MUSC Advanced Breast Reconstruction program

3D Areola Tattoo

The areola tattoo – the finishing touch to breast reconstruction – can be completed in the clinic setting as soon as six weeks after nipple reconstruction. If you have a breast implant and have regained some breast skin sensation, you may need local anesthetic. Most patients with flap reconstruction have little sensation and do not need any anesthetic. During the procedure, you may feel a pushing and vibrating sensation, as many small needles transfer pigment into your skin.

Our nipple tattoo artist is a fully licensed esthetician. In addition, she completed a two-year apprenticeship from which she received advanced training in the paramedical aspect of permanent makeup. She now specializes in 3D nipple and areola tattooing for breast cancer survivors. She will consult with you to make sure that you get the areola color, size, shape and placement that you desire.

If you had both breasts removed during mastectomy, she can use photos taken beforehand to recreate the nipple color, or you can pick a new color that you like against your skin tones. If you are matching a new nipple areola to the existing breast, she will mix various colors and shades to get the correct pigment.

It is harder to match what is natural when one breast has been removed than it is to create two new matching areolas. However, with her superior artistic ability, she can replicate the look of the unaffected breast on the newly constructed breast for unbelievable, natural-looking results.

Because tattoos do fade with time, a touch up may be required later on.

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