Tag Archive | "mastectomy"

Breast cancer warriors

After a breast reconstruction, the breast is often left without an areola or nipple. Reconstruction can not be performed for at least3 months. Most women describe this transition as psychologically difficult to live with as they can see their bare breasts everyday which gives an incomplete impression .

The range of reconstruction techniques is wide, however, surgeons practice essentially two main techniques: grafting or tattooing.

In both cases, they begin by drawing the areola (the dark circle around the nipple) before reforming the nipple.


For an areola graft, it involves removing a patch on skin on the upper and inner part of the thigh and then the graft is placed at the site of the future areola. This is a quick and painless surgery but which leads to an additional scar on the thigh. Care is needed for about three weeks to complete healing. The skin graft can sometimes fade a bit over time and eventually require an additional tattoo. One drawback is that in this type of reconstruction the areola graft does not usually get dark.


For those who do not wish to undergo another surgery and acquire new scars, the surgeon can make a tattoo with the supposed location of the areola. The result is an “optical illusion” as the actual nipple has, in this case, no volume. This simple act can be performed under local anaesthesia. Post-operative care is short (about 5 days) and a little painful. Initially the colour is often darker but fades rapidly. The tattoo is permanent but needs retouching as it fades over time.

Note that it is impossible to reconstruct a perfect areola and nipple tattoo. However, to overcome this lack of aesthetics of the lack of expertise of tattoo related surgeons, an American tattoo artist of 49 years, Vinnie Mayers, has become the world tattoo specialist of the nipple.

A Tattoo artist for 28 years, he has now been practising for the last 12 years tattooing nipples on breasts mutilated women who underwent breast cancer. And the results are impressive realism!

His secret? “A game of shadows and lights, he said in an interview to the magazine Vice . I have great difficulty believing that nobody had thought of before. Many other tattoo artists are content to draw a circle and add colour to it, and they have only three available: chocolate brown, pink chewing gum and salmon. They choose the nearest colour to the other nipple and most white women therefore find themselves with a salmon coloured nipple. ”

Vinnie injects pigments into the skin to determine the best colour, size and shape for the nipple, this takes around 2 hours, but the end result is remarkable as you can see

Vinnie no longer does traditional tattoos, he has dedicated his skills to help “breast cancer warriors” and I for one think he is doing a wonderful job.

If you are reading this from the UK

Richard from Luton in Bedfordshire can help restore your femininity so you too can be a warrior.

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