Tattooing the Ta-Ta's...Take that Breast Cancer!

As a Breast Cancer survivor, I know first-hand how devastating the result of treatment can be.  Learn more about why I chose micro-pigmentation (tattoo) to complete my reconstruction and why I learned it to help others.

My Story

First, 'Thank You' for taking the time to visit this site. I'll be happy to answer just about any question(s) you may have.


My name is Carolyn Campo. I am 63 years old and spent a large part of my career as a Registered Respiratory Therapist working in the ICU/Surgical Heart/ER setting of hospitals providing life support and related therapeutics. I later went into Sleep Medicine and became both a Behavioral Sleep Therapist and a hospital administrator. My advanced degrees are in Management and Health Psychology. After retiring at age 59, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of learning to paint. I became pretty good at it over the past five years. I paint landscapes and lots of birds.

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer on the Ides of March, 2016 (six months after I initially brought my concern to a clearly negligent gynecologist). My cancer by then was advanced and metastatic. I required mastectomy (I opted for bilateral) along with lymph node dissection, months of chemotherapy, and weeks of daily radiation. My course was complicated with infection and multiple surgeries. In the end, I chose reconstruction in order to not be constantly reminded of the cancer and trauma I had undergone. The choices presented for nipple and areola reconstruction made it clear to me that I would opt for the micro-pigmentation (tattoo) option. Many people have opted to not have nipple/areola reconstruction or tattoo at all. For me, the "Barbie Boobies" were just another reminder of the cancer every time I got out of the shower or dressed. I wanted it done.


I had to travel eight hours by car to have my breast mounds tattooed by arguably the best guy in the business.  I was delighted and thrilled by the result as was my doctor. I have since returned for a touch-up.  There was just no one in North Carolina (that any of us knew of) who provided the 

3-D appearance.  I was very fortunate that my husband and I had the means to travel and to pay for the work.  I was grateful and yet felt sorry that others were not able to access his talents.


Slowly an idea started forming that perhaps I could do this.  It took about a year for the idea to germinate and I started doing research to see if my skill set and talents could come together to make this possible for other women.  I took a leap of faith (Oh, what the hell!  Life is too short anyway!) and reached out to someone who taught 3-D Paramedical Tattooing...who happened to live in Israel.  I traveled to Miami, met with him, took the training, practiced for a year, bought the equipment (NOT cheap) and finally opened my business.  I practice with two other partners (Medical Massage and Permanent Makeup) in tiny, picturesque New London, North Carolina.  We're located about 50 minutes east of Charlotte just outside Albemarle.


If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more about the process, seeing photos, or having a quick conversation via telephone, I'll be happy to oblige.  Check out the following pages regarding the process and how to contact me.


Carolyn


THE PROCESS



I will guide you through the entire process from placement and size, to pigment color selection and after care. Every person is different, therefore a trained eye is necessary to determine what will be necessary to accomplish the best result. Scar patterns, skin thickness, scar tissue, placement, and prior medical history come into play when deciding how to proceed for optimal results. Mine is a collaborative process so we will begin with a consultation. This can be accomplished via video if distance is a consideration but will ideally be done in person.


The benefits of 3-D nipple tattooing cannot be underestimated. The psychological aspect of NOT being reminded of breast cancer every day is huge. I can create a seemingly three-dimensional picture which gives the illusion of projection without the need for nipple reconstruction.  You may also feel an increased confidence in your appearance when at the gym, the beach or intimate situations.  Whatever your reason, it is a good one.


I will custom mix a color that is complementary to your skin tone based on the Fitzpatrick Skin Phototype system. The decision regarding areola size is based on a proportional scale related to the size of your breast. These steps ensure the most natural color tone and realistic result. Your input is critical with the understanding that we can come close but absolutely not replicate Mother Nature.


You must be at least six (6) months removed from the last breast procedure/surgery and at least six (6) months removed from your last radiation treatment of the breast/chest. These steps go a long way toward reducing the unlikely but possible event of infection.


FAQ'S


1. Does it hurt?


In most cases, the client does not feel any pain. Everyone’s sensitivity is different and, depending on your particular surgery, there may be some small amount of sensation but it usually is minimal or only mildly uncomfortable.


2. I had nipple reconstruction... can I still get tattooed?


Yes, although there are occasions when the pigment does not take as evenly on the reconstructed nipple. While the reconstructed nipple as well as the area around it can still be tattooed, follow-up visits may be needed to ensure adequate pigment saturation in that area.


3. How long do I have to wait after surgery to have the procedure done?


We require a minimum of 6 months to pass after the date of your final surgery and/or nipple reconstruction.


4. How long does it take for the tattoo area to heal?


Healing times vary depending on the individual. This being said, most people usually heal in 7-10 days. Some slight scabbing or skin flaking will occur; but this is normal. A thin coat of antibacterial ointment should be applied several times a day during the healing process. A complete guide to aftercare is provided as well as verbal instruction.


5. How long does the procedure take?


It typically takes 1.5 to 2 hours. This includes layout and pigment mixing. The actual work time is about 45-50 minutes per side. Factors such as extra time required to mix and match an existing areola or temporary non-permanent art prior to micro-pigmentation can add to the time.


6. How long will the micro-pigmentation last?


The result will last for many, many years. Some fading may occur but in most cases will be minimal. I try to pigment the area lighter rather than darker so that if it needs to be darkened we can add. I cannot take color off so I will start in a place where I can add more if necessary.  Ideally, I would like to see the client again in 30 days to evaluate the work.


7. Do you use sterile needles and equipment?


ALL of our needles are single use, sterile and disposable. Pigment is poured into disposable containers that are not reused. The machine and all surfaces are covered with a protective film to avoid cross contamination


8. Do you have private rooms where the procedure is done?


Absolutely. YOU are the only person in the office during your procedure. This is not a typical tattoo shop. We have designed our environment from a woman’s point of view. Therefore you have privacy, cleanliness and a beautiful spa environment for this most intimate procedure.

You can bring as many people with you as you like, however only one additional person can be in the room with you during your procedure. NO CHILDREN (i.e., that is no person under age 18) in shop.


9. Can I use my insurance to pay for the procedure?


We are not health care providers and not able to bill insurance directly. This being said, I will provide you with an itemized receipt, including the CPT Codes necessary for insurance to process. Some clients have submitted to insurance for reimbursement and have been successful. We are unable to guarantee that they will cover this, but we will help in any way we can.


Do not hesitate to involve the state insurance board in North Carolina as there is a statute regarding insurance payment for this.

CONTACT for scheduling and costs:


TelephoneTelephone:  704-310-1554                       

 

email:   [email protected]