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Nipple Tattoo For Cancer Patients

What Can You Expect From The Procedure

Medical tattoo artist restores confidence by recreating nipples for breast cancer survivors

Luckily, the 3D tattoo procedure is quite simple. Your doctor can confirm your timeline, but you can typically get the tattoos about 4-6 months after your surgery.


When you first meet your artist, they will first consult with you to determine your desired color, size, and placement. This is your opportunity to share with them any preferences or even show them photos of your desired result. They will create a temporary drawing on the area so you know what to expect.

The plan will depend on your scar placement and the thickness of the scar tissue. Some women also only need one nipple tattooed. In these cases, the artist will design a nipple that matches the existing nipple and restore symmetry.

The Procedure

When you come in for the procedure, wear a loose bra or camisole that can keep your bandages in place afterward.

The artist will confirm the plan once again, before beginning by disinfecting the area.

Breast numbness is common after mastectomy, but a topical anesthetic is still applied which will eliminate the rest of the pain. The process is generally not painful.

The tattoo can take about 1-3 hours from beginning to end, typically about 15-30 minutes per nipple. The artist will create dimension with color and shading, and the result will be a very realistic nipple and areola tattoo.

Aftercare and the Healing Process

The procedure is simple and requires no downtime afterward, although you might have to cover the area with a bandage for a week.

Tattoos After Breast Cancer: Know The Facts

Breast cancer survivors often get tattoos to celebrate their recent victory over their disease. They may choose one or more artistic tattoos and, if theyve undergone a mastectomy, can elect to receive tattoos that have the realistic look of nipples.

Tattoos, however, can cause health complications for breast cancer survivors, many of whom are still recovering from the effects of treatment or the disease itself. Before you make that artistic statement on your body, take a closer look at the tattoo-related risks with this guide from Regional Cancer Care Associates.

Prosthetic Nipples And Temporary Nipple Tattoos

Some women find stick-on nipples to be a surprisingly good alternative to nipple reconstruction surgery or nipple tattooing. You may want to try prosthetic nipples if you dont want or cant get nipple reconstruction surgery or a nipple tattoo, are still deciding, or are waiting to finish other procedures first.

Prosthetic nipples are made from soft silicone, and you can put them on and take them off whenever youd like. They are either self-sticking or come with a special skin adhesive that can hold the nipple in place for several days or longer. They look and feel like real nipples and are available in different sizes, colors, and projections.

Two of the best-known brands are:

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    Pink Perfect, which offers ready-made silicone prosthetic nipples in a variety of styles and colors and custom-made ones that are designed to match your natural nipples. The nipples are attached to the breast using adhesive and can be worn in the shower, ocean, or swimming pool.

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    Amoena, which sells readymade silicone prosthetic nipples that are self-sticking and available in four colors and three sizes.

Some insurance companies cover the cost of prosthetic nipples. You will, in most cases, have to submit the claim to your insurance yourself, with a receipt for the prosthetic nipples and a prescription or a letter from your doctor that states that the prosthetic nipples are medically necessary.

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Areola And Nipple Tattoos By Stacie

Want more information about Stacie-Rae or her amazing work? Check her out at , or check out her Facebook page: @ARTareolatattoos

What do you think of nipple tattoos? Please share your opinion below.

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  • I Cannot Stress This Part Enough

    Tattoo artist inks nipples on self as practice for cancer ...

    Please bring a prescription/clearancefrom your physician to your appointment, and any reimbursement forms required by your insurance company/H.S.A account to be filled out. I can provide you with paperwork to turn in for POSSIBLE insurance reimbursement. I NEVER guarantee your insurance company will reimburse you or to what amount. I am NOT a participating provider with ANY insurance company so, I’m considered out of network. I also do NOT do any prior authorizations with insurance because I am not a participating provider with any insurance company. **** Starting in 2021**** I will fill out OhioHealthy prior authorization forms and fax them in for approval. The appointment must take place at the Bing or Dublin Cancer Centers. The approval is good for 30 days from the date set for your appointment.if it expires due to rescheduling on YOUR PART, I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CALL THEM FOR EXTENTIONS.

    It is your responsibility to call and find out what they require for your plan. After your tattoo, I am happy to send in my procedure documentation and a letter written on your behalf to your insurance company if requested, to aid in your reimbursement.

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    Does A Breast Tattoo Hurt

    Breast numbness after a mastectomy is common, so most people feel little to no pain when getting a nipple tattoo after a mastectomy.

    Mastectomy significantly reduces sensation in the breasts, as nerves are cut during the surgery. If you have nipple reconstruction, your new nipple wont have any sensation.

    Women with implants also experience less sensation, even if they have a skin-sparing or nipple-sparing mastectomy.

    How much a nipple tattoo hurts, if at all, varies from person to person. Everyone is different.

    The cost of nipple tattoos varies among artists and aestheticians. Location is also a factor.

    Based on internet research, one nipple tattoo costs around $400 . Most artists appear to offer a slightly lower rate per nipple if youre having both tattooed.

