Nice to be back on here!  As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.  Every day I think about various things I want to write on my blog and intend to do so every night.  But the sun rises, sets, and I haven’t made time to sit down and commit anything to post.  So here I am two weeks after having my areolar tattoos done and this backlog of thoughts, feelings, and ramblings about my tattooing process.  So I’ll start from the day of the tattoos.


I went into the reconstructive surgery clinic nervous as hell.  It wasn’t nervousness about pain – because I still have almost no sensation in my Noobs.  Also, I’ve been through dozen of tattoo sittings and have a pretty well established pain threshold for the whole thing.  I was nervous because I was feeling pretty damn good about the aesthetic of my reconstructed breasts and nipples as they were, and I didn’t want to mess with a good thing.  So, here they are pre-tattoos:


Reconstructed nipples before areolar tattoos.

You can see (hopefully) from the photos that the reconstructed nipples alone look pretty convincing as “complete nipples” – or whatever the correct way is to convey, “looks a lot like natural knockers”.  They healed really well, my scars aren’t very pronounced, and I ended up with a good protrusion for the nipple.  The best part was I could wear a tank top (with built in bra) without concern of pigment or protrusion showing through:

Healed, reconstructed nipple


Healed nipple displaying protusion

Healed, pre areolar tattoos, not showing through a white tank top.


But this was just another step on the road to completion, and here I am forging on and on and on and on!  My reconstructive surgeon did not do my tattoos, which was expected.  I was told well in advance that either a resident or a P.A. would do them.  I totally forget the name of the resident that did my tattoos.  I DO recall that she is Canadian, blonde, sweet, has light hands, good pigment matching skills, and she likes to listen to music during the tattooing hour.  We got acquainted and then moved on with the show.  First she started by finding a circular outline ring that had a circumference large enough to cover my nipple reconstruction scars.  She put removable ink on the bases of them, and then sort of twisted them on for an outline:

Outlines for areolar tattoos, placed with enough circumference to cover scars.

She brought out the pigment trays and started mixing.

Pigment tray post mixing

When she thought she had a good match, she put a little schmear on the Noobie and we gave it a test photo op:


Pigment test for color match before tattooing begins.

We were pleased with the color match up, so we moved on with the tattooing.  At my last appointment with him, Dr. Louie gave me a prescription for topical lidocaine but I didn’t use it because I don’t have much sensation where my tattoos were being done.  I do have some returning sensation on the perimeters of the Noobs, but not anywhere near the areolar sites.  So other than some lively discussion and the usual impatience on my part, the tattooing was really a non-event.  That is until I saw the results, with which I was really pleased:

Right areolar tattoo complete


Left areolar tattoo complete

They looked good, right?  So I got all bandaged up and was sent on my merry way with some Radia Gel to apply in the healing days, non-stick gauze pads, and Tegaderm strips (to adhere the gauze pads and cover the Radia Gel).

Day 1 post tattooing, all bandaged up, ready for the 1st wash.

Here is where I think things went astray:  the after care.  During my tattoo session, we were discussing what I historically used on my run-of-the mill tattoos during healing and how I cared for them.  After getting my “normal” tattoos, I was lightly bandaged and told to leave my tattoo covered for the rest of the day, wash with luke warm water and gentle soap the following day, and apply a very light layer of Eucerin or Aquaphor for the next 5 days, then lotion as needed for dryness over however long it takes the itching/healing to be complete.  No scratching, scraping, Neosporin, etc.

So when my tattoos were done, I was bandaged up with Radia Gel, gauze, and Tegaderm strips.  The Tegaderm strips did not let my skin breathe at all.  I know that you need to keep an “open wound” covered to prevent infection, but I mean nothing was getting into those bad boys.  Not even oxygen.  I was instructed to leave the bandages on for a day, then remove them, gently cleanse, and reapply.  When I took my bandages off the next day, pools of liquid poured out of my bandages.  It looked to be comprised of the Radia Gel and 80% of the pigment from my tattoos.   I hopped into the shower, used an indirect spray and let the water run over my Noobs, patted dry, and went through the dressing ritual.

Day 1 post tattoos, Left areola, bandages off.

Day 1 post tattoos, Right areola, bandages off.

The Radia Gel is a pretty light/thin feeling product.  The instructions state that it should be applied to the area 3 – 5 times a day.  This is a problem when used in conjunction with the Tegaderm strips.  The strips completely adhere to the gauze and skin and create a seal.  So whenever the gel needed to be reapplied I would have to start all over again with the dressings.  I think that the strips are also too confining, if that’s the appropriate word.  I felt like my tattoos would have healed better and retained some of the pigment had the dressing been more breathable and allowed some ventilation instead of being completely sealed in.  But I wanted to follow the instructions I was given and see how things went.  Turns out, poorly – at best.  I now have very little pigment left in my skin and will have to start, just about, from scratch when I go back in.

Day 3 post tattoos, healing

Day 7 post tattoos, Left

Day 7 post tattoos, Right

Out of all the steps in this journey for things to go a little wrong, I feel like the tattooing was the best place for it to happen.  Had I had some failure at the portion of my breast or nipple reconstruction (like my seemingly endless fear of necrotic tissue), I would’ve probably gone to pieces.  This, fortunately, is an easy fix.  So, I will go marching back into the fray to give areolar tattoos another shot in about two months. Until then, this is what we’re looking like just for now: