I had my nipple recon on Wednesday and a tatoo done at the same time, my surgeon did not explain beforehand that it might shrink so I shall be watching out for this.
As well as the nipple recon and tatoo, I also had a tidy up of the left breast (cancer last year and problems caused by rads) and a bit of reshaping to the reconstructed breast (mx in 2008, DIEP in 2011) so at the moment I feel like I've been hit by a bus and didn't expect it all to be so painful. I'm sure the mx wasn't as painful as this but maybe I've just got a bad memory.
Has anyone been advised to keep the new nipples covered with a dressing and if so for how long? I'm due back to see my surgeon in 2 weeks
Nipple flattening does seem to be the norm doesn't it! I believe the nipples are always made oversized to allow for shrinkage, but some do flatten more than average. I've googled this issue endlessly, and there are lots of reasons for it, scar tissue, pressure, type of recon, skin thickness, rads etc - and sadly all ps's accept this is a problem.
But, a flattened nipple can redone, and they are sometimes injected with stuff like Botox, or have cartlige inserted or some filler type substance.
My ps did say that tattooing would shrink them!
They do use a permanent dye, and it's medical grade, but it fades, hence they recommend going a shade darker than you finally want.
The best nipple tattooist sadly is in America - he does amazing 3D tattoos!
As far as I am aware you can (if you are up to it!) keep going back until you are happy with the nipple construction - I would say discuss it with your Breast Care Nurse if you have a decent team. They are usually very supportive - or talk to your PS maybe?
This thread does rather put you off the tattooing!
Does anyone know why they don't use permanent dye and whether I could go to a tattoo artist to get a permanent job done or is that not recommended for skin that has had surgery?
Thanks for all you replies.
I agree Sheila that surgeons should make their patients more aware of what is happening.
I very naively didn't even realise they would tattoo the nipple itself!
Greycat, I too am very disappointed and upset, and wonder why I went to the trouble of having it done only to find it has gone flat.
It hasn,t faded too much yet. I was told they will send for me again in a couple of months to see if I'm satisfied! As i said the areola is not as big as my natural one, so i will have a few things to say, which i am not looking forward to, as i found her rather intimidating and less than sensitive!
i have had reconstructive Diep surgery, all went fairly well, I am awaiting nipple reconstruction and I have to say you've all got me worried, should I be suggesting at the surgeon builds a larger than life nipple to counteract the inevitable shrinkage?
if this is so common why are the surgeons not automatically making larger nipples?
I've had a very similar experience. I had my nipple reconstruction on 29 June, and was thrilled with the new nipple. I was warned that it would shrink quite a bit, which was fine as it was initially bigger than my other one. I had my first tattoo session in mid August, and my new nipple halved in size within a couple of days of having the tattoo. But it hadn't shrunk any more when I saw the plastic surgeon ten days ago and I assumed that it was at its final size - it was still small, but still looked like a nipple. The colour the tattooist used the first time was quite pale, and faded a lot, to the point where my breast surgeon didn't realise I'd had it done when I saw him last week.
I had the second tattoo session on Wednesday, and a much darker pigment was used. Everything seemed fine until I got up yesterday morning, and my lovely new nipple has now disappeared and is completely flat. I'm so upset, and can't help feeling that the shrinkage must be due to the tattooing. I'm sure I remember reading that the tattoo ink could cause shrinkage, but the plastic surgeon said she had never heard of this. Fortunately she said that she would be happy to re-do my nipple if it flattened any more, and as I'm due to have a bit more liposuction to my new breast in the next 2 or 3 months, I'm hoping that she can do this at the same time.
As far as the fading is concerned, the tattooist said that most women need at least two sessions, and she has me booked in for another one in January, but in view of what's happened, I don't want tattooing done again!
Hi I had reconstruction with DIEP flap and had my nipple tattoo about 6weeks ago,the areolar is far to dark,the new nipple shines out like a beacon!I was assured it would fade ,no menton of being able to go back for further sessions,has anyone noticed considerable fading?
When I had my tattoo done they made it clear to me that I could keep going back until I was satisfied with the appearance. They said it usually took two or three sessions. I had two sessions, so it seems like you need to go back for them to improve the tattoo for you.
I think the nipple going flat in a standard nipple recon is normal. That is why I opted for a nipple share instead (see the other thread about that)
I had my nipple recon about 5 months ago. All seemed ok, but the nipple shrank considerably which was disappointing.
I had the tattoo done 2 weeks ago and again i am disappointed as the areola that she created with the tattoo wasn,t as big
as my natural one, and also the nipple now (as she also tattooed that) is completely flat now.
I,m just wondering if anyone has experienced the same as me, and is there anything else that can be done to make it look
more like a nipple again.
Thanks, Rosie x