Cost and how to get a tattoo

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Nipple-areola tattoo is a procedure in which a tattoo artist or plastic surgeon recreates the nipple and areola after breast reconstruction surgery.

Nipple reconstruction involves recreating a nipple using small pieces of skin from the reconstructed breast. A few months later, a surgeon can recreate the areola using tattoo ink.

Those who don’t want to undergo nipple reconstruction can opt for a realistic image of a nipple by a tattoo artist.

Even if some people believe that nipple reconstruction, whether surgical or tattooed, is an important step forward, others are not. Ultimately, the choice is entirely up to the individual.

This article explains what a 3D nipple-areola tattoo is, the benefits and risks of getting one, and aftercare and recovery tips.

Nipple-areola tattoo is a cosmetic procedure to help recreate an individual’s nipple.

Although nipple reconstruction is a popular choice for many, some people may decide to have their permanent 3D nipple tattoos instead.

An experienced tattoo artist can create very realistic nipple images. These tattoos will appear in 3D but will be flat to the touch.

For those who have had a unilateral mastectomy, it is possible to match the color, shape and texture of the existing nipple.

This procedure usually follows breast reconstruction surgery, but some people may use tattooing after nipple reconstruction surgery to add color or make their new nipple (s) more realistic.

The nipple tattoo offers a less invasive alternative to surgery.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests waiting 3-4 months after breast reconstruction surgery to get nipple reconstruction or nipple tattoos. This will give the new breast (s) time to heal properly.

It may be necessary to have a visual consultation with the tattoo artist to allow them to confirm that the skin has healed sufficiently.

If a person has known allergies, they may need to have a skin allergy test 24 hours before the procedure. This involves applying a small amount of pigment to the skin and seeing whether or not there is a reaction.

On the day of the procedure, the person should arrive with clean skin. Also, the tattoo artist may ask them to avoid applying moisturizer the night before or the morning of the procedure.

They may also recommend that the person wear a loose shirt that opens up the front. Some facilities may provide robes or bathrobes for people to change into.

The tattoo artist can ask the person to sign a consent form or to fill out a health questionnaire beforehand.

One person can expect the whole date to take 1-2 hours.

Before tattooing, the tattoo artist will discuss the colors, location and size with the person being tattooed.

If the person has one of their natural nipples, the artist will match their size and color. If the person has had both nipples removed, it may be beneficial to bring a pre-surgery photo.

To determine the color, they will look at a palette of pigments, including varieties of pinks, browns, purples, tans, and beiges.

After mixing the pigments, the tattoo artist will apply a small amount to the skin so that the person can see how they look in different lights.

To help decide on the placement, the tattoo artist can use a silicone nipple. They will then draw marks to show the location, shape and size of the new areola.

It may take about 30 minutes to tattoo a nipple.

Once the procedure is complete, the artist will apply a bandage to the tattoo. It usually takes 7-10 days for a nipple tattoo to heal. However, for thinner skin it may take up to a minute to heal. a few weeks.

After the tattoo is complete, the color is usually darker and more intense. The tattoo will lighten slightly as it heals. However, after 1-2 months there should be no more color change.

Following the tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions will help the tattoo heal faster.

While recovering, a person should avoid chlorinated swimming pools, tubs, hot tubs, and direct sunlight. People can also apply antibacterial ointment to the area to prevent infection.

The reconstructed breast will not feel the same as before the mastectomy. As a result, the tattoo is generally not painful.

However, some people may experience mild discomfort or pain.

A person may choose to have their nipple tattooed instead of having surgery. This prevents the creation of new scars. In addition, the healing and recovery process is easier than that of nipple reconstruction.

Some people find that the results are better than if they had had nipple reconstruction surgery. This is because the tattoo can include fine details, colors, and shading which can look more realistic.

However, just like getting a traditional tattoo, getting a nipple areola tattoo comes with a few risks, which can include:

  • allergic reactions
  • infections
  • granuloma, which is a small area of ​​inflammation
  • keloids, which are raised scars
  • dissatisfaction with the end result

Although the procedure is common and well tolerated, some people may experience a delayed hypersensitivity reaction. This is otherwise known as a delayed allergic reaction.

A person in a 2019 case study had a delayed reaction 7 weeks after the procedure despite no reaction to the allergy skin test.

Someone interested in getting a 3D nipple tattoo should speak to a healthcare professional about any potential risks.

A person can get a nipple tattoo by a member of the staff of a plastic surgeon’s office or by a trained tattoo artist.

Finding an artist who specializes in permanent areola and restoration tattooing is an important first step in getting a nipple areola tattoo.

While some people may have a tattoo artist in mind, others may ask a doctor, surgeon or cancer support group for advice or references.

Once they have found a potential tattoo artist, the person may find it beneficial to ask to see a portfolio of the artist’s work. They can also ask questions about the sterilization practices used by the artist and whether or not they have a private room for the tattoo.

Although the cost of the nipple tattoo varies, the average cost of a tattoo is around $ 350. A person can expect to pay between $ 600 and $ 800 for both nipples.

The Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act (WHCRA) of 1998 requires group health plans and individual health insurance policies that provide mastectomy coverage to pay for all stages of reconstructive surgery. This includes any additional procedures that a person may need to treat other complications.

Health Insurance often covers nipple areola tattoo, while Medicaid coverage varies from state to state. Insurance may not cover nipple tattooing if a freelance tattoo artist performs the procedure.

A person may not be eligible for a nipple tattoo if they:

  • have had radiation treatments that damaged the skin
  • having too thin breast skin
  • you have lymphedema involving the chest
  • have a history of infections in the breast area

If a person is unwilling or unable to get a nipple tattoo, other non-invasive options are available. The other types of nipple reconstruction are as follows.

Prosthetic nipples

People who are unable or unwilling to have nipple reconstruction surgery or nipple tattoos may want to try prosthetic or adhesive nipples.

According to ACS, the prosthetic nipples are made of silicone and look like real nipples. Some prosthetic nipples are self-adhesive, while others come with a special adhesive for the skin.

Prosthetic nipples are available in a variety of sizes, colors and projections.

Temporary tattoos on nipples

People who are worried about getting a permanent tattoo can opt for temporary tattoos on the nipples.

Temporary nipple tattoos are easy to apply and can be removed with rubbing alcohol. Temporary nipple tattoos can last 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the brand that a person uses.

Nipple-areola tattoo is a procedure in which a specialist doctor or an experienced tattoo artist recreates the appearance of a person’s natural nipple.

Although flat to the touch, these tattoos appear 3D and lifelike.

Many people choose to have some form of nipple reconstruction, but the choice itself is up to the individual.


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