After a mastectomy and routine breast reconstruction, women discover that their new breast is numb. Breast Resensation® with nerve repair offers the potential to restore sensation and the ability to feel touch. Though general plastic surgeons may attempt Resensation, they lack the qualifications and experience of Anthony Echo, MD, a plastic surgeon who completed two fellowships, one in microsurgery at Stanford University in California and the other in peripheral nerve surgery at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. To schedule a consultation, book an appointment online, or call the office in Houston Methodist Hospital or the Willowbrook neighborhood of Houston, Texas.
When you have a mastectomy to treat breast cancer, the nerves are cut as your breast tissue is removed. After the nerves are severed, they can’t carry sensory information from the breast to your brain.
A loss of nerve communication results in numbness. If you have standard breast reconstruction surgery, your new breast won’t have sensation.
Resensation is a new technique that restores feeling in your breast by promoting nerve regrowth. However, Resensation is only an option when you have autologous breast reconstruction.
Dr. Echo performs autologous reconstruction by taking pieces of tissue called skin flaps from one part of your body and using them to rebuild your breast. The skin flap, which contains skin, fat, nerves, and blood vessels, may come from your abdomen, hips, thighs, or buttocks.
For example, Dr. Echo may perform a DIEP (deep inferior epigastric artery perforator) flap procedure in which he removes the tissues from your abdomen and transfers them to your chest.
After removing the flap, Dr. Echo performs microsurgery to reconnect the flap’s nerves and blood vessels to those in your chest, and then he uses the skin and fat to create your new breast.
Resensation is a technique that uses a nerve graft to promote regeneration when reconnecting the nerves of the flap tissue to those in your chest. The specially processed graft serves as a bridge that triggers and supports new nerve growth between the nerves.
Nerve regeneration takes time; it typically takes several months for the nerve fibers to regrow. As they grow, they gradually restore sensation to the breast, a process that continues to improve for up to two years.
As soon as you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you should schedule a consultation with Dr. Echo to talk about your post-mastectomy breast reconstruction. He explains your options, and together, you can determine if an autologous breast reconstruction with Resensation is a good choice for you.
Then Dr. Echo coordinates with the rest of your breast cancer team, and they plan your mastectomy surgery so that you can have Resensation reconstruction.
If you already had implant-based breast reconstruction or BRCA breast reconstruction with an implant, you may be able to have breast revision surgery to include the Resensation technique. The only way to determine if you’re a good candidate is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Echo.
To learn more about breast Resensation with nerve repair, call Anthony Echo, MD, or schedule an appointment online.