Restoration of the nipple and areola after mastectomy

Many women opt for breast reconstruction after mastectomy and as part of this process choose to have the nipple and areola (the pigmented area surrounding the nipple) created to complete the breast reconstruction.

The thought of further surgery to reconstruct the nipple and areola, for some, is too much to contemplate and they opt for cosmetic tattooing as an alternative method of creating a realistic looking result.

How is the medical tattooing procedure performed?

The consultation

To successfully reduce the appearance of the scar the consultant will need to create multiple blends of pigment to recreate the tonal variances of normal skin.

The consultant will carry out 2-3 microscopic color match tests in the scar using the medical tattooing technique. The test areas will develop over a month giving a realistic impression of how the scar will appear once it is treated.

A choice of colors that achieve authentic results

If only one breast has been reconstructed, to create the most natural looking result, pigments are custom blended to match the existing nipple and areola.

For bilateral reconstruction pigments in an array of peach, rose, beige or brown hues can be chosen to duplicate the colors of an authentic nipple and areola.

The pigment infusion process

Prior to the medical tattooing process topical anesthetics are applied to the skin to reduce the prickling sensation felt during the procedure.

The consultant infuses the pigments into the scar creating a series of minute points of color that form the subtle color variations found in natural skin.

Each pigment infusion session normally takes 60 minutes and will require multiple treatment sessions for larger scars.

Post procedure

Post procedure care is simple. Patients need to apply an antiseptic cream twice daily and keep the nipple and areola covered with sterile gauze for two days.

A follow up procedure is normally required after a four week period to allow final adjustments to be made to the shape and color of the nipple and areola and this is included in the initial cost.

Scar camouflage after breast surgery

To improve the appearance of post-surgical scarring around the circumference of the areola due to breast reduction or breast uplift surgery, custom matched pigments are infused through the areola outward into the scar tissue to camouflage the scar.

Aesthetic appearance

For men and women who have areolas that are too small, asymmetrical and too pale or without definition cosmetic tattooing can achieve a balanced shape, even coloring and clarity.

Scar camouflage

Light colored scars can be camouflaged long term using medical tattooing treatments, during which skin colored pigments are infused into the scar tissue to minimize its appearance.

For optimum results scars should be minimally one year old and should be paler in color than the surrounding skin.

Medical tattooing is suitable for camouflaging scars on people of all nationalities.

Not all scar tissue however, is suitable for treatment

Medical tattooing is not a suitable solution for all scarring. Notably, if scars are hyper-pigmented (dark in color); are noticeably raised or sunken; or have an uneven texture the treatment may be ineffective as these scar types have poor pigment retention capabilities.

The most suitable scars to treat with medical tattooing are those that are the result of a clean cut, especially if the scars are the result of surgery – for example a facelift or breast remodeling.

It is important that the medical tattoo treatment is carried out when the skin is not tanned as the success of the treatment is dependent on the correct skin tone pigments being selected to achieve a look that ‘merges’ into the natural skin color.

If tanned skin is color matched and the tan fades, the infused pigment will not, leaving a noticeable demarcation between the healthy skin and the treated scar tissue.

The reverse is also a consideration and clients must accept that sun exposure must be minimal once the scar has been camouflaged.