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We all have those old friends that we lose track of and then reunite with through the magic of Facebook. After at least 18 or so years, I was able to reunite with an old friend from Jr. High. I was excited to catch up with the bookish girl who turned on my high school addiction to the Vampire Chronicles. However, shortly after we caught up, I began to watch her updates helplessly as she posted very open and honestly about her current struggle with breast cancer. Even after it would ultimately end in a double mastectomy, she kept her sense of humor.
So after my third time watching our interview with Alexis Kovacs at the Star of Texas Tattoo Revival (episode 88), I was really inspired to write about some of the issues that Alexis talked about at the end of the interview when she revealed her skills in cosmetic tattooing. However, having no experience with cosmetic tattooing, particularly the nipple tattoos, I turned to my old friend. At this point she has had full breast reconstruction and undergone cosmetic tattoos to replace the areola on both breasts.
She was kind enough to answer the following questions:
Who did your tattoos and what is their website?
Vinnie Myers at http://www.vinniemyersteam.com/
Was it in their studio or through a doctor’s office?
In their studio.
Approximate time to get the tattoo?
Did you notice anything unusual or different from a regular workstation setup of your artist?
Aside from the use of flesh toned colors it was all the same.
Did your insurance cover it?
In theory, but they never reimbursed me.
How did you find the artist?
CNN, I think. It was about 3 years ago, so I can’t remember. I went to him about a year after my mastectomy and he recommended another reconstruction, as my first one did not look good. I’m so glad he did, as I went to St. Charles Surgical Center in New Orleans and have been nothing but pleased with their work.
Why did you choose the cosmetic tattoo instead of the areola reconstruction surgery?
Areola reconstruction involves twisting scar tissue into a permanent knot on your chest, so you can never not have party hats, and I didn’t want to constantly be self-conscious about that. The 3D nipple tattoo looks real, aside from projecting outward from the skin.
What did your boyfriend or husband think of it?
I tend to show them to everyone, and every person who has seen them thinks they’re amazing and very real looking.
Are you happy with your decision?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t change a thing.
So that was her experience. I do have a little bit of an issue with the fact that she was charged that much for what is clearly quick work for this guy, but as she said, she wouldn’t change a thing. I think it is probably in a tolerable grey area, since it is an area of specialization for this guy and he is keeping it below the $1000 mark. However, I’ll let you make your own conclusions.
I would like to reiterate that Alexis works through the actual Doctor’s office for multiple reconstructive specialists. The benefit of doing it this way as opposed to making clients come to her studio is that she can bill through the surgeon who can then file directly with insurance.
Finally, I’ll close with reminding you that this is an area of specialization just like a specialization in a chosen style. However, depending upon location, most places do require extra training and licensing in this area. Plus Alexis insinuated to a few “trade secrets”.
So I’ll let you chime in. Do you do cosmetic tattooing? If so, what are the most common areas you work on? How are laws in your area different for cosmetic tattooing than for regular tattoos? Do you work with or in conjunction with a Doctor? Is there anything I missed that you would like to add to or elaborate on?
Lastly, I’d like to say a special thanks to my friend Melanie….one tough chick.
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