You may know the Vinnie Myers Team from the Today Show, YouTube, Facebook and the internet. Recently, we sat down with Paul Bessette and Trent Wyczawski – two members of the infamous foursome – to talk about nipple tattooing, their commitment to helping women face breast cancer and what patients can expect when they reach this final phase of breast reconstruction. With over 35 years of combined tattoo experience and approximately 8 years of nipple tattooing under their belts, both artists exude genuine passion and compassion when discussing their artistry and patients. With more upcoming visits to our Austin office, we hope this introduction familiarizes you with this popular and effective nipple and areola option and internationally known team of tattoo artists.
Having been touched by the realities of breast cancer as caregivers themselves, both Paul and Trent personally relate to patients undergoing breast cancer and breast reconstruction. Paul, visibly moved as he recounts the experience with his wife’s own diagnosis, explains, “I know. I did all the dressings. The drains.There’s nothing you can say to us that we won’t be receptive to and have an idea of what you’re talking about.”
Trent’s mom was also recently diagnosed, and after watching her undergo a bilateral mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction, he nods his head in agreement and offers more about their goals for patients. “We try to make it a fun experience . . . and engaging. Ultimately, we want you to be able to relax.”
“You’ll see most of our clients leave here crying, but they’re not sad,” Paul added. “When they’re no longer paying attention to the tattoos because they ‘just feel right,’ we know we did a good job. We’ve even fooled a few doctors,” they joke. So what advice do Paul and Trent have for our patients considering nipple and areola tattoos? Before they put the finishing touches on any breast reconstruction, here are a few FAQs to consider:
Both Paul and Trent agree that skin condition is the number one factor when evaluating a prospective patient. Upon feeling the skin, they are able to determine how each breast will respond to the ink. Based on their findings, they help patients make informed decisions based on the likelihood of success. Ultimately, the more healed the incisions are, the better the healing quality. Tattoo techniques may be modified to address multiple situations and/or skin conditions. “Honesty is the only policy,” they insist. “If it’s doable, we’ll do it. If it’s a bad idea, we’ll be honest with you.”
“It’s helpful to have a ‘personal wishlist,’” Paul explains. He suggests that potential patients visit the Vinnie Myers website first to learn more about the process and view photos of past clients and their outcomes. Radiation and the type of breast reconstruction performed can have the biggest impact on tattooing, for example, so each tattoo experience must be tailored to patients’ individual cases.
“We want this to be a good memory,” Trent explains, so he recommends that patients wait until they are completely satisfied with their reconstruction before entertaining the idea of advancing to the tattoo phase.
“Once you’re tattooed, it’s permanent,” Paul adds, “and you need to be happy because when you change the breast, the tattoo is affected. Ideally you should wait another 5-6 months after satisfaction because the more healed, the better the result.”
Although there’s no guarantee that an insurance company will cover the procedures offered by the Vinnie Myers team, patients are provided with an itemized receipt including insurance codes. Certain insurance systems do recognize the procedure, and coverage is progressing, but with an affordable price tag of $1200, it’s often much cheaper out-of-pocket than with insurance in a medical facility.
In the case of unilateral mastectomy, and the need for just one tattoo, the Vinnie Myers team can perform the procedure. “That’s the hardest case,” they explain, “but it can be done and look just as aesthetically pleasing.”
Tattoos are currently performed at Little Vinnie’s Tattoo in Baltimore, MD; Mecca Tattoo in Mankato, MN; a hospital setting in Boston, MA; a surgeon’s office in Plano, TX and, of course, expect to see Paul and Trent in Austin at Dr. Potter’s office every 3 to 4 months.
Interested in nipple and areola tattooing? The Vinnie Myers Team is currently scheduling appointments for June 10-13 at Dr. Potter’s office in Austin. Contact 410-876-4638 to schedule your appointment.
New nipples for breast cancer survivors.
Posted by 60 Second Docs Presents on Friday, 22 June 2018