Salisbury Foundation Trust

Nipple Tattooing /Areola Complex

Following breast reconstruction a new areola (the coloured disc surrounding the nipple) can be created using a technique referred to as “intradermal micropigmentation” – nipple tattooing.  Many women find this procedure enhances the reconstruction, reporting that they feel “whole again”.

A trained Macmillan Nurse Practitioner will carry out the procedure when your reconstructed breast has completely settled or approximately 6-8 weeks after nipple reconstruction.  Many women will need no anaesthetic at all, some a local anaesthetic cream and in the most sensitive of cases an injection of local anaesthetic (EMLA Cream).

The nipple tattooing procedure will take about an hour per nipple during which a semi-permanent pigment is injected under sterile conditions. Your practitioner will give you aftercare instructions.  Sometimes the procedure will need to be repeated. The tattoo is not permanent; how long the tattoo lasts varies in individuals.

An appointment will be required prior to tattooing in order to perform a test patch. A small amount of the tattoo pigment is introduced to the skin in order to check for allergy. Most patients chose to have this behind there ear. The nurses will advise you on what to look out for and provide their contact details to call should you have any problems.

Some women will choose not to have a nipple reconstruction and in this case tattooing can create an illusion of a nipple by 3D tattooing. Patients will need to be referred by their consultant or GP.

For further information please click here to access out Patient Information Leaflets.

Please see below some examples of our nipple tattooing.

Pre Tattoo Post Tattoo Pre Tattoo Post Tattoo


Our staff at Salisbury District Hospital have long been well regarded for the quality of care and treatment they provide for our patients and for their innovation, commitment and professionalism. This has been recognised in a wide range of achievements and it is reflected in our award of NHS Foundation Trust status. This is afforded to hospitals that provide the highest standards of care.

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Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Salisbury District Hospital, Odstock Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP2 8BJ
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