Nipple areola tattooing is a cosmetic procedure in which insertion of pigment into the skin, with specialized instruments to recreate the nipple and areola, after breast reconstruction surgery.
It is well accepted as part of breast reconstruction. Is very useful to those who do not want or are not candidates to undergo nipple reconstruction surgery and opt for a realistic image of the nipple with a tattoo (less invasive alternative to surgery).
Some people feel that nipple reconstruction whether from surgery or tattooing is an important step to move forward, others do not. The choice is very personal.
Nipple tattooing can be done to enhance the result of nipple reconstruction surgery
American Cancer Society suggests waiting 3-4 months after the reconstruction to get the nipple tattooing.
3 D or Three-dimensional Nipple Tattoos are real tattoos.
An experienced professional can create an amazingly realistic image of a nipple that visually appears to have a physical dimension but at touch feels flat.
Advantages of choosing to tattoo:
– Avoid invasive surgeries and the creation of new scars.
– Easier healing and recovery process
– Tattoo artists can add fine details and adjust colors that can’t be attained with surgery.
– The nipples don’t show through the clothes, so can skip wearing a bra (some woman may consider a disadvantage because the tattoo has not physical dimension).
– Improve self-esteem and mental health.
Who may not candidate for tattooing:
– Some cases when radiation treatment damaged severely the breast skin.
– Skin became extremely thinned during treatments or surgery.
– Lymphedema that involves the chest.
– History of repetitive infections on the breast.
In a study made in Japan, from 2017 to 2020, to people who got areola nipple tattooing, the patients registered the subjective evaluation and followed 6 months after the tattooing, which shows no one has an infection or allergic reactions. Improved the mental health, felt comfortable going to hot springs or taking bath with their children.
If you have had a mastectomy or expect to have one, you may be entitled to special rights under the Woman’s Health Cancer Rights Act of 1998.
Is a federal law that provides protections to patients who choose to have breast reconstruction in connection with a mastectomy.
If your health plan (insurance) covers mastectomies, it must provide certain reconstructive surgery and other benefits related to the mastectomy including all stages of the reconstruction of the breast on which the mastectomy was performed, surgery and reconstruction of the other breast to produce a symmetrical appearance, prosthesis, treatment of physical complications of the tattooing including lymphedema, and the nipple-areola tattooing.
Olga Lucia, CPCP, FAAM, CMICertified Permanent Cosmetics Professional
Fellow American Academy of Micropigmentation
Certify Micropigmentation Instruction.