Breast Cancer Tattoos: Choosing a tattoo design after mastectomy surgery.

Apr 11, 2024 | Paradise Guides, Traditional Tattoos

Tattoo designs are a wonderful form of self expression, many people choose to have a mastectomy tattoo after mastectomy surgery and/or breast reconstruction as a way to disguise,  decorate or even celebrate their scars.

At Paradise Tattoo Studio in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire we see first-hand the impact tattooing can have on people, from decorating a scar with a beautiful piece of art to recreating a realistic 3D nipple after mastectomy surgery, tattoos can help heal a person inside and out. They can mark a milestone moment, symbolise a new beginning or celebrate a new chapter in a person’s journey; they enable people to reclaim their bodies and transform their skin into something they love, helping them to move forward, build self-esteem and boost body confidence.

Our team of talented tattoo artists are all experienced in tattooing scar tissue and understand how to approach these special tattoos after breast cancer surgery and treatments. This blog will help guide you through the tattooing and design process at Paradise Tattoo Studio and answer a lot of FAQs.

How long after surgery do I need to wait before I can have a tattoo?

It is important to allow your body to fully heal after mastectomy surgery and breast cancer treatments before embarking on a tattoo design over the area. Surgical scarring must heal and be fully matured before tattooing can be safely and effectively performed. A minimum of 12 months is recommended, but it is important to speak with your artist and allow them to assess your skin so a safe time frame can be determined, in some cases, advice from your medical team may be needed.

Can I have a mastectomy tattoo after radiotherapy and chemotherapy?

Again, it is important to allow your body and your skin time to fully recover from breast cancer treatments before having a mastectomy tattoo. At Paradise Tattoo Studio, we recommend a minimum wait time of 12 months after your final treatment of radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy before tattooing can be safely and effectively performed. This ensures your skin and immune system have fully recovered and are back to their optimal health.

Will a tattoo affect my implant?

Once you have fully healed from your surgery (a minimum of 12 months is recommended) it is perfectly safe to tattoo over a breast implant. Tattoos are placed in the upper layers of the dermis, meaning your implant is perfectly safe and protected from the tattooing process.

Can I have a tattoo over my breast reconstruction?

Again, once you have fully healed from your surgery (a minimum of 12 months is recommended) it is perfectly safe to tattoo over breast reconstruction.
The skin is more delicate after mastectomy surgery and different types of breast reconstructions, it is important to visit a tattoo artist who is experienced and knowledgeable in this specialist field. All our artists at Paradise Tattoo Studio in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire are trained and experienced in mastectomy tattooing. 

I did not have breast reconstruction after my mastectomy surgery, can I still have a tattoo?

Absolutely! Our artists at Paradise Tattoo Studio love creating mastectomy tattoo designs for all types of mastectomy surgery, reconstruction and no reconstruction. 

It is important to allow the skin and scar tissue to fully heal and mature after your mastectomy surgery (a minimum of 12 months is recommended) before embarking on your new mastectomy tattoo or any Scar cover-up tattoos.

How do I decide on a mastectomy tattoo design?

The possibilities are endless with tattooing, our artists are all dedicated to bringing your ideas to life with their artistic flare and creative vision.
We cover all styles of tattooing at Paradise Tattoo Studio, creating a custom bespoke and unique design that will complement your body shape. Our website is full of useful information and images of our work to help inspire you, you can also visit our Instagram page for even more examples of everyone’s work: @paradise_cheltenham

We recommend gathering some ideas and images for your mastectomy tattoo, the internet is a great place to look for inspiration. This will allow us to understand and identify your vision, we can then pair you with our most suitable artist to help bring your ideas to life. A consultation can then be arranged at Paradise so you can meet your artist. Due to the specialist nature of a mastectomy tattoo, where possible, we always recommend an in-person consultation at Paradise Tattoo Studio. Your consultation is a perfect opportunity to chat with your artist in more detail, ask any questions you may have and start the design process together. We have a helpful blog that will guide you through our consultation process here.

How much does a mastectomy tattoo cost?

The price of your custom mastectomy tattoo will depend on the size, design and complexity of your design. Your artist will advise you in more detail at your consultation if an estimated price and/or how long it may take. Some mastectomy tattoos may be performed over multiple sessions, depending on the design and your skin. 

If you have a budget in mind, let your artist know and they can do their best to work within your means. 

Does a mastectomy tattoo hurt?

Many factors can contribute to the pain intensity of a tattoo. Mastectomy tattoos can vary depending on your surgery type, scarring and breast cancer treatments. For most people, the mastectomy area can feel less sensitive due to the nerve endings being affected by mastectomy surgery. If you are worried about the potential pain of your tattoo, speak with your artist at your consultation, we can try to adapt our approach for your tattoo to ensure any pain is manageable. 

At Paradise Tattoo Studio we do not recommend the use of numbing cream, numbing agents can alter the skin barrier and lead to complications during the tattoo and healing process.

Is it safe to get a tattoo after a mastectomy?

Once you are fully recovered from your mastectomy surgery and breast cancer treatments, and scar tissue has fully healed and matured, it is perfectly safe to have a mastectomy tattoo. 

Paradise Tattoo Studio and all its artists are fully licensed and insured. We pride ourselves on our high level of professionalism, health and hygiene and customer care. 

Specialist tattoo devices and sterile needles are used to implant high quality tattoo pigments into the upper dermis layer of the skin to create your tattoo design.

All our equipment in the studio is of the highest quality and meets all current health and safety regulations. We also provide private treatment rooms, that are wheelchair and disability friendly, for your privacy and comfort. 

What is the aftercare for a mastectomy tattoo?

Full aftercare advice will be provided to you by your artist after your tattoo is complete. You will also receive an email from the studio with all our recommended aftercare advice and instructions for your reference.
It is important to keep your tattoo clean and dry during the tattoo healing phase, quick everyday showers are fine but you will need to avoid swimming, baths, saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms and excessive exercise whilst the tattoo is healing (approximately 7-14 days).

How can I prepare for my mastectomy tattoo appointment?

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Eat a good meal at least 2 hours before your tattoo
  • Avoid alcohol for 24 hours prior to your tattoo
  • Drink plenty of water and moisturise the area regularly leading up to your appointment to ensure the skin is in optimal health
  • Bring snacks, water and a sugary drink 
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing that allow easy access to the area
  • A zip hoody, shirt or cardigan can be useful for covering yourself and keeping warm during your tattoo
  • A soft bra or crop top may be more comfortable to wear once your tattoo is complete

How can I book in for my mastectomy tattoo?

We would love to be part of this special moment in your mastectomy journey at Paradise Tattoo Studio, and bring your mastectomy tattoo ideas to life!

To being the tattoo process with us, simply fill out our tattoo enquiry form here.

We can’t wait to hear from you and welcome you to Paradise! 

Looking to visit our tattoo studio in Gloucestershire?

We have nearby on-street parking as well as multiple pay-and-display car parks nearby. Cheltenham has great Public Transport links, we’re also easily accessible from the M5 Motorway.

Heading here from Oxford or London?

Follow the A40 from Oxford into Cheltenham. 

Coming from The South – Cornwall, Devon, Bristol, Bath? Or even the Midlands – Birmingham, Staffordshire, Worcestershire?

Take junction 11 from the M5 Southbound and Northbound to get to us.

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