Areola & Nipple Restoration

3D Nipple Tattooing, Areola Tattooing, Unilateral Areola Tattooing


Hope Esthetics used  micropigmentation to create the illusion of a natural, three-dimensional areola and nipple.  

For women who have undergone mastectomies (whether it be a DIEP flap, latissimus flap, or implant reconstruction—with or without nipple reconstruction) this intricate pigmentation and nipple restoration helps you to recover physically and emotionally from the scars of breast cancer.

This procedure can also help men and women who have had a mastopexy or have irregularly shaped or have faded areolas.

Areola tattooing can allow for a more natural appearance, significantly boosting self-confidence. 

Micropigmentation and 3D areola restoration can be applied in multiple ways: 

Unilateral: We mirror the color and shape of your existing areola and nipple area to create a “matching” areola and nipple on the reconstructed breast. 

Bilateral: We select a shade that either matches your previous areola color or we create a new and improved shade, if you want a lighter or darker shade areola. Then we will select your ideal size and shape.

3D Tattooing: If you have not undergone nipple reconstruction our 3D tattooing will provide you with an extremely realistic areola and nipple. This 3D process can be performed either unilaterally or bilaterally.

Appointment Details:

  •  Appointment length: 2 hours

  • Healing time: 3 to 5 days

  • Numbing Used? Yes, a pre-numb agent and a secondary anesthetic can be used if there is any discomfort or pain.

  • Actual tattooing time: 30-45 minutes

  • Lasts for: 8 to 10 years

  • Colorboosts. Touch ups recommended as needed

  • Follow up appointment needed? in most cases, yes.

  • Is the first follow up included with appointment? Yes 



The first step of your areola tattoo is the consultation. Once you complete the general medical history form and the tattoo consent form, we'll discuss your expectations and your reconstruction history. If you have any questions we will take time to review all the information and to answer all of your questions as best as we can. 


Before photos are required. Your face will not be included, but photos of your areola restoration are mandatory for our records.  Once we have before pictures completed, we move on to the design part, where we select the size, placement, and color/ shade of your tattoo.


The next step in the appointment is the actual tattooing. Each areola is completed in approximately 20- 25 minutes. If you have any discomfort, we simply apply a topical anesthetic to add comfort. 


Following the tattooing phase, we'll take "after" photos and then I'll apply bandaging which should be keep on for 3 days.  All aftercare instructions will be reviewed with you and all/any remaining questions about healing will be answered. 


 While everyone's pain tolerance is different, most patients report little to no pain.   Depending on the type of breast reconstruction you had, there may be decreased sensation of the skin --especially with flap reconstructions- this helps with discomfort or pain. After your areola tattoo,  you might experience discomfort that is comparable  to a minor sunburn for a few days. this is normal and alll apart of the healing process.  During the nipple tattoo, if you do experience any discomfort, we can and will apply a topical lidocaine anesthetic.


 If you have a spouse/support member/friend who can lend encouragement and input on the shape, design, and color of your 3D areola tattoo, we highly suggest bringing a support person with you.  However, if you are more comfortable coming alone for your areola restoration, you can work directly with the artist to determine what is best for your nipple tattoo.  Please do not bring guests under the age of 18. Please limit Guests to 2. 


 You should schedule your service once you are completely healed from any/ all surgery or invasive procedures. You should not have any additional revisions scheduled and you must receive approval for areola tattooing from your surgeon.  You must be fully healed with no scabbing remaining. You should not schedule an areola tattoo sooner than a minimum of 12 weeks post-op.  Regardless of the number of weeks you wait post-op (12, 16, 20+ weeks etc.), it is imperative that ALL incisions must be fully healed--without any scabbing and all residual swelling must be gone. 

While you may be eager to put the finishing touches on your reconstruction, we highly recommend waiting 3 months (ideal for implant reconstruction) or 5 months (for flap reconstruction) to allow healing to occur and the scars to settle.  Your tattoo is the finishing touch and you want your breast to be fully healed so that you will have excellent results. Please don't rush it.

Can It Be Covered By Insurance / HSA Funds?


The Women's Health and Cancer Rights Act of 1998 requires insurance to cover post-mastectomy reconstruction, including areola/nipple tattooing.  Hope Esthetics  will be able to issue a Letter of Medical Necessity with the appropriate recognized billing codes so that you may submit for reimbursement from your insurance.   

Funds from your HSA are also a great way to cover the cost of areola restoration.

What is the Downtime?

Unlike nipple reconstruction, the healing process with areola tattooing is very simple. There is no down time. Your nipple tattoo will heal for 3 days beneath a waterproof  bandage. Then once you remove it, simply keep it clean and dry for 7 days while applying an unscented moisturizer.
Restoration Tattoo results can last anywhere from 8-10 years... to a lifetime with proper care and touch ups.