    Other than buying antibiotic ointment, there shouldnt be any other expenses outside of the tattoo. No downtime is required, so you wont need to take time off work for recovery.

    Nipple tattoos are covered by some insurance plans if you meet certain criteria. A tattoo artist can provide you with a receipt that you can then submit to your insurance company.

    Unless you have your tattoo done by a healthcare professional, directly billing the insurance company isnt possible.

    Insurance plans, coverage, and criteria for coverage vary among providers, so youll need to check with yours.

    Tattoo Artist Creates 3d Nipples For Breast Cancer Survivors

    A Baltimore-area tattoo artist is making a name for himself inking 3D nipples onto the chests of breast cancer survivors.

    For many women, Vinnie Myers’ tattoo shop in a nondescript strip mall in Finksburg, Md. is the very last stop of a “physically and emotionally taxing” journey.

    “I’m the last person they see in that big battle,” Myers told the Daily News. “They need nothing else. They beat it, they’re done.”

    As one of his customers put it, the nipple and areola tattoos are “the icing on the cake.”

    Lillie Shockney, a nurse at Baltimore’s John Hopkins Breast Center, went to Myers after she saw his work on one of her patients.

    When he was done, “he turned my chair so I could see what I looked like in the mirror, and I burst into tears because they truly look real,” she told the Daily News.

    Typically in the breast reconstruction process, a nurse or physician’s assistant does the dermal abrasion that creates the appearance of nipples and areolas.

    When Shockney had it done about ten years ago, she had three colors to choose from: light tan, dark brown or salmon.

    “I don’t think anyone’s breasts should be referred to as fish, but that was the most common color,” she said.

    Shockney chose salmon, and the result “looked like two pancakes.”

    While color options have since improved, it’s hard to match Myers’ decades of experience in color-matching and shading.

    He does about 4 to 5 nipple and areola tattoos a day, 5 days a week.

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    Nipple Tattoo After Mastectomy

    Unlike traditional nipple tattooing performed by medical aestheticians in a plastic surgeons office to add color and create an areola around a reconstructed nipple, 3-D tattoos are often used instead of reconstruction.

    These permanent nipple tattoos are designed and performed by tattoo artists in shops and in some specialized medical centers. Some aestheticians are now also offering 3-D nipple tattoos using a semi-permanent technique similar to that used for microblading eyebrows.

    The practitioner uses an oscillating tattoo needle coated with pigment. The pigment is inserted into the skin to create the appearance of a nipple.

    Heres what you can expect when you go for a nipple tattoo:

    Scalp Micropigmentation Hair Loss Treatment For Women

    Breast cancer tattoos offer unique option for patients going through breast reconstruction

    Women can often suffer distressing hair loss or thinning hair. This can commonly happen after cancer treatment and chemo. When hair grows back it may not be as thick as it was. Visible scalp and receding temples and crown are common. Medication, stress and hormonal imbalance can also take its toll.

    Scalp Micropigmentation implants tiny dots of pigment into the scalp to give the appearance of follicles. It makes the appearance of the scalp less obvious through the hair and makes the hair appear to be thicker and more dense.

    Whilst many Scalp Micropigmentation services are aimed at men, as a hair loss sufferer myself I understand the impact this can have on women. Im pleased to be able to offer this service in my studio in order to help women regain confidence after their medical treatment.

    Ways in which Scalp Micropigmentation may help women include

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    D Nipple & Areola Tattoo

    Areola re-pigmentation and 3D nipple tattoos are a specialty area of medical tattooing, it is an art form. Nipple tattoos can help improve the appearance of both women and men who have undergone breast surgery. 3D nipple tattooing techniques create a natural looking breast after reconstruction surgery.

    Areola color to enchanted and correct light colored or misshapen areola. With areola color tattooing we can create more balance and symmetry.

    Camouflage tattoo to help to hide scars from Augmentation or Reduction surgeries. To match color on flap or other scars.

    Body Art with 3D nipple or instead of 3D If you are looking for a bit of fun to add to your reconstruction, we create custom body art designs to hide mastectomy scars, ranging from a small survivor ribbon to a full size bra, and everything in between.

    Do I Want My Nipple To Project

    Sometimes a womans natural nipple can be preserved and reattached after a mastectomy. Thats definitely one way to achieve natural-looking results and retain a sense of familiarity with your body. But nipple preservation is not always possible, and it may be that a woman wants to change how her nipple looks anyway.

    If thats the case, and a projection is important, then a plastic surgeon can create a projection using your own tissue. The reconstructed nipple will likely collapse a bit after surgery, and if two were reconstructed, they may do so unevenly. So if symmetry is important, reconstructed nipples do pose some risks, and there will likely to be little if any sensation in the reconstructed breast and nipple . But breasts and nipples are rarely 100% symmetrical to begin with so a bit of asymmetry should not be too concerning. If you want to create a colored areola, you can opt for nipple tattooing .

