Artist’s incredibly realistic, 3D-like tattoos are helping breast cancer survivors feel like themselves after surgery

Artist’s incredibly realistic, 3D-like tattoos are helping breast cancer survivors feel like themselves after surgery

Nipple tattoo artist and breast cancer survivor Stacie-Rae Weir. (Photo: Amanda Sneddon Photography/Yahoo Lifestyle)

mastectomy surgery for breast cancer, most women no longer have nipples and areolas. There are a few exceptions: Some women are candidates for nipple-sparing mastectomy in which they can keep their original nipple and areola (this is the kind of surgery Angelina Jolie had in 2013), and others may opt for expensive and extensive nipple-reconstruction surgery in which a plastic surgeon creates a new “nipple” out of skin from elsewhere on a woman’s body.’ data-reactid=”33″>After mastectomy surgery for breast cancer, most women no longer have nipples and areolas. There are a few exceptions: Some women are candidates for nipple-sparing mastectomy in which they can keep their original nipple and areola (this is the kind of surgery Angelina Jolie had in 2013), and others may opt for expensive and extensive nipple-reconstruction surgery in which a plastic surgeon creates a new “nipple” out of skin from elsewhere on a woman’s body.

But for the vast majority of women, even if they go on to get natural-looking breast implants post-mastectomy, their remade pair will be blank in front — just like a Barbie doll’s.

BRCA mutation, she had a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. When she looked into the nipple tattooing that was available at the time, she didn’t like what she found — a lack of formalized training for artists, inks that quickly faded, and no regulation.’ data-reactid=”36″>Weir knows this firsthand. In 2012, after her mother died from ovarian cancer and Weir found out she was positive for a BRCA mutation, she had a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. When she looked into the nipple tattooing that was available at the time, she didn’t like what she found — a lack of formalized training for artists, inks that quickly faded, and no regulation.

website ($25 per dozen). Some are superrealistic, while others are shaped like hearts or stars or are “pierced.” (See how they work). “I wished I had them after my mastectomy. That nipple-free stage is a tough one to endure,” she says.’ data-reactid=”86″>Weir also used her friends’ nipple pictures as references for hand-drawn temporary nipple tattoos called Nipplebacks, which she sells on her website ($25 per dozen). Some are superrealistic, while others are shaped like hearts or stars or are “pierced.” (See how they work). “I wished I had them after my mastectomy. That nipple-free stage is a tough one to endure,” she says.

The artist had her own permanent set of nipples and areolae tattooed a couple of years ago by Rae, her protégé, who now has her own tattoo studio doing both decorative work and nipple tattooing.

“I love that we can use our powers for good, helping someone to feel healthy, whole, beautiful, and complete again,” Weir says. “I love connecting with my community of women and men who have been through so much. They come to see me when they are ready to celebrate the finish line of the hard times they have passed.”

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