Guest Blog:  3D Nipple Tattooing

Some patients have asked about how to improve the appearance of failed free nipple grafts. At The Gender Confirmation Center, it’s extremely rare to have a complete failure of a nipple graft, and tattooing or nipple reconstruction is an uncommon event. However, it’s good to know what is out there for nipple reconstruction.

An innovative approach to nipple reconstruction is to have a nipple tattoo made that uses optical illusion to create a very realistic 3-D type appearance, even though the skin is still quite flat. Dr. Mosser was contacted by Garnet Tattoo in San Diego, and would love to share the information they sent as a guest blog to this website. There are experts in 3D nipple reconstruction through tattooing in both San Diego and Minneapolis. Take a look!

Shane Wallin is the proprietor and lead artist at Garnet Tattoo in San Diego. He has been tattooing for over 20 years. About 15 years ago, he opened his first tattoo shop in Minneapolis, MN: Twilight Tattoo. He didn’t get his start specializing in FTM/N tattoos, or even 3D nipple tattoos. But that is where he has found the utmost fulfillment with his art.

It began in 2012, when he was approached by a breast cancer survivor (and double mastectomy patient) for a “bra” tattoo. At first he treated it like any other tattoo. Working with the design challenges. Moving with body lines and complex curves. Little did Shane know at the time how much it would change her life.

His specialization in 3D nipple and areola work invariably led to providing realistic nipples for patients who have undergone FTM chest surgery. Sometimes nipples are gravely affected by tissue death, and patients want a tattoo as a replacement “nipple.” Shane assures his clientele that their nipples look as natural as possible following their respective surgery.

Garnet Tattoo provides 3D nipple tattoos and scar cover-ups in a clean, bright, confidential environment – not unlike a doctor’s office. Shane knows the sensitivity of these types of procedures, and as such, he’s made Garnet into a safe haven for those looking to correct undesired remnants of surgery.

Nipple Tattoo Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How soon after surgery can I get 3D nipples/Areola reconstruction through tattooing?
    The consensus is 5-6 months if there are no complications with the healing process. If you are unsure we encourage a visit to your surgeon to ask their opinion.
  2. What if I am healed, but the scar is still pinkish or discolored?
    Not all scars are white. As long as there is no itching and you are healed, we can tattoo in an area with pink coloring or discoloration.
  3. What should I expect the day of my appointment?
    You will have a two hour time slot. We will discuss your options, size, placement and pigment choices. The process itself will take about an hour. You may or may not feel pain depending on your surgeries and natural pain tolerance. I have a private studio that is serene and safe. You are welcome to bring friends or family.
  4. How should I prepare for my appointment?
    Give yourself more than enough time to get to my location. Common sense prevails that you should get a good night’s rest. Eat a healthy meal about 3 hours before your scheduled appointment. If you are able to use ibuprofen I would suggest taking it with a meal prior to your appointment. It helps greatly with both discomfort and swelling. I know you may be nervous, but no alcohol or marijuana use beforehand please.
  5. How long until I am fully healed?
    A typical healthy tattoo candidate heals in 3 weeks. Results can vary by age, genetics, and medical circumstances.
  6. What do you charge for 3D Nipple Areola pigmentation?
    My fee is $600 a set or $450 for a single. If need be, it includes a touch up to ensure dimension and consistency. Many times it is not necessary, but I want my clients feel secure with my process. I accept credit cards and cash.
  7. How do I schedule a consultation or appointment with you?
    San Diego- Garnet Tattoo- 619-942-9737
    Minneapolis*- Twilight Tattoo- 612-722-2233

*Alli does call backs on Mondays only*
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