FAQ

Breast Tattooing

WHY HAVE AREOLA OR 3D TATTOOING?

Medical tattooing for the breast or nipple areola micropigmentation, can be used in the following:

In breast reconstruction patients after a mastectomy, to recreate a natural and realistic appearing nipple areola complex.  This can be done over a nipple reconstruction or without using 3 D tattooing technique .

After other breast procedures, such as breast reduction, where the pigment has been lost or to achieve areola symmetry.

To darken light areola pigment per client preference.

After your surgeon has rebuilt your breast, the tattoo is the finishing step of the reconstruction. It restores a feminine appearance to the breast

If you chose to have a nipple reconstruction procedure, the color is applied to the nipple and surrounding skin to create natural looking areola.

If you chose to avoid additional surgery or have found your previously created nipple has flattened out and is no longer dimensional, then a 3D tattoo is a great option. This type of tattoo is essentially a portrait tattoo of a nipple.  It requires a 3 dimensional illusion to be created on a 2 dimensional surface.  With specialized training, the artist can create a realistic, natural looking nipple and areola using light and shadow techniques.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN EXPERIENCED NURSE IN PLASTIC SURGERY THAT HAS SPECIALIZED TATTOO TRAINING?

I have been tattooing breasts since 2008 and have additional specialized training to provide a beautiful 3 D effect.  

As an experienced plastic surgical nurse, I have been to the OR to see all types of breast reconstructive (TE/ implants, DIEP flaps, LD flaps, and GAP flaps) and cosmetic surgeries (breast reductions, mastopexy, and breast augmentations ) performed. I have done countless tissue expander fills, drain pulls, post-operative wound care and other nursing duties that have made me familiar with the surgery you individually had done.  I understand the special considerations of skin that has been surgically altered, stretched and or radiated. I use my best judgement in assessing if the skin is able to be tattooed safely or not and can communicate with your physician regarding any concerns prior to the tattoo. Your safety is the number one priority to me.

WHEN SHOULD I SCHEDULE MY BREAST TATTOO?

Scheduling should be only after complete healing from any surgery or invasive procedure.I prefer at least 4 months to pass between the last surgery you had on either breast and when I do the tattoo. This allows for healing, sutures to dissolve, scars to mature a bit and settling of the breasts to take place. The tattoo should be the LAST step of your breast reconstruction. It is really the finishing touch.  

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT MY APPOINTMENT?

At your appointment we will discuss your expectations and any concerns you might have.

There is paperwork that will need to be filled out. Items such as; a general health history form, a consent form for treatment and one for photos .

Before and After photos WILL be taken . This is NOT negotiable and is part of your tattoo record. No faces are included. You decide what permission I have to use your photos,  publicly or keep them private.

After care instructions will be reviewed.

THE APPOINTMENT WILL TAKE APPROXIMATELY 2.5-3  HOURS. 

Using the A.R.T. method, it is a two step process, yielding the most natural and painterly results. The first application is done followed by a perfecting session 10 weeks later. Almost like how an artist lays his initial foundation for the painting, and then returns to it later to add the finishing details.   

WHAT IS THE  PROCESS?

Pigment is implanted into the skin by small needles that puncture skin at a high frequency.  The needles leave behind pigment using the same equipment used for body art tattoos.  I use traditional tattoo ink, not cosmetic facial pigment on the breast. The skin heals, creating a natural nipple areola complex tattoo.

Each client will have an in depth consult prior to the tattoo. We will discuss the best color, size and shape and placement of the tattoo. The actual tattooing will take about 30-45 min for unilateral and  60–90 min for bilateral.

The area will have slight redness and feel similar to a sunburn for a few days post procedure.  You will be instructed on aftercare for the area.

 I use traditional tattoo equipment and body art tattoo ink (specifically, Eternal Ink, Fusion Ink, and Starbrite Ink. , &  World Famous Ink - Pink Ribbon Series on the breast. NOT EVERYONE who does breast tattooing does. I encourage you to inquire about this when you call a provider for services.

