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Intradermal colouration

After all the surgery of a breast reconstruction is completed (this may include a nipple reconstruction and/or surgery to the other breast to make it match the new breast better), your doctor may suggest that you have a procedure to introduce some colour to the nipple and/or its surrounds (the areola).

This process may involve intradermal colouration – otherwise known as tattooing. Natural-looking pigments are used, so don’t worry, you won’t end up with a fluoro-green nipple!

Areola Tattoo FAQs

What is an areola tattoo?
After a mastectomy and breast reconstruction, there is no colour around the newly-made nipple (if one is made). Tattooing can be used to approximate the look of the pinker tissue which is normally forming the nipple and its surrounds – the areola.
How does areola repigmentation help people after breast surgery?
With colour in the nipple and areolar complex, the look approaches that of a natural breast and this improves the body-confidence of those who have undergone quite major surgery.
How long does an areola tattoo procedure take?
It usually takes about half and hour to discuss and perform the procedure with a review and perhaps a touch-up of colour after a few weeks.
Will areola tattoo treatment hurt?
Often the area is already numb from surgery but additional local anaesthesia is applied which also constricts blood vessels temporarily during the procedure.
What to expect during areola tattoo treatment?
The proposed outline is marked on the new breast so you can see where it will be and the size. The aim is to make it as symmetric with the other, unoperated side and as appropriate for the new breast as possible. If both sides need to be done, symmetry is again aimed for, however even unoperated breasts will differ between the sides. A colour is selected to approximate the other side, of if both sides need to be done, a colour to suit your skin tone is selected. You will see and approve the colour before the procedure begins. Local anaesthesia is injected and then the procedure begins. You may feel some vibration. A dressing is applied after the procedure.
How long will the tattoo last?
The tattoo is not permanent. Darker colours usually last longer before needing to be touched up but they all fade over time. Those with very pale colouring may need touching up every year or two whereas others will last several years.
What after care should I take?
A dressing will be applied after the treatment and this may be removed for showering. Reapply a dressing if the area is a bit moist. Think of it as a gravel rash and treat is as such. A thin, scaly scab will form and this should be allowed to shed naturally. Keep the area clean. Protect it from trauma (clothes rubbing) and the sun.

What to expect during a consultation

  1. Consultations are personal and confidential.
  2. Depending on the treatment you are interested in we will ask you some questions to ensure that you are safe to proceed
  3. We discuss your areas of concern with you and advise you of the most appropriate treatments for you
  4. Our fully qualified staff will answer all of your questions and arrange with you, your personalised treatment plan
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