Diversion of a sensory nerve to fix the problem with reconstructed breasts
Most women whose breasts have been reconstructed after amputation lose usual feeling in that breast. A microsurgical procedure, namely the diversion of a sensory nerve from the own abdominal tissue to the reconstructed breast, ensures that the feeling returns.
This is shown by PhD research by plastic surgeon in training Anouk Cornelissen from the Maastricht UMC. In some 250 breast cancer patients, the feeling in the breast is partially restored.
Her research also shows that lymph, a fluid accumulation in the arm that affects many women after a breast cancer treatment, can be greatly reduced. Via a microsurgical procedure, connections are made between lymph vessels and small blood vessels to drain the fluid and to relieve the swelling. Nine out of ten patients are very satisfied with this procedure. Now excess of lymph can be treated by massage of the arm and wearing an elastic stocking.
Cornelissen’s findings are not yet sufficient to adjust the guidelines. She advocates larger studies to confirm her results.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. One in seven women gets it.