Risk Management & Treatment

Nipples and areola

People who do not have nipple-sparing mastectomy may choose to have nipple reconstruction nipple and areola tattooing. 


Nipple reconstruction

Nipple reconstruction is a short and simple procedure that creates a small flap of breast skin into the shape of a nipple. This surgery is usually done after the reconstructed breast has settled into position, about three or four months after revision surgery. 

Other people may choose to skip this reconstructive step, because reconstructed nipples have no sensation and do not react to cold or touch as natural nipples do. For women who decide to skip this step, some may choose 3-D nipple tattooing (see below) or temporary adhesive nipples.


Nipple and areola tattooing

Tattooing adds color to the new nipple and recreates the look of the areola. Tattoos may be performed by the surgeon, a specially-trained nurse or technician or a professional tattoo artist who is experienced with reconstructive tattooing. Depending on the procedure, multiple sessions may be required. Tattoos may fade over time, but they can be repeated if necessary.

3-D tattooing produces deeper variations of pigment to simulate the look and texture of a natural nipple and areola. This is best performed by a skilled tattoo artist who is experienced with this procedure.

Last updated September 28, 2020