Some people choose nipple reconstruction surgery or nipple tattoos as ways to recreate the nipple and areola after having a mastectomy, as the final step in the breast reconstruction process. Other people don’t. It’s a completely individual choice, and one that doesn’t need to be made right away. Surgeons typically suggest waiting at least four to six weeks after reconstructive surgery in order to give the breasts time to heal and settle into a final position.
Nipple Reconstruction Surgery
In nipple reconstruction, breast skin is manipulated to create a new nipple. The reconstructed nipple can then be tattooed to add color and create the areola (the dark area around the nipple).
The most common reason for choosing reconstructive surgery is a desire to have nipples that project out from the breast, creating a potentially more natural look than what can be achieved through tattooing alone. The disadvantage is that reconstruction requires another surgical procedure after the patient has already been through a lumpectomy or mastectomy. While the surgery usually yields a good cosmetic outcome, the reconstructed nipple won’t look the same as the original.
Another option for creating the look of a nipple is to have a three-dimensional (3D) nipple tattoo applied to the reconstructed breast. The process for creating a nipple tattoo is similar to other permanent cosmetic tattoos, such as eyebrows. A trained tattoo technician uses oscillating needles to insert pigment into the skin. Because the reconstructed breast typically doesn’t have the same sensation as before surgery, tattooing usually isn’t painful. See photos of Pure Medical Spa nipple tattoos.
The art of creating nipple tattoos has come a long way, providing highly realistic results that appear to have physical dimension. Tattoo technicians are able to add fine details and coloring that can’t be done in surgery. Some women appreciate the fact that tattooed nipples don’t show through their clothing.
Talk to Your Surgeon
The ultimate choice between nipple reconstruction, nipple tattoos, or neither is a personal one, and is entirely up to the patient. At Muskegon Surgical Associates, our surgeons and technicians are always available to answer your questions and provide guidance regarding your options. Contact us or call 231-739-1933 to schedule an appointment.