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Areola Tattooing FAQ

If you are considering areola tattooing as a last step of breast reconstruction, you likely have many questions about what to expect before, during and after your procedure. We want to make sure you feel confident and informed about your procedure. Here, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions about areola tattooing at The University of Kansas Health System.

Frequently asked questions on areola tattooing

Q: Do I really need areola tattooing?

A: Yes. Most women don’t realize just how much until they have their tattoos done. It changes your whole perspective on how you view yourself when you’re looking in the mirror.

Q: Is it going to hurt?

A: About 95% of women have no sensation after reconstruction. On occasion, some may feel “little zings.” If there is pain, topical anesthetics can be used to help provide comfort.

Q: Is it going to fade?

A: Yes. Cosmetic or medical tattooing is slightly different from traditional tattoos. Our goal is to bring you back to your natural state, which would be matching skin tones and light colors, matching colors from your original photos. Environmentally, you will need to avoid chlorinated or salt water for a certain amount of time, making sure that you don’t let your tattoo scab over. Any cleansers used would also have an effect on how much your tattoo fades.

Q: Will I need touch-ups and how often?

A: How well you take care of your tattooing from the beginning will determine its lifespan. You would want to come back and have your tattoos refreshed in 6 months-2 years later.

Q: Will my insurance pay for my areola tattoos?

A: Generally yes, but be aware that your reconstructive surgery must be complete before proceeding with your tattoos. Tattooing is the final stage. Any reconstructive surgery after the tattoos have been done will not be covered.

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