Ask the Expert: a Breastie shares her experience with ReSensation
When I first heard about ReSensation my jaw dropped.
How could it be possible that a technology exists that could help me regain feeling back in my breasts after a double mastectomy?
…and how was this not offered to me when I underwent my surgery?
The more research I did, the more incredible ReSensation sounded and to be honest, the more skeptical I became.
I guess I didn’t want to get my hopes up? That one day I might be able to get feeling back? So I interviewed a few doctors and they all said how much they believe in this technology.
Which was a good sign but I still wasn’t convinced…
Though getting insight from an expert surgeon is helpful (interview coming soon!) I felt that no one is a better expert to interview than a patient who has undergone this procedure, after all I firmly believe that WE are the experts of our own bodies!
So I connected with a Breastie named Jane who actually has ReSensation reconstruction to find out from her if it ACTUALLY works. She is a survivor who underwent a double mastectomy and later chose to swap out her implants and undergo a GAP flap surgery in conjunction with the ReSensation technology.
I knew if anyone could tell me if this actually works, it would be a Breastie.
This surgical procedure is performed in conjunction with your double mastectomy and flap reconstruction. The plastic surgeon takes nerve tissue from another part of your body and attaches it to your remaining nerve tissue in the affected area. Over time, that nerve becomes part of your body and helps to regenerate nerve-endings in that area
Patients interested in ReSensation face few limitations, and the procedure is performed during breast reconstruction. Breast implants pose one limitation in that they are artificial and do not contain nerves that can restore sensual and non-sensual sensation., therefore this procedure is currently not available to patients undergoing breast reconstruction via implants. ReSensation is best used for patient’s who choose to reconstruct the breasts using their own tissue. ReSensation includes a combination of nerve sparing mastectomy and natural tissue reconstruction with the addition of nerve reconstruction/reconnection. The procedure is not a new concept, but improved results are now possible due to collaboration and improved techniques.
You can find a doctor near you that performs ReSensation using their doctor finder HERE.
Ask the Expert
Meet Jane. She is a wife, a mother, a breastie, and a breast cancer survivor. After losing her mother to breast cancer, Jane had always been vigilant when it came to monitoring her breast health. When she went in for her annual mammogram, they found multiple tumors in both breasts. They acted very quickly and Jane underwent a double mastectomy with implant reconstruction. This is her experience with ReSensation:
YOU ORIGINALLY DIDN’T HAVE THE RECONSTRUCTION WITH RESENSATION, WHY NOT?
I originally underwent a bilateral mastectomy with implant reconstruction. I was so focused on surviving, I wasn’t concerned about the results of my double mastectomy. It also wasn’t offered to me. There was discussion about size and shape, but sensation / losing sensation was never brought up to me.
WHEN DID YOU HEAR ABOUT RESENSATION:
I had implants for six years and I started experiencing autoimmune issues, with pain in my hands and arms. I just kept thinking, I need to get these implants out of me. I need to get these out. The surgeon who did my original surgery retired, so I met with Dr. Constance Chen. We discussed taking out my implants and having a GAP Flap surgery, where they would use tissue from the back of my thighs to create breasts.
She said to me, “I am so glad we didn’t do it before, because NOW there is ReSensation.”
She explained that by using this technology, overtime I would regain sensation back in my breasts and that it was just an additional 30-40 minutes in the OR. At the time, I wasn’t thinking, “omg this is amazing.” All I was thinking was, “Get these implants off of me.”
WERE YOU AT ALL EXCITED ABOUT THE THOUGHT OF REGAINING SENSATION?
I wasn’t thinking about it like that. I was thinking that I should be happy with what I’ve got, I survived. There is a long line of other people behind me and before me who aren’t as lucky as I have been. There is that sense of survivors guilt and the idea of what right do I have to ask for any more?
But now that I have gone through this surgery and I have so much of my sensation back, I have realized, yes you do have the right to want more for yourself, and its ok to want that sensation back. I just didn’t know it was an option.
ABOUT HOW MUCH SENSATION DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE GOTTEN BACK?
HOW VISIBLE ARE YOUR SCARS ON THE BACK OF YOUR LEGS?
The take the tissue from the back of your legs and create 12 inch incisions underneath your bum. So my legs are now my breasts. When I get out of the shower you cannot tell that they are my legs and not my breasts and you cannot see the scars because of where they are placed. It is pretty amazing actually.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCIBE THE IMPACT RESENSATION HAS HAD ON YOUR LIFE?
As someone who has had implants and now has my own tissue with ReSensation, I can compare both experiences, and I realized the impact of the ReSensation, it truly has been life changing.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this conversation with Jane, coming soon! If you have any questions for Jane, please leave them in the comments below!
This information should be used as a tool to better understand what YOUR options are and to feel empowered when you talk to your doctor to ask the right questions, understand the procedures and the benefits and drawbacks. At the end of the day, it is YOUR body and it is YOUR choice. Knowledge is power and you should always feel empowered to take charge of your health and ask for what YOU want.
To discuss if this surgery may be helpful for you, please go to the ReSensation website for more information.
IF YOU LOVED THIS INTERVIEW AND WANT TO SEE MORE LIKE THIS IN THE FUTURE, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW, SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS, AND LET ME KNOW WHAT TOPIC I SHOULD COVER NEXT!! LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!! XO
This post was created in partnership with ReSensation