The need for breast reconstruction is a difficult thing to face, since it normally occurs after cancer forces a mastectomy. One of the main concerns for those undergoing this procedure is how natural the results will be.
Fortunately, with advances in breast reconstruction techniques, the final result can be very natural looking. Nipple tattooing can be part of this process.
Getting To The Tattoo Part
If a patient has to have a radical mastectomy, there is no chance that the skin with the natural nipple will be preserved. (However, free nipple sparing is an option in some reconstructions.)
All breast tissue with positive margins must be removed to eradicate malignant cells in the breast. What is left is a flat plane with a scar spanning the width of the pectoral wall.
For patients who choose to have reconstruction, there are a couple of options: implants or using donated tissue from another part of the body.
No matter what the patient chooses, the final result is similar. The breast shape will be very close to what it was before. In some cases, the doctor will recreate the nipple itself with donated tissue. But, all of this will not recreate the look of the areola. That is where nipple tattooing comes in.
The Nipple Tattoo
Women have a ring of color around the nipple itself, known as the areola. With breast reconstruction, the surgeon can get the shape and position of the nipple to match the remaining natural breast. But, he cannot recreate the areola color and shape. That is the job of a specially trained tattoo artist (like nationally renowned artist Vinnie Myers, featured in the video above).
The artist's goal is to replicate, as closely as possible, the natural color and shape of the areola. He does this by using a variety of colors and different techniques to create a natural, almost 3-D effect. The results can be quite convincing.
Now, some patients choose to go another route. Instead of replicating the appearance of a natural nipple, they choose different shapes and colors instead. It becomes a badge of honor.
The choice to go through breast reconstruction is one that only the patient can make. Education is the best way to make that choice. If you have any questions about breast reconstruction and what the results may be, it is best to talk with a professional. Give the offices of Proffer Surgical Associates in Amarillo, Texas, a call. We can recommend a local or nationally renowned tattoo artist for you to contact in consideration for your recreated areolas.