The tattoo can help patients feel more self-confident and complete after their cancer treatment surgery.
A 3D nipple tattoo is a “picture” of a nipple and areola on the breast that is flat to the touch but looks three-dimensional and quite real. 3D nipple and areola tattoos are real, permanent tattoos, applied by a skilled medical professional in conjunction with Dr. Priti Patel. The pigment is etched into the skin to create the appearance of an areola.
It is quite common for women to choose to get permanent 3D nipple tattoos instead of nipple reconstruction surgery. A nipple tattoo is less invasive than nipple reconstruction. It is sometimes ideal in an individual whose skin has thinned due to radiation related changes making it difficult to create a nipple mound.
A tattoo can have fine details, shading, and coloring that make it look very realistic. For example, a tattoo can create the illusion of Montgomery glands (little bumps that naturally appear on the areola).
Tattooing is also used after nipple reconstruction surgery to add color to the new nipple(s), making them look more realistic and creating the appearance of areola(s). We recommend at least 2 sessions of tattooing to deposit as much color as possible and to create a more detailed appearance.
An appointment for nipple tattooing can take 1 to 2 hours. During the appointment, Dr. Priti Patel will talk with you about your preferences for nipple and areola size, shape, placement, and color.
If you still have one of your natural nipples, we will attempt to match the new nipple’s color and size to it. If both your nipples were removed during the mastectomy, we may look at pre-surgery photos of your breasts as a reference point.
To help determine the best positioning for the nipple tattoos, we will draw on your breasts and take measurements. Dr. Priti Patel and our micro pigmentation specialist will also review a palette of pigments with you (tones of pink, tan, beige, and browns) to select colors for the nipple and areola that look as natural as your original nipples. Our goal is to select a color that can complement your skin tone. After mixing the pigment, we will temporarily apply a swatch of the color to your breast skin so you can see what it looks like in different lighting and when you move around. Once you are satisfied we will begin the coloring process. A topical medication is used to help with any discomfort.
How long does it take for the tattoo area to heal?
Healing times can vary… typically between 7-10 days. Some slight scabbing or skin flaking will occur but this is normal. A thin coat of ointment may be applied as needed during the healing process. A small non-stick pad or bandage will be required for the first few days to avoid sticking to clothing. Washing the area once a day and thin coats of ointment are normally all that is required to get a good, well healed result in 7-10 days. Healing time can be decreased by nearly half with use of our Red Light for 10-20 min. Red Light for healing is a premium service add-on and should be scheduled at the time you schedule your appointment.
A nipple tattoo is great way to hide or draw the eye away from scarring. It’s also a wonderful way to reclaim your body after going through your cancer journey. You tattoo can often cover much of the scars and allow you to complete the final stages of reconstruction allowing the breasts to look more natural. Most women will complement the breast, with a 3D nipple.
You need to wait at least 2-3 months to allow scarring to heal and settle. This also allows any inflammation in the breast to disappear and it to settle into its final position. Its easy to damage fragile skin if it isn’t properly healed. We recommend waiting this amount of time so that we can best match the nipple position.
Your breast cancer diagnosis is the beginning of a long process. This journey can be terribly frightening and anxiety provoking. We want to help assist however we can during this process. The nipple phase is the final step which marks the end for most women. However, we always recommend continued monitoring and visits to assure the best outcomes.
Cancer can definitely test patience and courage, but we aim to hold your hand throughout each step. Our breast cancer patients admire our commitment to this practice and we hope you will also.
As a plastic surgery practice, Dr. Priti Patel wanted to be able to offer something more. This is why we offer high quality nipple tattoos as an option to enable you to get as close as possible to your body before surgery and to help reclaim your body confidence, restore your spirit and put cancer behind you. In our opinion, nipple reconstruction allows more women to feel whole again.
At Aesthetiq, its simply our pleasure to help patients uncover their true beauty. We encourage you to join our mailing list by signing up below. From scheduling to monthly events and promotions, you will be the first to know how we can assist in enhancing your appearance and embracing your self-esteem.