Areola restoration is a paramedical tattoo procedure that uses semi-permanent pigments to recreate the natural appearance of the areola. The treatment can correct asymmetry or color loss in the areola after mastectomy, breast reconstruction, or augmentation surgery.
Areola reconstruction often represents the final stage of breast cancer recovery. For many women, it is a crucial step in healing because it helps them feel whole and reconnected to their bodies.
What is an Areola?
Areola is a term used for the darker circular skin area around a woman’s nipple. This area surrounds the nipple and contains milk ducts that transport breast milk from glandular tissue (lobules) to a woman’s nipples.
Areolas vary in size, shape, and color. It can be due to genetics, aging, weight gain and loss, and changes in hormone levels.
During puberty, your ovaries start producing the female hormone estrogen. It causes your nipples to grow and darken your areolas.
You may also notice your areolas get larger while you are pregnant. It is normal and a sign that your body is preparing for breastfeeding.
If you experience itching, scaliness, or swelling in your areolas, you may have nipple eczema. This skin condition is common during breastfeeding and can be accompanied by itchy or painful nipples.
Areola Reconstruction Options
Areola reconstruction can be performed as a standalone procedure for women who undergo mastectomy or breast cancer surgery or as part of the overall breast reconstruction process. In either case, the nipple and areola are recreated using tissue from the patient’s new breast or other parts of their body, such as the earlobe.
Nipple and areola reconstruction is often the last step of a woman’s breast reconstruction journey, and it can provide a sense of completion and satisfaction for many patients.
On a patient’s reconstructed breast following a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy, cosmetic tattooing methods and color pigments produce the illusion of a realistic 3-dimensional areola.
To recreate missing areolas, reduce scarring, and give areolas a more natural form and color, Laguna Med Spa provides sophisticated paramedical tattooing procedures as part of its areola restoration training program. Specialized education, equipment, perseverance, and expertise are needed for the process. Also, it helps people feel better about themselves and become more confident.
Areola Reconstruction Costs
Depending on your health insurance policy, nipple, and areola reconstruction costs can vary significantly. The type of breast reconstruction performed, the surgeon’s skill level, and other factors can all play a role in the overall cost of your surgery.
Regardless of the technique used, nipple and areola restoration involve elevating skin flaps to create the form of a nipple. It can be done using a skin graft from the leg or groin, or tattooing can also be used.
After the reconstruction, it is essential to know that the new nipple will not have the same sensation as your nipple before cancer. It is a typical sign of healing and should go away in two to six weeks.
During your procedure, a scar will be created around the outer edge of the areola. It will fade over time, though it may remain visible.
Areola Reconstruction Recovery
A nipple reconstruction is a procedure that rebuilds your nipple after breast surgery. Nipple reconstruction is often done separately, about 3-4 months after the breast reconstruction procedure.
During the nipple reconstruction process, small skin flaps from your reconstructed breast are folded and stitched together to form your new nipple mound. Extra fat, skin, or synthetic fillers can give your new nipple a more elevated appearance than the reconstructed breast.
After your nipple is built, a bolster dressing will be applied to protect it and allow it to heal. Once healed, your doctor can add color to the reconstructed nipple with micro pigmentation techniques.
You may experience flakiness or crusting as your nipple heals, but you should not feel pain. After about a week, the stitches and nipple protector will be removed, and you should wear a medical bra or sports bra to keep the surgical dressing in place.