Plastic Surgery

Nipple and Areola Enhancement

Nipple and areola enhancement is a specialty within micropigmentation, better known as cosmetic tattooing. The process involves embedding organic pigment beneath the skin to create a natural and permanent result.

The Division of Plastic Surgery at Penn is very fortunate to have one of the only tattoo artists in the area specializing in 3D nipple tattoos. Nipple and areola enhancement is often the final procedure and step towards completing breast reconstruction.

What to Expect

Our micropigmentation specialist implants the pigment by hand or by using a machine, depending on the treatment chosen. Before and during the procedure, the area is numbed. Most people say that the procedure is virtually painless.

Who is a Good Candidate?

Micropigmentation is also commonly used following breast reconstruction. Many patients choose to have the areola rebuilt to match their natural breast. After selecting the proper color, our technician measures and outlines the area creating a beautiful and natural look.


As with any cosmetic procedure, micropigmentation carries risks, which can include infection, allergic reactions, granulomas, and keloid formations. Precautions also must be taken during future MRIs.

Individuals with certain medical conditions, like lupus or dry eye diabetes, may require written permission from their doctor before having the procedure.

Recovery and Maintenance

During the first week after the first treatment, the pigment can be expected to fade by approximately 50 percent. A reapplication, about two weeks later, will reveal the final results.

Because the pigment is applied so close to the top of the skin, many patients require a touch-up about once a year.

Your aesthetician will also talk with you about caring for your treated skin. Using products containing aloe vera, Retin A or glyolic acid can cause the tattoo to fade more quickly. Fair skinned patients can also expect the tattoo to fade more rapidly.

Next Steps

To schedule a consultation call 800-789-7366 or request an appointment online.