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Topic: Nipple tattoos - Vinnie or my plastic surgeon?

Forum: Breast Reconstruction —

Talk with others facing decisions about whether or not to have breast reconstruction, and if so, what type and when.

Posted on: Jun 17, 2021 03:03PM

orangeflower wrote:

Hi guys. I'm at the point where it's time to look into nipple tattoos. I always assumed I would be going to Vinnie Myers or someone on his team. Today I had my one-year follow up with my plastic surgeon, and she told me that she has started doing nipple tattoos in her office. She didn't have any pictures of her work, and I'm not sure how many she's done. The pros of going to her are that it gets billed to my insurance for sure, so it would be cheaper, and I don't have to travel. The pros of seeing Vinnie or his staff is that they have a lot of experience and an established reputation for nipple tattoos. I believe he provides information so you can try to get reimbursed by insurance, but I'm not sure my insurance company would pay for any of it because he's not a medical provider. It would almost certainly be more expensive overall because of travel costs. I'm willing to pay more to get the best result, it would just be nice if I didn't have to.

Is there anything I should ask my plastic surgeon to help me make this decision? Any advice on what I should do?

Dx 1/29/2020, DCIS, Left, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/29/2020, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/29/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/25/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/14/2020 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jun 17, 2021 07:31PM DiveCat wrote:

I would ask if she could show photos of her work, and yes, find out exactly her training (or if someone else does it, their training) and a good idea of how much they have done.

I’d want to make sure the ones in her office were comparable to Vinnie in that they are 3D style tattoos (assuming you don’t have any nipples right now).

I am actually going for a second round of nipple tattoos tomorrow at my PS office (a tattooist goes in a couple times a month to do them, someone who has also done training in medical tattoos - not just nipples but also scar covering etc and got into it after her own cancer diagnosis/recovery, though not BC) but I kept my nipples so for me it is more about restoring colour I lost to them, and some trompe l’oeil to even them out a bit so 3D aspect wasn’t really required.

Hereditary High Risk, Uninformed BRCA Negative Surgery 4/23/2014 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/11/2015 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 11/13/2019 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 7/8/2020 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Surgery 12/11/2020 Reconstruction (left): Nipple tattoo; Reconstruction (right): Nipple tattoo Surgery 3/4/2021 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting
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Jun 17, 2021 07:34PM ShetlandPony wrote:

I probably should not comment as I do not have personal experience with this, but for starters I would ask:

Why don't you have photos to show me? How many have you done? Who trained you? What are your goals with this, how do you expect it to look?

2011 Stage I ITCs sn, premenopausal, Oncotype 16. 2014 Stage IV mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD 1 1/2yrs. GI/perit mets Dx 2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2014, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/other, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy
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Jun 17, 2021 08:24PM - edited Jun 17, 2021 08:26PM by orangeflower

Good idea, Pony. It's the plastic surgeon herself who would do the tattoos, and they're 3D. They said they don't have pics because my doctor just recently started offering this service, and they don't have consent from the other patients to show pictures. I'm having her fix a huge surgical scar on my abdomen next month, and they said they should have pics then. My surgeon did a good job on my reconstruction, I just think I want someone with a lot of experience doing these tattoos. I have a very agreeable personality and didn't grill her or want to hurt her feelings by going to someone else. I feel like I could see the hurt on her face when I said I was considering Vinnie. I don't like it when I make other people sad. That sounds crazy, I know! I'll make the decision based on my own best interests.

Dx 1/29/2020, DCIS, Left, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/29/2020, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/29/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/25/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/14/2020 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
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Jun 17, 2021 10:49PM ShetlandPony wrote:

No, I understand. You care how she feels. Let her know how much you appreciate her skill for your reconstruction. But do seek your best choice for the tattoos as you will live with the results.

2011 Stage I ITCs sn, premenopausal, Oncotype 16. 2014 Stage IV mets breast,liver. TaxolNEAD. Ibrance+letrozole 2yrs. Fas+afinitor nope. XelodaNEAD 2yrs. Eribulin,Doxil nope. SUMMIT FaslodexHerceptinNeratinib for Her2mut NEAD 1 1/2yrs. GI/perit mets Dx 2011, ILC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 2014, ILC, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/other, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast Surgery Lumpectomy
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Jun 18, 2021 05:52AM SummerAngel wrote:

I agree with ShetlandPony. You will be living with these tattoos, and good ones can make a huge difference. At a minimum I would ask for photos, and more than just a few. You don't want to be someone she's training on.

I did nipple reconstruction and went to Vinnie. I didn't even attempt to get a reimbursement, to me having breasts that looked as close to "normal" as possible was extremely important. I've shown them to a couple of people I'm close to and they're amazed at how real they look. I believe having this quality of reconstruction helped me move on and accept my fake breasts more quickly. That's just my experience, though.

Age at dx: 45. Oncotype, left-side tumor: 9. Right side had multifocal IDC and "extensive" LCIS. Isolated tumor cells in 1 right-side node. Dx 3/27/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 4/27/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/1/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/1/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/27/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/3/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction
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Jun 19, 2021 03:23AM - edited Jun 22, 2021 08:49AM by VegGal

It is not always a good idea to be “one of the first ones" of a procedure any medical professional does. I have also read that “medical ink" in tattoos does not have the longevity that the ink tattoo artists use does, necessitating more frequent touch ups.

You know what you will get with Vinnie.

Are cheap nipples really a bargain?

Dx 1/12/2016, DCIS, Left, <1cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2- Surgery 3/11/2016 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 6/10/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 9/8/2017 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant
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Jun 19, 2021 09:17AM orangeflower wrote:

Haha, you are right VegGal! I just needed the validation I think.

Dx 1/29/2020, DCIS, Left, 4cm, Stage 0, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/29/2020, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/29/2020, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 2/25/2020 Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/14/2020 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant

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