3D Nipple Tattoo After Breast Reconstruction

By Ravi Tandon, M.D. on May 18, 2019

A woman examining her breastsDuring a mastectomy and breast reconstruction surgery, the nipple is often removed as part of the procedure. Dr. Ravi Tandon offers nipple reconstruction as part of the reconstructive surgery process, which helps complete the appearance of the breast. There are different ways to go about nipple reconstruction, and we discuss various methods in greater detail at our plastic surgery center serving the New Orleans, LA area.

Nipple and areola tattoos are one popular method many patients consider. Let’s take a moment to consider the use of 3D areola and nipple tattoos and why it may be a good option for you.

What Is a 3D Nipple Tattoo?

A 3D nipple tattoo is a nipple and areola that tattooed on a breast following breast reconstruction surgery. This is a fishing touch on the reconstructive surgery work performed, giving the patient a sense of completion and the appearance of a natural breast once the breast mound is placed.

Do 3D Nipple Tattoos Have Physical Projection?

No.

3D nipple tattoos are flat images that appear three-dimensional, but they are not three-dimensional in a classic sense. A tattoo artist will give the nipple and areola a sense of texture and shading so that it appears as if a real nipple and areola are in place even though it is simply tattooed on.

How Are 3D Nipple Tattoos Created

Our practice works with skilled tattoo artists who specialize in medical tattoos. They have experience creating realistic skin textures and skin tones that mimic the real appearance of the nipple and areola.

The 3D nipple tattoo will be custom created and color matched to help ensure the most realistic results possible. Usually a 3D nipple tattoo takes about half and hour to an hour to create.

Customizing the 3D Nipple Tattoo

While natural nipple and areola tattoos are usually made, it’s also possible for patients to consider custom areola tattoos that have symbolic meaning after their fight with breast cancer or other illnesses and conditions. This might involve heart or star-shaped areolas, and other custom shapes.

If this is some custom shape you are interested in, we can go over these requests during the consultation process.

How Realistic Are 3D Nipple Tattoos?

Quite realistic. While they may not have real texture or projection, 3D areola and nipple tattoos can fool the eye. When looking in a mirror, a patient can experience a greater sense of wholeness. This will reduce self-consciousness and improve body image in the process.

Obviously 3D nipple tattoos with custom shapes may not be realistic. Yet keep in mind that while custom-shaped areola and nipple tattoos may not appear realistic, they can have a lot of emotional benefits for patients.

Additional Options for Nipple Reconstruction

In addition to 3D nipple tattoos, there are prosthetic artificial nipples that can be custom created for a patient. These removable nipples can be placed and removed to achieve a realistic performance with texture and real dimension.

It is also possible to perform a physical nipple reconstruction surgery. This creates a new nipple a few months after the breast reconstruction is performed. An areola can be tattooed around the reconstructed nipple for a realistic restoration of the breast.

Learn More About Breast Reconstruction

For more information about breast reconstruction surgery and what options are available ti restore the appearance of breasts following mastectomy or injury, be sure to contact a skilled cosmetic and reconstructive surgeon. The team at Tandon Plastic Surgery is here to help. You can reach us by phone at (504) 455-1000.

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