A breast cancer diagnosis can have a deep impact on a woman’s body image, especially if treatment involves a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Some women choose to remain “flat” after getting breast tissue removed for a mastectomy, while others opt for reconstruction.
There is no right or wrong decision, as long as you do what you feel is best for you.
Even with reconstruction, breasts aren’t the same as they were before a mastectomy. There may be permanent changes like loss of sensation, scarring, or difference in sizing and feel.
The absence of nipples can be difficult to come to terms with as well — that’s where people like Kris Fernicola come in.
Fernicola is a paramedical tattoo artist at Restoration Body Art in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. She provides high-quality medical tattoos that mimic the look of real nipples.
“This is a very important part of the reconstruction process,” Fernicola said. “This finishes off the great work doctors do and covers up the scarring with well defined, realistic looking nipples and areolas.”
Fernicola’s mom fought breast cancer two separate times. After her second diagnosis in 2009, Fernicola decided that she wanted to help women like her mom.
She was already a talented artist, having studied at the Art Students League of New York, honing her skills in anatomy, portraits, and realism.
Then she began training to become a paramedical tattoo artist, and also worked as a wig stylist and makeup artist for an organization called Look Good Feel Better. The charity helps women going through cancer deal with the effects of cancer treatment like radiation and chemo.
Now Fernicola is a sought-after tattoo artist for women who have battled breast cancer. She specializes in 3D areola tattooing and is certified from the American Academy of Micropigmentation.
She uses special shading techniques to give her artwork the appearance of being three-dimensional.
It takes about two hours to compete nipple tattoos, and the cost ranges from $600 to $1,000.
Learn more in this video.
C. Dixon likes to read, sing, eat, drink, write, and other verbs. She enjoys cavorting around the country to visit loved ones and experience new places, but especially likes to be at home with her husband, son, and dog.