Breast Cancer Survivor: 3-Dimensional Areola Nipple Tattoo Service

Creating an artistic and meaningful piece for you, because you deserve it!

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My name is Sunshine de la Cruz RN. I have been a registered nurse since 2001.

My primary nursing specialty is working as a critical care nurse in the intensive care unit.

I am familiar with sterile techniques to ensure the highest hygiene experience possible to prevent possible infections.

Working in the surgical and burn intensive care unit deepened my understanding of altered skin conditions.

I have been tattooing since 2021. Using my best judgment and nursing background is essential in keeping you safe as my top priority.

I obtained my 3-dimensional areola-nipple tattoo specialization training from Ink Boutique Houston. A female-owned business for breast cancer survivors, tattooing since 1992.

When should I get an areola tattoo?

Scheduling your 3d-areola tattoo should be the very last step of your breast reconstruction.

Surgical incisional scars need to completely heal throughout before applying tattoos. This is approximately 6 months, but consult with your doctor for medical clearance.

Medical clearance (insert link) is requested from your plastic surgeon to proceed for multidisciplinary awareness. Please copy and share the form to be completed by your doctor.

What should I expect during my consultation?

Please complete the client encounter discovery link (insert link) so I can get to know you before your in-person or virtual consultation with me.

During your consultation, I will do an overview of the following:

  1. Payment
    • $500 bilateral, $250 unilateral
  2. Cost for second session (6-12 weeks after)
    • 50% of primary session
    • $250 bilateral, $125 unilateral
  3. Additional sessions anytime, indefinitely (no expiration)
    • 30% of primary session
    • $150 bilateral, $75 unilateral
  4. Health insurance coverage
    • My practice and I are considered a non-participating provider, therefore; identified as “out-of-network”
    • Since I am a non-participating provider and out-of-network, I am unable to do prior authorizations
    • I cannot guarantee that your health insurance will reimburse you for this procedure
    • You are responsible to contact your health insurance and request the type of documentation they need for reimbursement
  5. Assistance with potential health insurance reimbursement
    • Provide medical clearance and doctor’s order for 3d-areola tattoo
    • Bring any type of reimbursement forms required by your health insurance company (documentation requirements, health savings forms, and etc)
    • I will provide the following to help you:
      • My National Provider Identification number (NPI number)
      • My Tax ID number
      • Copy of before and after photo documentation
      • Copy of procedure notes
  6. Photo documentation of before and after
  7. Pre-care
  8. After-care
  9. Expected outcomes

In-person appointments are preferred for the following, but not required, because this can be implemented during the initial procedure appointment:

  1. Take before photos
  2. Pre-drawing the size and location of the areola – photographed for reference and record
  3. Color selection – photographed as needed and noted in your file
  4. After care, healing process, and expected outcome
    • Day of the procedure is day “zero”
    • Length of healing time varies for everyone
    • Post radiated skin, diabetics, immunosuppressed, and auto-immune disease prolong the healing process
    • Keep the dressing clean, dry, and intact for seven (7) days
    • Dressing will become saturated with lymphatic fluid over the course of the week – can look a little watery / Koolaid
    • You may shower while the plastic adhesive dressing is intact during days zero to seven (0-7)
    • Remove dressing, shower, and and let water run over the breast on day eight (8)
    • Air dry only after dressing removed – do not pat dry
    • Apply a light amount of healing barrier cream (size of a rice grain)
    • —————————————
    • If skin is too sensitive for adhesive dressing, report to your tattoo artist first. Using an after care protective barrier cream with gauze and paper tape is alternative way to cover the tattoo.
    • Do not submerge the target area with nay type of water.
    • Do not steam or use sauna
    • Itching, flaking, and peeling is part of the natural process – typically on days 7 to 14
    • —————————————
    • The color will appear rich and highly saturated during the healing process.
    • The color will soften over time as the skin heals
    • Tattoo will fade over time just like any regular tattoo
    • There is an 80% retention rate during the first six weeks
    • Second session at 6th to 12th week mark for touch-up helps retain pigment longer and is highly encouraged and an industry standard procedure.
    • Use sunscreen over the tattoo once healed to keep a sustained vibrant appearance

Before and after photos of your breast will be taken as part of the documentation process which is kept in my file, submitted to your doctor, and the health insurance company.

I will obtain consents for the following:

  1. Tattoo procedure – implanting pigment into your skin
  2. Permission to share photos and procedure notes to you, your providers, and you health insurance
  3. Permission to post publicly for promotion and advertising (optional)

Is tattooing safe for a patient who just survived cancer?

Yes, areola-nipple tattoo procedures are safe on cancer survivors. However, any procedure will have risks such as:

  1. Sensitivity to pigment or products used
  2. Redness and swelling
  3. Pain
  4. Infection

This procedure will not “pop” your breast implants.

Triggering a lymphedema effect is generally not a huge concern during this final phase of breast reconstruction. But, if you have a medical history of lymphedema, please seek instructions from your doctor for prevention of any worsening of condition from the injury triggered by tattooing.

Let your other doctors and MRI technician know about your 3d-areola tattoo with pigment containing natural minerals for your safety during the MRI.

How long will this appointment take?

4 Hours

If you are coming in for the first time and this is also your live consultation session, expect to be with me for at least 4 hours.

3 Hours

If you already had a live consultation, and this is just for the procedure, expect to be with me for 3 hours.

2 hours

If this is a touch up session, expect to be with me for at least 2 hours.

Dr. Hallmeyer at the LGH Cancer Center speaks very highly of your work!

~anonymous patient

Book a free consultation today.