Restoring Sensation - Breast Reinnervation with Nerve Grafting
All woman undergoing mastectomy lose sensation to the nipple and areola because the nerves that supply sensation to this area are cut during the mastectomy. Although a breast reconstruction can recreate a beautiful breast mound that looks natural, the sensation to the nipple is not restored during routine reconstruction.
As breast reconstruction options have advanced and natural tissue reconstruction with techniques such as the DIEP flap and the PAP flap allow us to recreate a breast with a woman's own tissue instead of an implant, the results can look and feel as natural as before the surgery. The cut nerves attempt to regrow through the natural tissue and it is often amazing to see how much sensation is restored to the breast. In order to help restore sensation Dr. Lerman re-innervates the flap by reconnecting the cut nerve with a nerve graft at the time of natural tissue DIEP flap or PAP flap surgery. By reconnecting these nerves, Dr. Lerman gives the body the best possible opportunity for the nerve branches to regrow in order to maximize sensation. Although there will always be some numbness after mastectomy, the re-sensation achievable after natural tissue breast reconstruction is dramatic.
Nerve Graft & DIEP flap reconstruction
Avance® Nerve Graft is an off-the-shelf processed human nerve allograft intended for the surgical repair of peripheral nerve discontinuities