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Call To Schedule a Consultation: 760.637.52883144 El Camino Real Suite 200
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Nipple Tattooing

Schedule your nipple tattooing consultation at Iconic Plastic Surgery

What is nipple tattooing?

After breast reconstruction, you may have many options for nipple reconstruction. Nipple reconstruction is done after the reconstructed breast has had time to heal. This is usually at least 3 or 4 months after reconstruction surgery. You have two options for nipple reconstruction. You can have the nipple rebuilt and then tattooed with color, or you can have a three-dimensional tattoo that looks like a nipple.

Why should I get a nipple tattooing treatment?

Instead of using tissue to rebuild a nipple, some women choose to have a nipple tattooed on the reconstructed breast. 3-D nipple tattoos achieve the most realistic results. This technique uses real tattoos that use oscillating needles coated with pigment. The needles insert the pigment into the skin. Our artists can use a wide range of colors and one session is usually all that’s needed. These tattoos are permanent and usually don’t fade. The 3-D nipple tattooing can be used to create new nipples and to color-correct previous nipple tattoos that have faded or have undesirable colors.

What to expect during the treatment

When the actual tattooing takes place, a small sterile needle is secured into the tattoo gun, and the motor is started. Tattoo ink loads differently depending on the type of tattoo gun used. Some instruments might require dipping the ink directly into the ink dispenser before application, while others have a preloaded ink cartridge inserted into the gun itself. The aesthetician will then pass a tattoo needle into the nipple area while small amounts of ink are injected or “tapped” into the skin (top dermis layer). You may feel different sensations depending on your age, pain tolerance, or skin type.

After completing one side, the artist will give you a chance to view the work with a handheld mirror. You will be given a chance to communicate with her and give your input. In total, the entire procedure should take about 1-2 hours.

What to expect after the procedure

We will provide you with healing ointment and gauze dressings. Our artist will teach you how to care for your new nipple. She may ask you to change your dressings twice daily or more frequently if needed for the first few days. It is also advised that you keep the nipple areola tattoo moist with ointment. In order to minimize the risk of agitating the tattoo, some women choose to avoid wearing bras or shirts while at home in the early period after tattooing. Over the course of several weeks, the tattoo will heal completely and the true color will be revealed. If the color is not ideal, an additional nipple areola tattooing session can be used to achieve the color you desire.

Don’t be surprised if the tattoo looks dark. The brand new ink from a fresh tattoo will appear extremely dark. The pigment will lighten and settle into the appropriate shade over time. You may experience some swelling, redness, or skin sensitivity for about 1-2 days. Your artist may suggest an over the counter pain reliever. Exposures to sunlight, swimming pools, or saunas should be decreased.

How long will the results last?

A touch up session after 4-6 weeks is necessary as everyone heals differently and outcomes will vary. Certain areas may not pick up during first session and will need to be refilled. Pigment color may need to be adjusted and more strokes can be added. Individuals with oily skin often require a deeper shade during the touch up session as the oils tend to lighten the pigment. Most importantly, your touch up session is when we refine your nipples to ensure they look natural and retain their color.

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