What is Breast neurotization?
Our Houston, TX board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Aldona J. Spiegel, takes a microsurgical approach called neurotization to give you feeling back in your reconstructed breasts and nipples. You may also have heard it called breast resensation surgery or reinnervation. Many of our breast reconstruction patients who have had the nerve supply in their breast reestablished by Dr. Spiegel call it a life-changing surgery. We believe breast cancer survivors should have the appearance of proportionate, symmetrical, and feminine breasts with feeling. Recent advancements in the neurotization of the reconstructed breast and microsurgery are evolving for the better. When a breast cancer patient has a mastectomy, more times than not, the nerve that signals the brain for feeling is damaged or detached while the cancerous tissue is cut out. Losing some or all of the feeling in the breast skin is an unfortunate risk of having a mastectomy.
Dr. Spiegel can perform a neurotization immediately after a DIEP flap breast reconstruction or as revision surgery of your initial autologous or implant-based breast reconstruction. If you are interested in discovering more about neurotization, we invite you to call our office in Houston, TX for a consultation to learn if you qualify for this procedure.
"I cannot recommend Dr Spiegel and her team more highly. I attended her clinic when having trouble with uncomfortable implants after a previous mastectomy. Dr Spiegel suggested DIEP procedure and I was really not sure. Over the coming months both she and her team explained the procedure, the benefits and results and implications. I decided to go ahead and I could not be more happy with the results. I look like I would have done pre mastectomy. I have been amazed by the continued care and concern of the whole team from the finance folk to the clinic nurses and doctors and their absolute pleasure in seeing my delight. A fantastic experience and I can't thank them enough."- C.A. / Google / Aug 01, 2019
"Dr. Spiegel and her wonderful staff got me through the most difficult experience of my life. Going through mastectomy and DIEP flap reconstruction is traumatic. I chose her over other Houston area surgeons and felt that I could trust her. Everyone in her office supported me each step of the way. First, and foremost, this is a major surgery and you rely on medical excellence to avoid important risks. She is a perfectionist regarding medical safety. Next, her artistry is outstanding. She got the best result that could be possible. Finally, if you have radiation, it is a long journey of several years to get from the beginning to end of the process, involving a year of a temporary expander before the final reconstruction. It is important to have a team that you can have that trusting supportive relationship over time. I feel very lucky and grateful that I was in the hands of this wonderful group of highly skilled women."- L.S. / Google / Jul 08, 2019
"Dr. Spiegel is my guardian angel and I owe her and her entire team and staff a debt of gratitude that I will ever be able to repay! I am one year out from my original Diep flap surgery with her and I feel great- like myself again! After undergoing a prophylactic mastectomy ( due to testing positive for the BRCA 2 gene and strong family cancer) and getting breast implants with another doctor, Dr. Spiegel saved my life by removing the implants and performing Deip surgery. The implants cased me so much pain and diminished my quality of life but now I have it back. I have no more pain and my breasts are soft again and created from my very own tissue. Thank you Dr. Spiegel!"- J.A. / Google / Jul 08, 2019
"Dr. Spiegel was highly recommended by my oncologist. It had become necessary that I look into reconstruction and a lymph node transplant. Dr. Spiegel does amazing work. She loves what she does and it shows in the results that she achieves. I am very happy that I chose her for this journey! Her support staff are wonderful to work with as well!"- D.M. / Google / Jul 08, 2019
"Dr. Spiegel is simply fantastic. I am so grateful to her and her whole staff (Alexis/Nicole/Lisa/Aidee/Angie) for the wonderful care and support given to me from my very first visit to their office. Dr. Spiegel is so thorough that during the course of my visits, she insisted that I consult a GI doctor for my distended stomach. Turns out that I had an H Pylori infection for which I had to be treated. No other doctors had ever looked past their specialties to treat the whole individual, and I am 59 years old. Subsequently, Dr. Spiegel pushed for an endoscopy, and it was discovered that I had an ulcer for which I was treated. From cardio work up, lab tests to chest xrays, Dr. Spiegel ensured that I was in top shape for surgery and made sure that I understood all aspects of the procedure and treatment.During my stay at the hospital, Dr. Spiegel, Alexis, Nicole, Dr. Arroyo, and Dr. Vo infused me with so much strength, support and kindness that I have no words to express my gratitude and appreciation. It's been one month since my surgery and I'm feeling good, healing very well and going back to work next week. Awesome doctor and wonderful staff."- R.L. / Google / Jun 08, 2019
Qualifying for Neurotization
Today, breast reconstruction patients with autologous flap breast reconstructions are the only candidates for this surgery. Implant reconstruction patients do not qualify at this time. However, if you would like to have a revision breast reconstruction by taking out the implant and replacing it with autologous flap reconstruction, you have a better chance at the neurotization of your breast and nipple being successful. Dr. Spiegel can meet with you in a private consultation to see if you are eligible. Losing the sensation in the breast and nipple is very concerning to many women and more likely than not. With Dr. Spiegel as your surgeon, she will provide you with the newest techniques and safest surgical protocols in neurotization surgery as she has dedicated her career to making the quality of life better for her patients.
Using a microsurgical approach
In the operating room, you will be put under a general anesthetic. Dr. Spiegel will follow your customized treatment plan to perform your neurotization surgery. Dr. Spiegel commonly performs one of these three types of neurotization procedures:
- In a revision flap reconstruction to add neurotization
- In initial autologous breast reconstruction with neurotization
- Replacing a breast implant reconstruction with a revision autologous breast reconstruction with neurotization
In the surgery, she will take healthy nerve tissue from your abdomen or other designated areas. With microsurgical techniques, Dr. Spiegel will bring the nerves inside your reconstructed breast together. Then, she will close your incision and send you to recovery.
This is not the end of the process. All of the sensations in your skin will not return automatically. Over time, your new nerves will grow stronger and the feeling will slowly return to your breasts.
After Neurotization surgery
We will go over your aftercare instructions before discharging you from our care. Recovery times can vary, depending on what surgeries are performed. You will need time to allow your breasts to heal. All of the sensations in your skin will not return automatically. Over time, your new nerve fibers will grow stronger and the feeling will slowly return to your breasts. You may have several follow-up appointments for Dr. Spiegel to evaluate your flap to make sure it remains healthy while you regenerate the nerve fibers.
Recover your Breast Sensations
Would you like to learn more about neurotization with Dr. Spiegel? Neurotization with Dr. Spiegel's expertise in microvascular surgery can bring feeling back to your breast skin after a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. We provide one-on-one neurotization consultations with our board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Aldona J. Spiegel, M.D. in Houston, TX. Contact our surgical team to see if you are a candidate for this surgery.