Following breast reconstruction, you’ll likely have a flattering and natural-looking breast profile. However, if you were not a candidate for a nipple-sparing mastectomy, you may not feel entirely complete after your reconstructive surgery. In that situation, recreating the appearance of the nipple-areola complex through 3D tattooing may be right for you.
Board certified plastic surgeon Ricardo A. Meade is passionate about helping women feel confident. To learn more about 3D nipple tattooing, please call 214.823.1691 to schedule a consultation. We have modern offices in Dallas and Plano for the convenience of our Dallas-Fort Worth area patients.
What Are 3D Nipple and Areola Tattoos?
For many women, nipple and areola tattooing is the final step of their breast reconstruction journey. Also known as areola pigmentation, this technique recreates the appearance of the nipple and the surrounding area using long-lasting pigment.
In most cases, the tattoos are created using oscillating needles coated with pigment that deposit color below the surface of the skin. The 3D approach essentially creates a flat picture of a nipple that appears to have dimension and structure. 3D nipple and areola tattooing is known for producing the most realistic looking results compared to other tattooing methods.
Requiring an aesthetic eye and artistic sensibility to create, these 3D tattoos create stunningly realistic outcomes. They are characterized by natural looking shadows, highlights, and color variation. Most importantly, they are entirely customized to align with your skin tone and preferences.
The benefits of 3D nipple tattoos include:
- They look realistic
- They don’t require additional surgery to complete
- They can help camouflage breast scars
- They can often be used to color correct old, faded, or less aesthetic areola pigmentation
- They can restore your confidence and feelings of femininity
Candidates for Nipple Tattoos
Just like the decision to undergo breast reconstruction, pursuing 3D nipple and areola tattoos is a matter of personal preference. Not everyone elects to have their recreated breast or breasts tattooed, but many do.
Most patients are candidates for this technique. However, skin quality is a factor, and damage due to radiation or surgery must be considered. Dr. Meade will gladly evaluate your candidacy during a consultation.
Keep in mind that you must be well-healed after breast reconstruction before receiving 3D nipple tattoos. Similarly, nipple reconstruction is often performed months after breast reconstruction. You have time to consider your options and decide what is best for your situation.
Nipple Tattoos vs. Nipple Reconstruction
If you did not undergo a nipple-sparing mastectomy and wish to restore the look of nipples, you have several options after breast reconstruction. Nipple tattoos and nipple reconstruction are both excellent choices, depending on your candidacy and personal preference. However, it’s important to be aware of the differences between these two approaches.
3D nipple tattoos create the appearance of a realistic nipple and areola on a flat surface. They do not protrude from the skin, even though they appear to through the use of shading. Some women appreciate this since they don’t need to wear thick clothing to cover their nipples. 3D nipple tattoos are an alternative to surgical nipple reconstruction.
Surgical nipple reconstruction involves recreating a protruding nipple. There are several techniques that can be used to create the nipple out of living tissue, including reconstructing it from the surrounding skin or another area of the body. Keep in mind that these nipples do not have sensation, and they do not contract like natural nipples. However, some women prefer the protruding look and feel.
Many women choose to have their reconstructed nipples tattooed. This process adds natural-looking color variation and the appearance of areolas.