You asked and our own Lindsey Weaver FNP-C, Dr. Craigie’s Nurse Practitioner and Site Administrator for our Sensation-NOW study, is here to answer all your Resensation® questions!
Q: If I did the prophylactic mastectomy next summer with the DIEP reconstruction, I’m assuming that SMX would be nipple/skin sparing.
A: Typically, our breast surgeons try to save both the native skin and nipple; especially in prophylactic cases.
Q: Would they preserve those breast nerves at that time?
A: The goal with any mastectomy, whether for cancer treatment or for breast cancer risk reduction, is to remove all visible breast tissue. Nerve preservation during mastectomy is possible, however, if the nerves do not have favorable anatomy for preservation (meaning they run straight through the breast and do not stay in the fatty issue layer), then they will need to be cut and repaired (with nerve grafting) regardless of the reason for the mastectomy.
Q: For the SMX, if I have it in my hometown and then come to you for DIEP later, what is the percent success rate of sensation for that side when I have the reconstruction?
A: We have a number of patients who have had mastectomies elsewhere and then came to us for DIEP with Resensation®. Those patients were also included in our Sensation-NOW study. Overall, our patients reported improved sensation, but unfortunately, I do not have a percentage of success at this time.
If sensation is important to you, there is no downside to delayed or immediate Resensation®. As you are most-likely aware, Resensation® is a new technique of breast neurotization, or nerve repair, that can potentially restore feeling to the breast post mastectomy, battling post-mastectomy numbness. Resensation® uses allograft nerve tissue to reconnect and bridge the gap between the nerves in the chest and the nerves in the reconstructed tissue. There is no downside to this procedure, and the only known side effect is neuroma, which is extremely rare. For perspective, at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we have no reported cases in any of our patients.
If you would like to read a recent scientific article regarding success rates using the Resensation® technique, you may find one published by the National Library of Medicine here. It does have some intraoperative photos so be aware of that if you choose to read. The study may even answer more questions you might have – there are statistics relating to percentage of sensory restoration within the article.
If you have any additional questions you would like Lindsey to answer, please feel free to reach out to her at her contact information below.
Lindsey Weaver, FNP-C
East Cooper Plastic Surgery
The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction