Oakville hospital among first in province to offer areola tattooing after breast reduction


Published October 11, 2023 at 12:08 pm

tattooing, areola, breast cancer, reduction, hospital,
A breast cancer survivor herself, Dr. Alexandra Ginty is the first physician in the region to become certified in offering areola tattooing after breast reduction. OTMH PHOTO

Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital (OTMH) is one of the first public hospitals in the province to offer cancer patients areola tattooing after breast reconstruction surgery as a physician-funded service.

A breast cancer survivor and artist herself, Dr. Alexandra Ginty is the first physician in the region to become certified in this highly specialized field.

A Family Physician and Surgical Assistant at OTMH, Dr. Ginty is the Regional Primary Care Lead Cancer Screening, for the Mississauga Halton Central West Regional Cancer Program.

While breast reconstruction post-mastectomy is covered by OHIP, areola tattooing is only covered if performed by a physician.

“A lot of people know about surgery and chemo, but they don’t put breast reconstruction into the equation,” said Dr. Ginty. “Areola tattooing is not decorative, it’s the end of the restorative phase.

“Bringing this into the hospital as a funded service is about equity and telling people we feel this is part of the process of healing…the psychological part.”

This advanced technique uses pigment to simulate the physical dimension and depth of an areola following post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.

“When you have breast cancer, every step of the way there are times when you are up and times when you are down,” said Harminder Kauldhar, a patient at the hospital. “This made me so happy. It was emotional for me, very emotional.”

The procedure, which uses state-of-the-art equipment, is performed in the outpatient medical-surgical clinic at OTMH.

“One of the areas we try to focus on is survivorship or what happens after active treatment is over,” said Sandy Garraway, Program Director, Cancer & Ambulatory Care. “This service finishes the journey; it restores women to their full selves.”

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