    Or, if youre looking for less of a commitment while you make your final decision, try stick-on nipples! The downside is that stick-ons may come off when you dont want them to, but if you dont like the color or the placement, just peel them off and try again! Stick-ons are a great option if youre not ready for a long-term nipple relationship.

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    Benefits Of 3d Nipple Tattoos

    After a mastectomy, patients have the option to follow it with surgical breast reconstruction. The mastectomy often removes the nipple, and the reconstruction focuses on the size and shape of the breast. After breast cancer, many women simply dont have nipples.

    Compared With Nipple Reconstruction Surgery

    Nipple reconstruction is a surgical alternative to 3D nipple tattoos. However, nipple reconstructive surgery is intimidating to many breast cancer survivors. After a long battle with breast cancer and overcoming many surgeries and hospital stays, the prospect of another surgery is daunting.

    Nipple reconstruction involves either skin grafts or folding the skin on the breast to form a new nipple. Although the procedure is typically outpatient, nipple reconstruction surgery is still invasive and more costly than 3D nipple tattoos. There can also be more risks to the procedure.


    The greatest benefit to tattoos after a mastectomy is increased confidence. After the battle with cancer and breast reconstruction, the completion of the nipple tattoo marks the final phase of healing.

    The tattoo can be likened to the period at the end of a sentence. It is the last stage in recovery and marks the completion of the fight and an end to the harrowing experience.

    Without nipples, many breast cancer survivors feel incomplete and lack body confidence. It can result in feeling like less of a woman.

    One Thing That Sets You Apart From Other Tattoo Artists Or Surgeons Who Perform Areola And Nipple Tattoos Is That You Have Actually Had A Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy So You Understand How It Feels To Go Through This Process What Piece Of Advice Would You Give To Women About To Undergo Surgery Or Considering An Areola Tattoo

    Breast Cancer Survivor Opts for Ornate Tattoo Instead of ...

    SW: Yes, I have had a mastectomy and know firsthand how horrible it is to have your chest torn apart and left scarred. We try so hard to downplay how terrifying it actually is, and most tattooists have no idea what their clients have actually faced. I have a lot of women asking for advice but it really comes down to: do what feels right for you. We know whats right for us, deep down inside. The trick is to trust our gut and stop second-guessing ourselves. Either way you approach a mastectomy, it’s no party!

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    What Are The Risks Of Getting A Tattoo

    For anyone getting a tattoo the biggest risk is from dirty needles that can spread diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Tattoo artists should always use sterile equipment and fresh needles.

    Other risks include:

    • Infection see below
    • Allergy to pigment this is very rare but some studios do offer a patch test before a tattoo
    • its possible to get tattoos removed but its expensive and can be very painful. Theres also no guarantee that a tattoo can be completely removed.
    • The colour fading the pigment will naturally fade over time. To reduce initial fading avoid swimming, sunbathing, using a sunbed or doing exercise that makes you sweat for two weeks after having a tattoo. You can use a high factor sunscreen on your tattoo to help reduce fading

    The tattooed area will be swollen, red and may itch but this should go away over time. You may also have some bruising to the area.

    If any redness or swelling doesnt go away and you develop a high temperature or feel feverish you may have an infection. If you think you have an infection contact your GP, nearest urgent care centre or A& E as soon as possible as you may need antibiotics.

    What Originally Got You Interested In Nipple And Areola Tattoos

    SW: I had been tattooing for 15 years when cancer came into my life. I was excited at what tattooing could do for people who have gone through so much trauma. I was also excited at a new challenge and a chance to “use my powers for good instead of ‘evil’ ” hehehe. I was looking for a challenge, and this is the most challenging work I’ve ever done.

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    Walking A Fine Line With His Visitors

    Myers does not bear any visible tattoos. Every morning he arrives to work in a dress shirt and tie, wing tip shoes, and what has become his signature, a pork pie hat. He has about 150 of them, and the low-rise, short-brim hats help cap his long face and 6-foot-4 frame.

    Human and animal skulls and face masks from Asia, Africa and the South Pacific decorate his office shelves and wall, along with breast cancer-related posters and family photographs. A photo frame filled with autographed concert memorabilia from the Grateful Dead, with whom he used to travel as the bands tattoo artist, hangs by the door.

    We wanted it to look more like an anthropologists office than a tattoo shop, he said. I didnt want it to be too soft, but we did take away the more edgy, harder décor that we had. We just wanted to soften things a little bit to make it easier on the ladies, because they can be very apprehensive coming in here.

    For most of those ladies, their visit to Myers also will be their first inside a tattoo parlor.

    Little Vinnies Tattoo sits at the end of a modest strip mall next to a vet practice and liquor store in Finksburg, Maryland, about a 40-minute drive from Baltimore. Women from all 50 states and about 40 countries including Brazil, Kuwait, Japan and New Zealand have travelled to get tattoos from Myers. Many heard about him from friends with breast cancer and, increasingly, from plastic surgeons who have seen his work.

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