Breast Cancer Survivor’s Tattoo Is a Beautiful Way to Hide Her Scars

mastectomy tattoo
Tina Bafaro/powerHouse Books

Creative, meaningful tattoos are the best -- and this mastectomy tattoo is, hands down, one of the most creative and meaningful tattoos ever. Featured originally on the Facebook page of Freshly Inked magazine, the text beneath the photo read: "This tattoo was collaboratively designed by Inga Duncan Thornell and Tina Bafaro, her tattooist, to cover the scars from Inga’s bilateral mastectomy." Not only is that one of the coolest ideas for a tattoo (not to mention a beautiful piece of artwork), it's ultimately a less-invasive alternative to traditional reconstructive surgery.

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Not all reconstructive surgery involves the use of implants (saline is advised over silicone following a mastectomy), but it often does -- and there are plenty of potential complications to consider. These are just a few listed on Cancer.org:

1. Implants often do not last a lifetime. You may need more surgery to remove and/or replace your implant later. In fact, up to half of implants used for breast reconstruction have to be removed, modified, or replaced in the first 10 years.

2. You can have problems with breast implants. They can break (rupture) or cause infection or pain. Scar tissue may form around the implant (capsular contracture), which can make the breast harden or change shape, so that it no longer looks or feels like it did just after surgery.

3. Routine mammograms to screen for breast cancer on the remaining breast will be more difficult if you have a breast implant there -- you'll need more X-ray shots of the breast, and the compression may be more uncomfortable.

Of course, every woman should absolutely make the choice that's right for her -- whether that means a tattoo or implants or a tissue flap procedure or nothing at all. I'm just impressed and inspired by this particular woman's choice and the people who supported it.

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