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Nipple Tattoos to Complete My Breast Cancer Mastectomy Reconstruction

Posted by Emilienne Rebel on

*Firstly, I need to say that I have given great consideration as to wether I should share a photo, so if you are offended by this picture taken during the tattoo procedure I do apologise, however I think its important for other women to be able to see reconstruction... as its helped me. I will hopefully share more.

Two Weeks ago I visited Vicky Martin to get Nipple Tattoos and end what has been a personal Breast Cancer Mastectomy body journey which has taken over a decade. I will need to go back for final touch ups, however I'm so happy I waited to find the right person to do them... someone, Vicky Martin, who really gets making them look as natural as possible. I love them!

I had my second mastectomy and double breast reconstruction 6 years ago and having lived with one breast for many years and then back to two, but with no nipples you kind of get used to how you look at every stage and question whether to get and further work done... the pain, the healing and the possible risk of further complications at every turn.

I playfully toyed with the idea of two little hearts instead of actual real looking nipples... but in the end this is what I went for and I so happy I did. Its all personal taste and whilst I've gone for natural looking I'm loving some of the fantastic artwork tattoos I'm seeing on social media and the brave women who share their stories and scars. 

Vicky is very warm and bubbly and immediately put those last minute nerves at bay. She marked the size and position of the areola and set to work, firstly on the radiated right breast side. The procedure took longer than I had anticipated, approximately 2 hours for the first nipple and slightly less for the second. Thats a long time to lie and keep still... for me anyway :)

The pain was more than bearable (turns out I have more feeling that I thought!) and whenever there was an area that made me flinch from sharp pain then Vicky would add some numbing cream before continuing so it was never really bad. As with most of these things you can mentally prepare yourself for the actual pain of getting tattooed but its the little things that often get to you most. Like when you lose your hair and you simply feel cold or a dry mouth from lack of saliva during Chemotherapy treatment (like a mouth full of dry All Bran!)... these often 'minor' side effects can often just tip you over the edge... in this case it was the swabbing after every burst of tattooing. The pushing down on my breast felt very uncomfortable and I was very glad when it was over. I'd still do it all again, so would highly recommend to anyone who is considering to find a tattooist who specialises in reconstructed nipple tattoos and go for it. Its made such a difference to me. 

I have had the tattoos done at the hospital a couple of times, but each time they have faded extremely fast (within weeks) as they are only permitted to use temporary ink. Vicky used permanent normal tattoo inks this time (although she offers both) which is what I had been seeking for many years. As I said before I will return to Vicky in a few months to get 'touched-up' hah, that doesn't sound right, does it, but colour touch up to make sure my tattoos last for as long as possible, hopefully many years. 

Apart from feeling a little tender and sore, 'post-op' care was pretty straight forward. The first two days I had fluid build up in the clear plaster dressing, which I removed and changed adding the moisturising cream I was given. Always a little disconcerting, but nothing too bad. 

A link can be found to Vicky Martin's website on the 'useful links' section of the Bold Beanies hair loss cancer hats website. Please feel free to contact me, Emilienne Rebel, directly if you'd like any further information, would like to see my tattoos, if you have any questions you think I might be able to help you with :) Vicky's work is easily seen on her Instagram feed and you may even spot mine!

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  • I applaud you, Emilienne. This post will help so many others who have worries and questions they don’t like to ask. I need to be as brave and have my Alice tattoo done 😂

    Vicky on

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