10/2/2014

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Health

'Sometimes it looks like the nipple is raised, but there's nothing there'

'Sometimes it looks like the nipple is raised, but there's nothing there'

VENETA, Ore. - Tina Bryson doesn't have what some would consider a normal job.

"I feel I was gifted the ability to do this, and so it's my way of giving back," said the cosmetic tattoo artist.

Breast cancer survivors like Jackie Madden come to Bryson after losing their nipples during a mastectomy.

"It's a loss of femininity to a woman," Madden said, "and when you get it back, it makes a world of difference to you."

Madden was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006. She had a mastectomy and breast reconstruction a year later.

"They looked normal," she said, "but they had nothing on them."

That is where Bryon comes in.

"I tattoo a nipple on there," she said. "It's called repigmentation at the nipple, or areola reconstruction."

Bryson takes a washers like you would buy at the hardware store and uses them to trace a design on her clients.

"The outside would be the aerola, and the inside would be the nipple nodule depending on how they want it to be," Bryson said.

She then tattoos the faux nipple on the breast - free of charge.

"It's very natural looking," she said. "Sometimes it looks like the nipple is raised, but there's nothing there. It's just ink."

For survivors like Madden, it means getting a piece of herself back.

"It's like bam! Cancer, I finally got rid of you," she said. "I finally took back everything you took away from me."

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