A new areola: Nipple tattoos after cancer

After Priscilla Filippelli, 49, was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had both her breasts removed and then reconstructed.

But one thing prevented her from closing the book on cancer: areola restoration.

“It was like looking at a face without features,” Filippelli,  from New Jersey,  said of her new breasts without nipples.

When women undergo breast reconstruction, aerola reconstruction is part of the process.

In Filippelli’s case, doctors first used a skin graft from her thigh to replace her areola, but her body rejected it.

It was then that her surgeon recommended getting a tattoo.

“I had no desire to get it done until I saw pictures,” Filippelli said. “It’s as close to natural as possible.”

She met with permanent cosmetician Melany Whitney, a Pratt-educated fine artist who paints permanent areolae onto cancer survivor’s breasts.

“Women are fighting for their lives to beat breast cancer,” said Whitney, who has offices in Manhattan, New Jersey and Florida. “But they are always reminded of it, every single day, by this mound of flesh that doesn’t look like it was supposed to.”

The procedure, which consists of two two-hour tattoo sessions, creates the “illusion of protrusion,” said Whitney. She uses shading and cosmetic inks to create the illusion of a three-dimensional nipple.

“As they look at what they used to have reformed, they are happy,” Whitney said.  “It’s finally the end of their journey — and they actually see that.”

Getting ‘inked’

Whitney  uses specially designed cosmetic inks that are more subdued and natural than ordinary tattoo inks. 

She also can use a topical anesthetic if the area is sensitive, so patients feel no pain.

“We talk about what they used to look like; but now, they can decide what they would like to look like,” Whitney said.

Most out-of-network insurance will cover the nipple tattoos, which can cost up to $3,000 without coverage.

Follow Emily Anne Epstein on Twitter @EmilyatMetro.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…

International

U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…

National

Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…

National

Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…

Television

Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.

Music

Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm

Movies

Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.

Movies

Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."

NFL

3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…

NFL

3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

Wellbeing

Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…