If you’re looking for a natural-looking way to correct the appearance of your areola after mastectomy or breast reconstruction surgery, consider areola restoration. This non-invasive cosmetic procedure can help restore the natural look of your areola and nipple.
Areola Restoration techniques include skin grafting, banking and replantation, and tattooing. The latter is a popular choice for some women, especially if they don’t have enough tissue for skin grafts or aren’t comfortable with surgery.
What Is It?
Areola restoration is a 3D tattoo cosmetic procedure performed to replicate the natural look of the areola and nipple. It is ideal for clients who have undergone breast reconstruction or suffer from fading or irregular areolas.
After a woman has breast reconstruction surgery, a plastic surgeon will recreate the nipple and areola using skin tissue from her reconstructed breast mound or another part of her body. A few months later, a cosmetic tattoo artist can add color to the new nipple and areola.
Ideally, the surgeon will match the position, size, shape, texture, and color of the new nipple to the areola that was in place before surgery. However, even small degrees of asymmetry can be noticeable by the least observant viewer.
The technique used for areola repigmentation and nipple restoration is complex and involves cosmetical micro pigmentation. It is a service that helps improve appearance and self-esteem for women who have undergone breast reconstruction or have fading or irregular areolas or nipples.
How Does It Work?
During breast reconstruction, your plastic surgeon reconstructs the shape of your breast mound with either a DIEP flap or implant. Once that is done, your surgeon restructures the skin on top of that to form your nipple.
When reconstructing your areola, your surgeon can use skin from the new breast or a skin graft from another part of your body (such as the inner thigh) to create an areola. This technique will match your areola size, position, texture, and color with your reconstructed breast.
Once a skin graft has healed, your surgeon may add color with tattooing to the reconstructed areola. This can help you feel more like yourself after a mastectomy or other breast reconstruction surgery.
Plastic surgeons and tattooers with experience in cosmetic tattooing most commonly perform areola restoration tattoos. The procedure involves a tattoo machine that deposits special pigments into the dermal layer of your skin.
Does It Work For Me?
The most common nipple and areola reconstruction surgery involve creating a flap of skin that replicates the areola and nipple. A more advanced surgical approach incorporates a skin graft to create the new nipple and areola.
While it may sound old, areola restoration is relatively easy. A trained eye and a healthy dose of artistic pixie dust are the keys to a successful outcome, resulting in a nipple and areola that is both subtle and impressive.
What Can I Expect?
After a mastectomy or breast reduction surgery, women usually undergo one more surgical procedure to reconstruct a nipple and areola. This step helps patients regain the familiarity that comes with a breast mound that looks like a natural part of their body.
For this procedure, a surgeon may take a small piece of skin from the chest or another part of the body that has a natural tendency to darken over time and create a nipple. They may also use a skin flap from the inner thigh, stomach, or buttocks to create an areola.
When done properly, this procedure can restore the color, shape, and size of the areola following breast reconstruction. It can also correct asymmetry or color loss in the areola.