Monday, November 24, 2014

Tattoos to Cover Mastectomy and Breast Reconstruction Scars on the Rise

For years, tattoos have been used to apply the finishing touches to breast reconstruction. A form of medical tattooing is used to add color to the reconstructed nipple and areola as the final stage of the reconstructive process. Recently, 3D tattooing has also become available to add even more life-like results.

Some breast cancer patients are now turning to more "traditional" ink-based tattoos to cover their mastectomy or breast reconstruction scars in more elaborate ways.

If you've ever considered getting an elaborate tattoo to hide your breast cancer scars, rest assured you're not alone! I'm seeing more and more breast cancer patients doing just that. Here are some examples:

mastectomy scar tattoo
Tattoo over right mastectomy scar
Source: iconosquare.com

breast reconstruction scar tattoo
Tattoo over left breast reconstruction scar
Source: launchboulder.pmpblogs.com

If you're considering a tattoo yourself, here are some more examples of tattoos used to cover mastectomy and breast reconstruction scars.

From a surgical standpoint, I don't see a problem with patients choosing to go this route. It's a very personal decision. Tattooing won't "ruin" a breast reconstruction. However, tattooing of course does have its risks including skin infections (e.g. MRSA), allergic reactions to the dyes, additional scarring, ink deposition in lymph nodes and cartilage, and even blood borne diseases (e.g. tetanus, hepatitis B and C). Tattoo pigments can also occasionally interfere with MRI exams and decrease the quality of the images.

Like anything, doing your research is crucial. Please make sure you choose a reputable and experienced artist and review examples of their previous work ahead of time.

Dr C

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Dr Chrysopoulo is a board certified plastic surgeon in San Antonio, TX, specializing in the DIEP flap and other state-of-the-art breast reconstruction procedures. In-Network for most US insurance plans. Patients are welcomed from across and outside the US. Please call (800) 692-5565 or email patientadvocate@PRMAplasticsurgery.com to learn more about your breast reconstruction options. Connect with others touched by breast cancer on Facebook.

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