The finishing touch to breast reconstruction is having your nipple areola tattooed. This is usually done in your plastic surgeon's office. Tattooing is a simple, fast procedure. There is no need to be scared. If you are matching a new nipple areola to the existing breast, your plastic surgeon will mix various colors and shades to get the correct pigment. If you had bilateral reconstructions, your surgeon can use your preoperative photos to recreate the nipple color, or you can pick a new color that you like against your skin tones. As with any tattoo, the pigment will fade in time. Getting the right shade of color may require more than one tattoo procedure. If you are having nipple tattooing alone, with no nipple reconstruction, you may want to look for a doctor that specializes in giving your tattoo a three dimensional appearance.
If you have had a breast implant and regained some breast skin sensation, your plastic surgeon may need to give you an injection of local anesthetic. Most patients with flap reconstruction have little sensation. After drawing the outline of the areola, the surgeon will place the tattooing instrument against your breast. You may feel a pushing and vibrating sensation, as many small needles transfer pigment into your skin. The entire process can take as little as fifteen minutes.