As part of the treatment for breast cancer, many women have Mastectomies, which sever nerves in the chest. But now a delicate surgical technique is restoring sensation.
Jane Obadia and her husband Danny take nothing for granted. Not jane’s health and not their 7-year old Elana.
Jane and Danny were having fertility problems and were one week away from having a surrogate carry a baby for them when jane’s doctor called. She had cancer in both breasts.
Jane Obadia said, “When you’re initially given the diagnosis, your focus is on survival. What do I need to get through this.”
Jane had a double mastectomy and implants then had Elana through a surrogate.
But after a few years, a recurring complication brought her to Microsurgeon Doctor Constance Chen. Doctor Chen suggested a procedure called Resensation. Instead of implants, she used jane’s own tissue to rebuild her breast, then reconnected the nerves that were severed during Mastectomy.
Constance Chen, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon said, “Resensation involves taking a nerve graft and reconnecting it to a nerve on the flap or the tissue that is used to restore a patient’s breast.”
It’s then connected to a nerve on the chest wall, which restores feeling. The graft is made from processed human tissue.
“The axons regrow, start to regenerate at a millimeter a day,” said Doctor Chen.
Jane says she has about 80 to 90 percent of her feeling back.
Jane Obadia said, “Now when I give my daughter a hug and her head rests there, I can feel her breath on my chest. That’s priceless.”
Doctor Chen says the Resensation procedure adds only about 30 minutes to reconstructive surgery and it is covered by most insurance.