Once a nipple reconstruction has been performed, the patient usually elects to have the nipple areola tattooed. This is a simple procedure carried out by a trained micropigmentation nurse practitioner. Our nurse has extensive experience in the care of patients who have undergone breast reconstruction.
If one (unilateral) breast has been reconstructed then the tattoo can match the various colours and shades from the nipple areola area of the existing breast, or they can both be tattooed to make them identical in colour. This is particularly useful if the existing areolar is very pale. In the case of a bilateral breast reconstruction, tattooing is guided by images taken prior to surgery. As with all tattoos, fading can occur over time and therefore further tattoo sessions are to be expected so that the ideal look is maintained. Even without a nipple reconstruction, each tattoo can still offer the look of a nipple areola area with a 3-D appearance.
Tattooing normally takes half an hour or so. Local anaesthetic cream (EMLA) is applied beforehand to ensure the skin is numb. The results will not be apparent for a number of days until the tattooed area has settled down and healed.