Eternal Ink information http://www.eternaltattoosupply.com/Ink-Info_ep_47.html

Fusion Ink information

http://lprve.cmqtz.servertrust.com/v/vspfiles/templates/stevenson/pdfs/MSDS.pdf

Starbrite Ink information

http://info.painfulpleasures.com/help-center/msds/starbrite-ink-msds

World famous ink

https://www.worldfamoustattooink.com/vegan-tattoo-ink/

DOES THE TATTOO FADE?

Yes, in varying degrees. Initially, the ink the tattoo will look very bright and darker than the actual ink used, but as skin heals, the skin cells that were damaged from the trauma of the tattooing process,  are shed and replaced by new, pigment-free cells. This is why the color may look less deep and vibrant later on compared to when it was first tattooed. With proper healing and aftercare, your tattoo can look  beautiful for years to come. The tattoo many times is completed in just one sitting however, it certainly CAN require 2 sittings to get things just right.  If needed, additional color applications, are done at either no fee or a reduced fee per tattooer’s discretion,on your Living Story breast tattoo performed within the 1st year.  

Please note,  that if you have applied any type of topical anesthetic cream or ointment to your skin prior to your tattoo, it could change the skin and how it accepts pigment.  This can result in you requiring 2 sessions to achieve full color take on your tattoo.  There will be a reduced sitting fee for the 2nd appointment but there will be much less time involved.

Your tattoo will start to peel in 3-7 days and should be done peeling in 10-14 days typically. I request water restrictions of showering only until you are completely healed.  After 6 weeks, we can determine if your tattoo needs additional color or not.

IS IT SAFE?

Yes, areola/nipple tattooing is safe. No procedure comes without risks involved however, such as allergic reaction to the ink and infection of the skin/ tissue. We will discuss the risks at the time of your appointment.  Single-use disposable needles and disposable cups for pigments are used along with strict aseptic protocols for handwashing and gloves are worn at all times.

Post procedural instructions, should be followed to ensure safe healing.

CAN I GET AN MRI AFTERWARDS?

Please always check with your physician and MRI technician. However,  in the instances where MRI discomfort has resulted, it usually is reported as localized and temporary.

Note: The ink formulas contain minerals.

DOES IT HURT?

Everyone has a different pain tolerance but most patients report it very tolerable. Also, there usually is decreased sensation of the skin to a more or less degree, depending on the type of breast reconstruction you had. Tattooing is a superficial process and afterwards feels comparable to a minor sunburn for a few days. I have numbing cream/ gel if needed.

HOW DO I CARE FOR MY NEW TATTOO?

Aftercare is primarily a matter of keeping the area clean (showers only until healed), no immersing the tattoo in water, avoiding direct and artificial sunlight. You may want to keep that in mind when scheduling your appointment. Do not let the tattoo dry out.  There may be some itching and peeling of the skin for the first week or two. Once healed, your tattoo will be soft and natural looking. Keeping the skin hydrated and using broad spectrum sun protection are key to keeping your tattoo vibrant for years to come. Never apply an acid (AHA) or retinol containing product to the tattoo. It will fade it.

Because tattooing causes trauma to the skin, it may take longer to heal in post radiation treated skin, those with autoimmune disorders or taking immunosuppressive medication, or in diabetics.

See the aftercare instructions you are provided at your appointment.

CAN I BRING A SUPPORT PERSON TO MY APPOINTMENT?

Absolutely- adults only please. Do not bring pets. As always, encouragement and input from friends and loved ones is welcomed during your visit. However,  if disrespectful, intrusive, or distracting behavior occurs during your appointment,  the party  will be asked to leave per artist’s discretion and return when you are ready to be picked up.

IS THERE ANYTHING I NEED TO DO BEFORE MY APPOINTMENT?

You may schedule after you have completely healed from your previous surgeries. I recommend you wait 4 months after your last surgery before having your tattoo. Please bring a prescription/clearance from your physician to your appointment.

