BREAST cancer patients who have undergone surgery are being offered tattoos as a way of rebuilding confidence.

A charity based at Westmorland General Hospital in Kendal has paid for a special medical machine which surgeons are using to tattoo new nipples on to reconstructed breasts.

The pioneering system - which was donated by the League of Friends of Westmorland General - allows specialists to literally paint onto the skin in what is a painfree and permanent technique.

Staff nurse Maureen Higginson said the tattoos “did wonders” for patients’ confidence.

“We are offering these tattoos to women of all ages who have had reconstructive surgery and the results are fantastic. It’s a sophisticated process. In cases where they have had one breast reconstructed we are able to match up the colour of the nipple.

“The benefits are enormous. It’s a huge boost for the women having the tattoo as it helps them regain their self esteem.”

Roger Thompson, chair of the League of Friends, added: “We’re really pleased the machine is now in situ and we hope that it will aid lots of patients’ recovery.”