Another consideration with free flap breast reconstruction
One of the most difficult things women face after mastectomy
is the loss of feeling in their breasts. During a mastectomy, the nerves that bring sensation to the breast are severed when tissue is removed, which can lead to permanent numbness. Whether a woman underwent mastectomy as part of her breast cancer treatment or as a prophylactic step, losing sensation can be a shocking blow that affects her emotional well-being, intimacy and body image. Women now have the option to potentially restore feeling to their chest area with ReSensation
, a breast nerve repair technique developed by AxoGen
, a global leader in peripheral nerve regeneration and repair. ReSensation
uses allograft nerve tissue
to reconnect the nerves in the chest with those in the flap. Over time, this guides regrowth of nerve fibers and can lead to sensory restoration. ReSensation can only be performed during free flap reconstructions – not implants. ReSensation can be performed during an immediate or a delayed free flap reconstruction, including women who previously had implants, are having them removed and undergoing autologous breast reconstruction.
Making the breast reconstruction decision
When making reconstructive surgery recommendations, surgeons will take into account many factors, including: a woman’s body type (such as whether there is enough tissue in the abdomen for use in forming a flap) and previous surgeries that may have impacted the blood vessels or nerves in the abdomen or chest area. In addition, women should be aware that each type of surgery has its own set of risks and benefits. For example, compared to implant surgery, free flap surgery is generally more intensive, has a longer recovery time and requires a surgeon with specialized skills in microsurgery. It’s also important for women to keep in mind that not all plastic surgeons know how to do autologous flap techniques, and some only do certain types of autologous surgeries but not others. A few but growing number of plastic surgeons perform ReSensation with autologous flap surgeries. Click here
to learn more about the procedure and to find a ReSensation provider near you.