Q: My wife underwent a double mastectomy a few years ago. She did not get the option where she went for the ReSensation procedure, is there anything that can be done now to help with the recovery of feeling? She did not go through your facility; I am just reaching out for information to see if there are any procedures or anything that can help.

A: Has your wife had breast reconstruction of any type yet? If she has had an implant reconstruction that could be converted to a natural tissue reconstruction, and we could perform the ReSensation technique at that time. And if she has had no reconstruction, it’s never too late.

Q: She had a natural reconstruction from the fat tissues in her lower back/upper butt. The surgery was done a couple of years ago, so she is fully healed.

A: I’m going to try to explain the best I can. Sometimes it’s easier to chat on the telephone so you can ask questions but here goes:

The ReSensation technique is performed using Allograft nerve tissue along with coupler devices to create a new connection between a sensory nerve in the mastectomy wound bed to a harvested nerve within the tissue from the donor site (abdomen, buttock, thigh etc.) So, the short answer is that at this time there is no way to use that technique to potentially restore sensation if the microsurgical breast reconstruction has already been completed. New procedures are being developed and implemented all of the time, so maybe in the future that might be a possibility.

It’s not been very long since her last surgery so there may be a chance that she may organically regain some type of sensation as time goes by. No one can make promises to that effect, but nerve growth happens at a rate of about 1mm per day, meaning that it can take several years to find if you have regained any sensation. That sensation may be different than what you are used to and not always recognizable right away. For example, protective rather than erogenous sensation is what typically results after ReSensation. The ability to feel heat, pressure, and touch.

Regrowing nerves present as tingling, twinges, hot/cold sensitivity, mini electric shocks, or achiness. If she is getting any of those, no guarantees, but let’s hope she might regain something that helps.

Let me know if you have any questions and if you don’t mind, would you give me permission to use this as a blog post on our website? It was such a good question that I bet many patients would love to know this answer.

Patient Advocate
The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction