3-D Nipple Areola Tattooing

This specialized type of tattoo can create the appearance of a nipple and areola.


Nipple areola tattooing can add natural pigment to a reconstructed nipple. It can also create the illusion of a three-dimensional nipple on its own. Tattooing is an in-office procedure.

Three-dimensional tattooing is an excellent option for patients with radiation-associated skin damage or other skin quality issues. It also works well for patients who are hesitant to undergo a nipple areola reconstruction.

Types of 3-D Nipple Areola Tattooing Procedures

Tattooing A Reconstructed Nipple Areola

Tattooing adds natural color to a reconstructed nipple areola.

Three-dimensional Nipple Areola Tattoo

Highly trained tattoo artists can use tattooing alone to create the appearance of a three-dimensional nipple in patients who do not have a reconstructed nipple.

Procedure details:

  • A specialized tattoo artist marks the reconstructed breast 
  • Local anesthetic can be used to make the patient more comfortable if needed
  • In cases where only one nipple tattoo is required, the artist will mix pigments to match the existing nipple
  • Patients undergoing bilateral tattoos can mix pigments to either match their old nipples or create a new color that matches their skin tone
  • The pigment is injected using a tattoo gun
  • Patients may come back for multiple sessions to reach the desired color

Risks & Benefits

There are few risks and minimal downtime associated with nipple areola tattooing. After care generally involves little more than ointment application. It is important to know that it takes several weeks for the tattoo to fully heal and reveal its permanent color. It is also important to select a medical tattoo artist who has experience tattooing nipples.

Overall, this simple and effective procedure helps many patients finalize their breast reconstruction.