture you can see the skin being peeled up around the centre, and in the second photo the cutting/peeling has been completed. In the third photo the stitching is being done, and in the fourth (first photo of the second row), you can see what it looked like fresh and stitched up. Photo five — satisfaction! And in the last picture (which is just a phone photo), you can see it healing at two weeks into the procedure. The photo we began with above is the healed result. My hat is definitely off to Estè, Lliezel, Faranaaz for doing a wonderful procedure and expanding the body modification palette. Great work!

From Dumbo to Cinderella

As they say, “Kids can be so cruel”.

I met Maee a while back when she and her boyfriend Russ Foxx (who I’ve known practically since he was knee-high to a grasshopper) came by to host some suspensions at my studio, and I can assure you that she is very beautiful and doesn’t need to change anything. But what I think or what Russ thinks or what you think doesn’t erase the damage that was done to her psyche as a child — something I’m sure all of us can relate to in our own way, unfortunately. Ever since a young age she was teased about having big ears, and being called “Dumbo” throughout childhood made a deeply negative impact on her confidence as an adult. She remembers ears being hit by a ruler, being called nasty names, and even being dragged down a hallway by them in highschool.

Maee approached many cosmetic surgeons trying to find someone who would help her, but all they could offer her was “otoplasty”, a procedure in which the ears are folded back toward the head, making them stick out less. This wasn’t what she wanted though — Maee literally wanted smaller ears, perhaps by cutting part of the cartilage out and restructuring the ear in some way. She wasn’t bothered by how much they stuck out — it was their physical size that upset her. But no plastic surgeon was willing to tackle the job.

Even highly experienced cosmetic surgeons are very averse to creating new procedures, unlike practitioners in the body modification industry, who enjoy and excel at the evolution and outright creation of procedures to match the dreams of their clients, so it was serendipity that Maee and Russ fell in love. When Russ understood what Maee went through with her ears, he offered to modify the ear pointing procedure to meet her needs. The results couldn’t have gone better — her new ears look completely natural, but smaller. I was so happy when I read how she felt afterwards,

“He changed my life in a way I never thought could happen. I cried so hard after I got to see my new ears. I felt a sense of relief, I gained more confidence, and I felt as though all those hard years of my life had all faded away in just one single moment.”


In the photos above the inside pair are the “before” photos, and the outside pair are the “after” photos. Since it may not be obvious — and I think the fact that it’s not “obvious” is proof of just how well this was executed — I’ve made a little animation where you can see just how well this turned out. I’m pretty sure I’ve kept things quite accurately to scale. On the right you can see the size of the triangle of flesh that was removed.