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3D Areola & Nipple Tattooing

 

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is working with breast cancer survivors. 3D Areola Restoration is a procedure for women and men who have lost one or both nipples through surgery or trauma. By using traditional tattooing techniques the appearance of the nipple can be restored to a more natural appearance after mastectomy, breast reduction scars, or trauma. Areola Restoration can create an Areola after breast reconstruction minimizing the appearance of scars to restore Areola to a more natural-looking color and shape.

 

About your Areola Appointment

Anesthetic is not always necessary. In some cases, a topical anesthetic may be applied if needed for any discomfort you may have. The treatment time will be about three hours, Jeanette will discuss the design, desired color for your Areola, photos, and paperwork. A single Areola can often be completed in about one hour, but some treatments take longer. Please bring a sports bra to hold bandages in place after the procedure. The process for touch-ups will be similar to the initial treatment but may be shorter. I always include a free touch-up with every application. This will be 8 to 10 weeks after your first visit. Please schedule your perfection appointment before you leave.

 

Aftercare

AFTERCARE OPTION: Only if your skin is NOT sensitive to adhesives, you may consider using Tegaderm or Saniderm Waterproof Transparent Wound Dressing. Can stay on for up to 7 day

• Applied in the office on clean, dry skin. You can shower normally, no need for pads. Some fluid may build up and puddle under the film and this is normal. However, if an excessive amount of fluid is present, you may gently remove the film in the shower and thoroughly clean it with Dial Antimicrobial Soap. Blot areolas with a white paper towel then allow to completely air dry.
• Use a new piece of Tegaderm or Saniderm film large enough to allow at least an inch or more around the areola.
• Then apply the film directly over your areola, pressing out any air bubbles and making sure edges are sealed, not allowing water to build up against your tattoos.
• After 7 days, remove the film while in the shower. Clean areolas as instructed above. Areolas may weep a little at first, temporarily use a small amount of ointment and cover with a nonstick pad until they dry and continue to dry heal.

If adhesives are NOT an option, for the first 7 days:

1. BEFORE SHOWERING: Always make sure your hands are very clean when touching your breasts.
For the first few days, use a cotton swab, and gently cover areolas with a very thin coat of ointment, using White Petroleum ointment or Aquaphor.
• WHEN SHOWERING, Keep your back to the shower spray, do not let hot water spray directly onto your tattooed breasts. Thoroughly wash your breasts (using your hands, no cloth) with mild soap such as Cetaphyl , baby shampoo, or Dial antimicrobial soap. DO NOT use anything astringent. Continue to rinse until all surface blood, ointment and soap have been removed.
• DRY around the tattoo by blotting very gently with a white paper towel. Continue to air dry for 15 to 30 minutes (or use a hair dryer on a low or cool setting) until the tattoo is dry (the tattoo will feel taut or tight when it is thoroughly dry).

2. APPLY After Inked ointment or Aquaphor in a thin, (grain of rice to a small pea amount) light coat by gently spreading it onto the areola with a cotton swab twice a day. Cover with Foam Dressing or Equate Ultra Absorbent Wound Dressing pads.

••• VERY IMPORTANT: The tattoo should feel moistened but not heavily coated. Use the ointment provided. If the ointment burns or hurts in any way, stop using it immediately and call a technician.

3. All tattoos weep body fluids and it is important to blot these fluids off periodically. The foam dressings and wound dressings will help wick the moisture from the tattoo, twice a day, use gauze pads or a white paper towel dampened with an antiseptic wash (Band-Aid brand Hurt-Free Antiseptic Wash) to blot the areolas. Be careful not to use a lot of pressure.
• REBANDAGE with non-stick pads whenever you have to wear clothing over your tattoo (such as a bra). Avoid tight clothing if possible.

••• NOTE: If at any time the non-stick bandage or clothing appears to stick to the areola, DO NOT continue to remove it! WAIT until you can get in the shower, soaking the pads until they fall off on their own. Otherwise, the pigment can be pulled right out.
••• VERY IMPORTANT: While your tattoo(s) is covered, it is healing at a much slower rate, so whenever possible, expose the tattoo to the air or cover it with loose-fitting clothing like a large white cotton T-shirt with no ointment.

4. AT NIGHT wear a large, loose-fitting white cotton T-shirt with no pads or ointments, allowing air to get to your areolas.

5. After day 7, let your breasts dry out to continue healing on their own. No more ointments. Still, gently blot them with a paper towel periodically if you notice they still appear to be weeping. Let them completely dry heal now.

 

What should you expect afterward?

• SLIGHT SWELLING and redness following the procedure and the skin may feel tight and tender. These symptoms will ease within 1 – 7 days depending on how sensitive your skin is. You can take Tylenol or ibuprofen if needed.

• For 2 weeks (or until peeling is complete) DO NOT expose your tattoos to dust or dirt. DO NOT exercise or cause sweat in the area of your tattoo. Just try to keep sweating to a minimum if possible.

• PEELING or scabbing may begin in about a week. Using Tegaderm or Saniderm will help minimize scabbing.
DO NOT PICK, PEEL, RUB OR SCRATCH the epithelial crust, ALLOW IT TO FLAKE OFF ON ITS OWN, otherwise your color may heal unevenly and you risk infection. It is important that the healing process takes its natural course! As the pigmented area of the skin heals and dries, it forms a scab. This can last for 14 – 21 days and the dead cells (the scab) will come off as healing takes place. This “ugly” phase of healing can feel like it’s going to last forever, but it will get better! Scarring and possible infection can occur if the scabs are removed or knocked off prematurely resulting in color loss. Allow them to fall off naturally to preserve color.

• Some itching is normal. You may consider taking Benadryl if that helps or using Benadryl gel, rubbed into the skin around the areola, but not on it.

• You will then notice slight fading of the pigment and softening of the color. Your tattoo may have a waxy or shiny appearance when it first peels and this is normal.

• DO NOT expose your tattoos to the sun, tanning beds, lake water, ponds, oceans, hot tubs, pools, and saunas for the first two weeks of the healing phase or until there are no longer any scabs or crusting present. There is a great risk of infection as well as a lack of pigment retention as a result.

• Gently pat dry following showers or baths – even 5 and 6 months after tattooing procedure, allowing optimal time for healing.

Colors appear brighter and more sharply defined immediately following the procedure. As healing progresses, the color will soften. Final results cannot be determined until healing is complete in about 8 weeks. Color may be uneven after healing and this can be addressed at the touch-up treatment.

It is important to remember that medical micro-pigmentation is an art and not an exact science. Two important factors will contribute to the success of your final outcome and are reliant on:

1. How well do you follow the post-procedure instructions and;

2. Your own body’s ability to retain the pigment, which varies from person to person.

In most cases, a touch-up visit may be necessary. It should be completed within a reasonable amount of time after the initial procedure is complete, but cannot be done before 8 weeks at minimum.

If you have questions about healing or an unexpected reaction or possible infection, immediately notify me and call your doctor.

 

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