Breast reconstruction surgery is designed to restore the volume and shape of the breast after mastectomy. Some women may be candidates for nipple-sparing mastectomy but in many cases, this part of the breast must be removed. To complete the reconstruction and restore the aesthetic unit of the nipple and areola, women have the option to choose from 3D nipple and areola tattoos vs nipple reconstruction followed by tattooing of the areola pigment.
3D nipple and areola tattoos are done by a professional tattoo artist that specializes in this trade. ‘Before’ photos are reviewed, and careful consideration is given to the color selection, size and placement of the nipple and areola. The pigment is then applied in the form of a tattoo with additional shading techniques to create the appearance of a 3D nipple. This means that in the mirror, the visual aesthetic unit of a nipple is present, but to the touch, the breast is smooth and flat.
Nipple reconstruction followed by NAC tattoos involves a minor procedure of nipple reconstruction that can be done at the time of breast reconstruction, in combination with a second stage revision, or alone as an office procedure. The procedure involves cutting and suturing a small amount of skin into the shape of a nipple with proper placement and symmetry on the breast mound. After this reconstructed nipple has healed, tattoo pigment can be applied to restore the color and shape of the areola. This results in restoration of the visual aesthetic unit of the nipple and areola, as well as the physical projection of a nipple. It is important to note that a nipple reconstruction does not have sensation and will always remain erect.
These procedures are not mandatory but encouraged to achieve the most optimal and the most natural aesthetic result. If you have questions, please consult your breast reconstruction experts of Austin, North Texas and Oklahoma at Breast Reconstruction Associates. You may also find it helpful to review some of our before and after photos. The surgery and completion details are indicated for each photo.