Breast Reconstruction/ Areola Tattoo
Breast reconstruction surgery is designed to restore the natural form to a patient’s breast(s) following mastectomy for cancer. Breast reconstruction allows a cancer patient to feel whole again and is an important step toward recovery both mentally and physically. This surgery can be performed at the same time as the mastectomy or at a later date.
There are several options for reconstruction. One option is to use an implant, either immediately, or following expansion of the breast skin. Another option is to use a patient’s own tissues from the lower abdomen or from the back. Each of these options has specific advantages. A decision is made following a comprehensive consultation to find out the your individual goal and desires.
The finishing touch to breast reconstruction is having your nipple areola tattooed. Tattooing is a simple, fast procedure. If you are matching a new nipple areola to the existing breast, we can mix various colors and shades to get the correct pigment. If you have had bilateral reconstructions, we can use your preoperative photos to recreate the nipple color, or you can pick a new color that you like against your skin tones. The pigment will fade in time, just like a regular tattoo. Getting just the right shade of color may require more than one tattoo procedure.
If you have had a breast implant and regained some breast skin sensation, you may need local anesthesia. Most patients with flap reconstruction have little sensation. After drawing the outline of the areola, we will place the tattooing instrument against your breast. You may feel a pushing and vibrating sensation, as many small needles transfer pigment into your skin. The entire process can take as little as fifteen minutes.