During a mastectomy, the breast tissue is removed, severing the nerves that provide feeling to the breast and nipple. When nerves are severed, nerve signals are disrupted. This can result in numbnesss and permanent loss of sensation to the breast area. Women often regain little to no feeling, even if they choose to undergo breast reconstruction.
Resensation is a new technique of breast neurotization, or nerve repair, that can potentially restore feeling as part of autologous breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy. Autologous breast reconstruction, also known as free flap reconstruction, uses a woman’s own tissue to create a new breast. Resensation uses allograft nerve tissue to reconnect the nerves in the chest to those in the flap tissue. Over time, this guides regrowth of nerve fibers and can lead to sensory restoration to the breast tissue.
When sensation is restored to breasts after mastectomy and reconstruction, women have the ability to not only look, but also may feel, more like themselves again.
When is Resensation performed?
Reconstruction with Resensation can be done at the same time as the mastectomy (immediate reconstruction) or at a later date (delayed reconstruction). Delayed reconstruction can be done months or even years after a mastectomy, after treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy are complete. Resensation is not offered with breast implant reconstruction. However, it can be part of a secondary reconstruction surgery to replace the implants with your body’s natural tissue.