Ask The Doctor- If you choose natural breast reconstruction as opposed to implants is there sensation in the breast?

multi-colored flowerThis week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: If you choose natural breast reconstruction as opposed to implants is there sensation in the breast? Is there sensation with nipple sparing? What is the rate of success with natural reconstruction? Thank you.

Answer: As a general rule, there is no erogenous sensation after any type of breast reconstruction, although in isolated circumstances some people do seem to get that back, or something like it. Most of the skin is usually completely numb initially, but may regain some feeling after months, or even years. Even after nipple-sparing mastectomy, there is usually no sensation. While it is theoretically possible for the nerves to grow back, it is rare to get normal feeling back, even after a prolonged period. The flap survival rate after natural breast reconstruction is approximately 98%. Completion of reconstruction usually requires 2 or 3 surgeries in all, but they tend to get sequentially shorter and less involved. Once you have competed natural breast reconstruction, however, your breasts will usually continue to improve on their own for many years. This is in sharp contrast to implant-based reconstruction, where the quality of the reconstruction often tends to deteriorate over time. Thank you for your question.

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