Introducing Marnie Rustemeyer, NYBRA’s New Resident Tattoo ArtistMay 3, 2022
We are excited to announce that NYBRA has a new, full-time, on-site restorative tattoo artist, Marnie Rustemeyer! Marnie joins NYBRA with a nuanced understanding of the breast reconstruction patient experience—because she was one.
Marnie learned that she carried a BRCA gene mutation in 2013. She underwent bilateral, risk-reducing mastectomies with implant reconstruction. In the years that followed, Marnie lived with pain and issues with implant malposition. In 2020, she underwent a revision procedure to reposition and replace her breast implants with Dr. Ron Israeli. Now, she’s making her way from NYBRA patient to NYBRA team member.
Read on for a little more on how Marnie became a restorative tattoo artist, what patients who work with her can expect, and what she hopes to accomplish at NYBRA.
What made you start doing restorative tattooing?
Marnie’s career began in banking and finance. However, her experience with mastectomy and breast reconstruction shifted her focus. After her mastectomies, she created the Billow pillow, a pillow designed for maximum comfort after mastectomy. That process included hands-on research that put her on the pulse of what breast reconstruction patients needed.
Many of the patients with whom Marnie spoke—particularly in her underserved, home community in West Virginia—were concerned about the dearth of quality nipple tattooing options. Before her career in finance took off, Marnie had intended to study art. She reflected on her own creative aptitude.
“It was a challenging and pivotal part of my life. I really had some serious contemplation and realized that I really wanted to help people with breast cancer, so I left my career in finance to become a medical tattooist.”
What makes restorative tattooing different from other types of tattoo artistry?
“Medical tattooing is unique because it helps restore the confidence in not only breast cancer survivors but also people who have scars and trauma, skin conditions.”
Restorative tattoo training and certifications address the additional complexities associated with tattooing skin after surgeries.
“You really need to be able to identify what’s needed in an individual situation and change your approach accordingly.”
What types of services do you offer at NYBRA?
“On the restorative side, I’m going to offer 3D nipple tattooing, scar camouflage, and scalp micropigmentation. On the cosmetic side, I’ll offer eyeliner, lips and brows.”
Can you walk us through what to expect during nipple tattooing?
Marnie recommends patients wait a minimum of four to six months to allow skin to heal completely before coming in for a tattoo.
“First we’ll do a consultation which is about 30 minutes where I’ll walk the patient through the process where we’ll discuss everything you need to know. I want to make sure the patient is adequately informed. During the actual procedure, it will be an hour and a half to two hours, we’ll discuss the size, shape, and color, and get the patient comfortable and relaxed. The first session is a pretty basic outline and design. The second session is eight to ten weeks later where we’ll add details and make any modifications that we need to.”
What do you hope patients will get out of their tattoo experience?
“I just really want to provide patients with a wonderful experience. I want them to feel like themselves again. This is the final part of their journey, and I want them to look into the mirror and think ‘wow, I’m finished, this is awesome, I feel whole again.’ And not only nipples, I understand they have scars and stretch marks and other things that might need to be addressed, I want to provide them with the full package of services.”
Join us for “What Does My Diagnosis Mean?” Lecture on June 6th
Join us on for our next lecture as part of our Be Informed Lecture Series. Our guest speaker is: Margaret Chen, M.D. Please join us…