With the help of Macmillan and The League of Friends, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust is purchasing a new medical grade nipple tattoo machine. Following training, which is set for this December 2017, breast reconstruction nurse practitioners will be able to provide this new service for their patients.
The impact of breast cancer can have long lasting effects, in particular those associated with body image. The effects of treatments such as mastectomy - where breast tissue and sometimes nipples are removed - can greatly impact a patient’s self-confidence and emotional recovery.
Some women may decide to have breast reconstruction surgery and this is a very personal choice. Following their breast reconstruction, patients will now be able to choose to have a new areola (the coloured disc surrounding the nipple) created using a technique called “intradermal micropigmentation” or nipple tattooing.
The breast reconstruction nurse practitioner will carry out the procedure approximately 6-8 weeks after nipple reconstruction and the procedure takes about an hour, during which a semi-permanent pigment is injected under sterile conditions. Sometimes the procedure will need to be repeated. Many women find this procedure enhances the results of their surgery, making it appear complete and aids their physical and psychological recovery. Tattooing can also create an illusion of a 3D nipple for women who may choose not to have a nipple reconstruction.
Stephanie Fear, Specialist Breast Reconstruction Nurse