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

Health PsychologyFirst, 'Thank You' for taking the time to visit this site. I'll be happy to answer almost question(s) you may have that I am qualified to answer.


My name is Carolyn Campo. I am 60+ 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 Specialist and a hospital administrator. My advanced degrees are in Health Psychology and management. After retiring at age 59, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of learning to paint. I became pretty good at it over the past six years. I paint landscapes and lots of birds.  You can view in my office.

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in March, 2016 (six months after I initially brought my concern to a dismissive 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. Even those who have the surgical reconstruction of areola can benefit from pigmentation once the scar tissue loses its color.  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 whose work provided the 

3-D appearance that my physician could recommend.  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 talent.


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 art skills 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 (certainly not inexpensive) and finally opened my business.  I practice with a partner who performs Medical Massage as well as lymphedema treatment in tiny, picturesque Richfield, North Carolina.  We're located about 50 minutes east of Charlotte just outside of  Albemarle.

Since I began this work, reconstructive physicians have begun referring patients other than those requiring areola restoration.  To date I have also worked with individuals who have lost portions of the body that can be benefitted with tattoo restoration.  I am now performing permanent lip pigmentation (lipstick) and hair-stroke eyebrow tattooing.  These two techniques open the door for restoration of cleft lip and other procedures.  In the near future, we will be offering micropigmentation of the scalp to address hair loss as well as permanent makeup correction.


If you or anyone you know is interested in finding out more about these processes, seeing more photos, or having a quick conversation via telephone, I'll be happy to oblige.  Check out below for a quick guide 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.


​​Work  Area

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.  This is not a typical tattoo shop.  My partners and I 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 are both Federal and State statutes regarding insurance payment for this.

What clients are saying...

I am not sure I can sufficiently put into words my gratitude for the life-changing event that happened for me this past Tuesday! I mean, come on!! My breast tattoos look so natural, even from the first glimpse and when you were finished, WOW, I could hardly believe my eyes. Your talent and skill are second to none, in my book, and I cannot thank you enough. You gave me back something that I thought was gone for good - my self esteem and feeling beautiful when I look in the mirror. What you do for breast cancer survivors is truly a gift, and because of that gift I am ready to close the book on that chapter of my life! I will always think of you as my angel on earth...and I most certainly believe that is what you are. I am convinced that what you do for breast cancer survivors is your path and your purpose sent directly from the heavens above.

Thank you Carolyn - so very much!

Regina

Carolyn is a blessing to women that have gone through devastation in their lives. I went through breast cancer with a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, leaving me feeling less of the person I once was. I thank God for getting me through my treatments and for sparing my life. I also thank God for giving me direction to get in touch with Carolyn. She is such a amazing, caring and compassionate woman and a true inspiration to me. She uses her talent by helping others with precise restoration art that is truly unbelievable. God gave her artistic talent and she has chose to use it for people like me, and I’m so grateful for her. I cannot say enough or thank her enough for helping me and giving back the self image that in my mind was fading. Carolyn is a true angel, with such a big heart and understanding of my breast cancer journey, and self image. I not only consider Carolyn my restoration artist, but also my friend, and I’m so blessed to have met her.

Kim Pierce

Contact Carolyn for scheduling and costs:


TelephoneTelephone:  704-310-1554                       

 

email:   [email protected]

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