What is Areola Restoration & 3D Areola Tattooing?
This advanced tattoo technique is also known as micropigmentation (CLICK HERE to see a full image – must be 18+ to view). Areola/nipple repigmentation is used to create realistic, or 3D, looking nipples and areolas for breast reconstruction survivors after a mastectomy affecting both men and women. There are many instances in which patients choose tattoo repigmentation for their nipple/areola complex. After breast reconstruction, some clients make the choice to have the nipple surgically created. With a trained tattoo artist, the surgically created nipple can be repigmented or tattooed, as well as create a natural looking areola to compliment your skin undertone. However, it is not uncommon for these same surgically created nipples to flatten out over time, losing dimension and color.
Again, areola tattoo repigmention is beneficial to complete the look of a natural nipple/areola complex. Most patients who choose tattoo areola restoration or nipple tattooing do so because they are not interested in additional surgeries. This leads to another great reason as to why clients choose to have their nipple/areola complex repigmented, or tattooed. In this case, where there is not a nipple, then a 3 dimensional nipple can be created by a professionally trained tattoo artist to give reconstructed skin the “illusion” of protrusion.
Long ago artists used a technique called “Trompe l’oeil” which literally means to “deceive the eye”. Trompe l’oeil uses specialized painting techniques to create an optical illusion that depicts objects to appear 3 dimensional and realistic. Master artists used great skill in manipulating how the eye “sees” light and shadow with paint strokes and stippling. Today, the same principle is used by tattoo specialists by tattooing on a 2 dimensional surface (skin in this case) to create a natural, realistic looking, 3 dimensional areola and nipple using tattoo pigments. These tattoo techniques are delicate, specialized work and should only be attempted by tattoo artists with advanced training in Areola and 3D repigmentation. Still, some patients have chosen repigmentation after breast procedures, such as breast augmentation or breast reduction, where the areolas are no longer symmetrical or have lost their natural color. While some clients are simply looking to have their natural areolas lightened or darkened as a preference. With this being said there are many patients who find having nipple/areola repigmentation helps them return to a sense of normalcy to their body and sense of self.
It is Your Decision!
Regardless of your choice to have your nipple/areola complex repigmented, or not, the decision is yours. You are now in control of what you would like to do. For those that do choose tattooing, many consider this the final step in their breast reconstruction story. Tattoos can be a powerful and victorious return for women (and men) who have survived breast cancer. If you should choose tattooing as your option, there are many things to consider.