Can I get Nipple Tattoos after Nipple Reconstruction

A Question I often get asked is, can I have a Nipple Tattoo after Nipple Reconstruction? The answer is a resounding yes.

Medical Tattooing of the newly reconstructed nipple will make the new nipple and areola complex appear much more natural and in keeping with your body. Tattooing can also match the reconstructed Nipple to the other breast in the case of a unilateral mastectomy. This really helps to improve symmetry after Breast Cancer, Mastectomy and Reconstruction.

Types of Nipple Reconstruction

There are several different methods by which a surgeon may reconstruct your new nipple. All involve creating a raised bump of skin to simulate the appearance of the nipple bud on the breast after the natural nipple has been lost to mastectomy surgery.

Skin Flap Method

This is a clever technique where the skin of the breast is folded up, origami-style, to create a little mound which becomes the nipple. This method has the highest chance of a successful outcome. 

Skin Graft Method

If there isn’t enough spare skin on the breast mound to reconstruct the nipple, a surgeon may take the skin from somewhere else. This is usually from the abdomen, thigh, buttocks or groin. This skin is then grafted and used to create the new nipple. This surgery can have a higher rate of complications than the skin flap method.

Nipple Graft, Autologous Graft or Nipple Sharing

If you have a large enough nipple on your unaffected breast, a surgeon may use part of it to graft onto the reconstructed breast to create a new nipple there. 

Recovery from Nipple Reconstruction Surgery.

One of the things my clients often note about their recovery is surprise at the size of the dressings. Often surgeons will protect the newly reconstructed nipple with a “doughnut” sponge type dressing. This has a hole in the middle for the new nipple. The bulky dressing can be tricky to hide under clothes but it keeps the new nipple safe whilst it’s healing. 

Clients also say that they were shocked by the size of the reconstructed nipple. Surgeons often compensate for any flattening of the nipple by making the reconstruction a little larger than it needs to be. As the nipple heals it will flatten and become the right size. However, this can be startling when you first look at the reconstructed nipple after the surgery.


Getting a Nipple Tattoo After Nipple Reconstruction. How can it help?

Getting a Nipple Tattoo After Nipple Reconstruction. How can it help?

The problem of flattening of a Nipple Reconstruction and how Nipple Tattooing can help

One of the common issues with Nipple Reconstruction is that the nipple tends to flatten and lose definition over time. The Nipple Reconstruction can pretty much disappear into the surrounding skin, or spread, making it look unrealistic. 

Nipple Tattooing can help with this. The same 3D tattoo techniques used on flat skin can be utilised. A little shade, highlight and definition on the reconstructed nipple can improve the appearance and make the nipple appear to “pop” again rather than blending into the surrounding areola area.

You can see some examples of this in the gallery below.

Bringing lifelike colour back into the Nipple Areola Complex with a tattoo

Even though the surgeon has recreated the shape of a new nipple, the skin colour is a different matter. The skin may have been grafted from a different area of the body so it’s often pale in appearance. The nipple itself is skin coloured rather than having the pink appearance of a natural nipple. Textures such as the little Montgomery glands are missing from the areola area.

Medical Nipple Tattooing can address all these issues. Tattooing shades of pink and texture into the reconstructed nipple brings it to life and gives a much more natural appearance.

If you have a natural nipple on your unaffected breast, colour and detail can be copied from there to bring the reconstructed nipple to life and make sure it matches the natural nipple as closely as possible. 

Issues with symmetry and Nipple Reconstruction

Sometimes, the Nipple Reconstruction may not be placed exactly symmetrically opposite the other nipple. It’s quite hard for surgeons to place the nipples precisely and sometimes one may be slightly higher than the other. Healing and other factors come into play.

In some cases, Medical Tattooing can be used to make the nipples appear more symmetrical by adjusting the areola heights to fool the eye. This does depend on each individual case as to if this is possible to achieve. 

Tattooing to hide scars around a reconstructed Nipple and Areola Complex

Surgery may result in white scars around the areola area depending on the techniques used for Mastectomy and reconstruction. In some cases, it may be possible to hide these scars by increasing the size of the areola a little to extend the edge and tattoo pigment into the scar area. This can be very effective in blending away the scar and giving a more natural appearance. 

Is it safe to use permanent ink with a Nipple Reconstruction?

Yes absolutely. All permanent inks undergo the same rigorous testing and European quality standards as semi-permanent ink. They are not allowed to be sold or imported into this country if they don’t comply.

I use the World Famous Inks Pink Ribbon Ink Set which is a high-quality permanent pigment collection specially developed for Nipple and Areola Tattooing. It is manufactured to the highest quality standards and is also Vegan. 

Tattooing Nipple Reconstructions is a specialised skill requiring experience and the right equipment. This is because the reconstructed Nipple is generally composed of scar tissue so is tougher to tattoo than normal skin as well as conversely being fragile and more easily damaged. The equipment used to apply permanent ink is of high quality and of the required power to tattoo into this kind of skin. 

In contrast, semi-permanent Tattoo equipment is lower powered [being designed for eyebrows and semi-permanent makeup] which means that operatives need to go over the area more times to try and implant the pigment. This can result in damage to the Nipple Reconstruction from overworking the skin as well as poor colour implantation and colour retention.

How long do I need to wait after Nipple Reconstruction before getting a Nipple Tattoo

I generally recommend that you wait a good six months before getting your reconstructed Nipple tattooed. The skin needs this time for the scar tissue to heal and stabilise. If you tattoo too soon you risk damaging the skin whilst its still healing.

Six months also gives the newly reconstructed nipple to settle into its final position as any inflammation goes down. That way, when we do the tattoo, everything is in the right place.


The images below give a few before and after images of Nipple Tattoos I have created on ladies with a Nipple Reconstruction. All these images are of Nipple Tattoos done by myself in my studio and have not been retouched or filtered.

You can see more images in my Gallery here

Free Consultation

If you have had, or are awaiting a Nipple Reconstruction and want to chat through your options, I offer a FREE Consultation Service. This can either be in person or done by email or phone. Please just get in touch using the form below with any questions you may have. My Studio is based in the beautiful countryside just outside Holmfirth, West Yorkshire UK.



Get in touch for a FREE CONSULTATION…

Please contact me with any questions you may have about 3D Nipple Tattoos or to book a FREE Consultation.

Email me direct at Hello{at} or via the contact form.

For enquiries and appointments you can call the studio on 01484 680 104.

You can also message me via my  3D Nipple Tattoo Facebook page here


I have written an E-Book to answer questions about 3D Nipple Tattoos.

Completing Your Journey – The Power of 3D Nipple Tattoos and How They Can Help Your Recovery From Breast Cancer covers topics I get asked most frequently and outlines the process and its benefits. You can easily download the E-Book to your laptop or tablet to read at your leisure.

Simply add your email below to receive your copy which will be sent to your mail address. I Hope you find the book helpful and informative.

3D Nipple Tattoo e-book
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