How tattoos can help recreate the breast after mastectomy

How tattoos can help recreate the breast after mastectomy
How tattoos can help recreate the breast after mastectomy

There are several factors to consider when choosing the proper elements to utilize during breast reconstructive surgery. Patients and doctors work together to choose the ideal look best suited for one's lifestyle, but women and their surgeons must also choose the proper method by which they should recreate the nipple. 

Like any other cosmetic procedure, there are several ways patients can achieve their desired results. When reconstructing the areola, some surgeons may opt for grafting or skin transplants, but others prefer tattooing - or using ink to recreate a 2-D image that resembles the nipple. This method can not only provide patients with an accurately pigmented shade, but may also require less time under the knife than procedures that reconstruct the nipple. 

3-D technique may create more realistic tattooed nipples
Patients who chose the tattoo option on its own may have a two-dimensional inking on their breasts. This option may require one or two tattoos to ensure the pigment and shape are perfect, but typically requires less time spent in the operating room. Additionally, patients should pay close attention to the healing process following the procedure. Women should be sure to treat the area as if it were any other tattoo, catering to the dressing and wound to ensure the tattoo does not become misshapen. The area should heal within several weeks, and provide a 2-D nipple image.

Women who are seeking the tattoo option on its own should speak to their surgeon about the possibility of receiving a 3-D nipple tattoo. Certain tattoo artists are capable of creating more realistic images, and while the reconstructed area may not have the same texture as it once did, a 3-D option may create a more realistic display. By using different colors and shades, an artists could add depth, coloring and cover scarring. This option is expected to gain in popularity as more surgeons explore techniques that may yield the most successful results.

Alternative options for nipple reconstruction
For those who are seeking a complete nipple reconstruction, there are several options available. While some women have the option of leaving the nipple and areola intact after mastectomy, other women will have to graft tissues from another part of the body, such as chest or thigh, reconstructed to recreate the physical shape of the nipple. The area will not experience the same sensations, but it will look realistic, as surgeons frequently use nipple tattooing to fill in the color of the area afterwards.

You can find more information about breast reconstruction, nipple reconstruction and the options that are available in the Procedures Section on Smart Beauty Guide.