Unfortunately mastectomy leaves many women with very little feeling long term (if any), regardless of whether they have breast reconstruction or not.
There is some good news though.... Most women undergoing DIEP or SIEA flap breast reconstruction are also candidates for reconstruction of the sensory nerves in the breasts that provide feeling. The feeling in the new breast won't be as good as what Mother Nature provided but it's certainly a lot better than the alternative. A nice bonus at the very least.
Once the tummy tissue (flap) is moved up to the breast, a sensory nerve in the flap is connected microsurgically to a breast nerve in the chest that was cut by the mastectomy. New nerve cells grow from the chest nerve into the flap nerve over time allowing the reconstructed breast to develop feeling.
If you're feeling brave, here's a short video clip of how the two nerves are connected. You can also see the pulse in the blood vessel connections to the new breast:
I hope this info helps.
PRMA Plastic Surgery specializes in advanced breast reconstruction including DIEP flap, SIEA flap, GAP flap, TUG flap and Alloderm One-Step. In-Network for most US insurance plans. Patients routinely welcomed from across the USA. Please call (800) 692-5565 or email patientadvocate@PRMAplasticsurgery.com to learn more about your breast reconstruction options. Connect with other breast cancer reconstruction patients at www.facebook.com/PRMAplasticsurgery.*****