Neurotization of the Nipple-Areola Complex during Implant-Based Reconstruction: Evaluation of Early Sensation Recovery

Our article reports on early results obtained after performing sensate implant-based breast reconstruction. More studies are required to determine the long-term outcomes and impact on quality of life and to assess whether patient or breast characteristics impact the success of this procedure.

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The concept of sensate autologous breast reconstruction is not novel, and prior literature has focused mainly on sensate abdominally based breast reconstruction. The goal of this article is to present the authors’ results with a novel technique performing sensate implant-based reconstruction. A database was prospectively maintained for patients who underwent implant-based sensate breast reconstruction. The anterior branch of the lateral fourth intercostal is identified and preserved during the mastectomy by the breast surgeon. A processed nerve allograft is used as an interpositional graft connecting the donor nerve to the targeted nipple-areola complex. The sensory recovery process was objectively monitored using a pressure-specified sensory device. Thirteen patients underwent the proposed technique. Eight patients with 15 breasts were monitored for sensory recovery. For sensory measurement, the nipple had a mean threshold of 67.33 ± 34.48 g/nm2. The upper inner (29 ± 26.75 g/nm2) and upper outer (46.82 ± 32.72 g/nm2) nipple-areola complex quadrants demonstrated better scores during the moving test compared with the static test. Mean time between the test and surgery was 4.18 ± 2.3 months, and mean time between the second test and surgery was 10.59 ± 3.57 months. Threshold improvements were documented after the second test for all nipple-areola complex areas evaluated. This is the first study to report on early results obtained after performing sensate implant-based breast reconstruction. More studies are required to determine the long-term outcomes and impact on quality of life and to assess whether patient or breast characteristics impact the success of this procedure.

Read full article here: https://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/Fulltext/2020/08000/Neurotization_of_the_Nipple_Areola_Complex_during.8.aspx

Isis

Plastic Surgeon, CCF

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