Waiting 6 weeks after ceasing chemotherapy or the use of cytotoxic antineoplastic agents and your counts should be within an acceptable range per your physician to have the procedure done. If this is the case, I'd prefer a note clearing you to have the procedure from your physician.

You do not have to stop using immunosuppressive medication but know it can delay/ prolong healing.

If you are Diabetic, your HBA1C must be in a good range and again your condition can prolong healing.

Skin must be completely free of tinted or fake tan lotions.

Do not use recreational drugs or alcohol for 48 hrs prior to procedure.

Also , you must not smoke. Nicotine constricts your vascular system and will impede oxygen necessary to heal your tattoo. I suggest this is abstained from for 3 weeks before and after your sessions.

Make sure you eat on the day of the procedure.

Wear a comfortable, loose fitting clothing top that opens in the front.  That way you can wear it for comfort during your procedure.

It is ok to  wear a bra. It can be helpful with holding the dressing applied afterwards.     

If you take aspirin or an NSAID for aches and pains, I would prefer you use tylenol (if you can tolerate it) as it does not thin the blood, for a few days prior to the tattoo.  However, DO NOT STOP regularly prescribed blood thinning medications from your physician, (aspirin or prescriptions).  The tattoo is a superficial procedure, not an invasive surgery.

 

Pricing

Pricing includes consultation & procedure:

***(INSURANCE COVERAGE for breast reconstruction only : SEE FORMS SECTION)***

I cannot stress this part enough….

I will provide you with paperwork to turn in for POSSIBLE insurance reimbursement. I NEVER guarantee your insurance company will reimburse you or to what amount. I am NOT a participating provider with ANY insurance company so, I'm considered out of network.  I also do NOT do any prior authorizations with insurance because I am not a participating provider with any insurance company.

It is your responsibility to call and find out what they require for your plan. After your tattoo, I am happy to send in my procedure documentation and a letter written on your behalf to your insurance company if  requested, to aid in your reimbursement.  

  • Areola Reconstructive –
    • Unilateral reconstructed breast only $350.
      • Note: If you start out doing just the reconstructed side and return later for the other breast- 2nd appointment $150. If it is suggested to do the native breast as well on the 1st visit to match- $500 total.
    • Bilateral reconstructive $500
  • Corrective - If you had previous undesirable tattooing elsewhere that needs fixed
    • (see above pricing) with possible additional costs ,varies per individual, could require additional sessions. Prices quoted individually.
      • *If I personally tattooed you previously when I was a nurse at OSU plastic surgery and you are interested in a more realistic,  long lasting tattoo, I'll be happy to offer a discount to you (quoted individually).
  • Areola Re-pigmentation – after a breast surgery to even out color and shape, restore a lost nipple, or to simply darken your natural areolas. Normally this is done to both breasts to ensure symmetry.
    • $500 baseline– could involve additional visits depending on scar formation and color take.  Prices quoted individually. Numbing creams used. Insurance does not cover this procedure.
  • Breast decorative- these are never covered by insurance. Prices are quoted individually by the piece.

 

Cash or credit payment is accepted.

**If needed, additional color applications, are done at either no fee or a reduced fee per tattooer’s discretion, on your Living Story breast tattoo performed within the 1st year.

           Charity

Ohio Health Breast Cancer patients, if you have financial concerns regarding payment for your nipple tattooing please let me know. If you have had surgery at an Ohio Health facility,  you may be eligible for financial assistance through the foundation at Ohio Health. After receiving approval, your tattoo must be done by me at the Bing Cancer Center. I'm very happy to be a part of the Ohio Health family and to participate in the foundation as a provider!

 

Note: permanent make up is NOT covered by your health insurance no matter the reason.

*** If you are receiving a breast tattoo or permanent make up for a restorative purpose such as, post-mastectomy nipple tattooing,  post-breast surgery areola repigmentation, loss of brows from cancer treatments or a burn,  please bring a physician prescription.  Any cosmetic tattoo not prescribed by a physician will be charged sales tax.  Breast reconstruction tattooing is always considered medical and not cosmetic.

 

Please contact me with any questions!

 
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