Breast Reconstruction With Sensation-Preserving Mastectomy

Sensation-preserving mastectomy is an innovative solution that preserves feeling in the breast and nipple after mastectomy surgery, improving the patient’s quality of life. Bedford Breast Center is one of the first practices in California to offer this option as part of immediate breast reconstruction procedures at our Beverly Hills practice.

Traditional Mastectomy vs. Sensation-Preserving Mastectomy

Women diagnosed with breast cancer or who have a high risk of getting breast cancer often choose to get a mastectomy, which removes all breast tissue. During a traditional mastectomy, surgeons sever nerves that provide sensation to the breast skin and nipple as they remove the tissue. The resulting numbness means women never regain sensation in their nipples or breast skin after the mastectomy and reconstruction.

Some women aren’t aware of this side effect and believe that reconstruction results in breasts that look and feel like natural breasts. Losing sensation in the breast and nipple can profoundly affect a patient’s life, both psychologically and physically.

Using the sensation-preserving technique developed in recent years, our expert breast surgeons perform nerve grafting as part of the direct-to-implant breast reconstruction surgery to ensure you retain feeling in both the breast and the nipple.

Unparalleled Expertise With a Compassionate Touch
Dr. Richardson and Dr. Memsic Dr. Richardson and Dr. Memsic

Dr. Richardson and Dr. Memsic are two of the top breast surgeons in Los Angeles, using innovative techniques to create excellent clinical and aesthetic outcomes.

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Credentials You Can Trust Logos of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, The American Board of Surgery, Super Doctors Southern California 2018, Castle Connolly Top Doctors 2018-2022 Logos of American Society of Plastic Surgeons, The Aesthetic Society, The American Board of Surgery, Super Doctors Southern California 2018, Castle Connolly Top Doctors 2018-2022

Why Is Preserving Sensation Important?

Nerve sensation encompasses 4 categories:

  • Deep touch
  • Light touch
  • Pain
  • Temperature

Changes to any type of sensation in the breast or nipple can affect a woman in various ways. Not only will she lose the pleasurable sensations during intimacy, but the loss of pain and temperature sensations increases the risk of injuring the breast. A woman may suffer burns to the breasts because they cannot feel heat or may not be aware of a bra wire penetrating the breast until she sees blood.

How Is Sensation-Preserving Mastectomy Performed?

Specialists, including our renowned breast cancer and plastic surgeons, work closely together to perform this 3-stage technique. During the first stage, one of our oncological breast surgeons, either Dr. Leslie Memsic or Dr. Heather Richardson, carefully dissects the breast around the area of the intercostal nerves to remove the necessary breast tissue. After removing the breast tissue from the nerve, the surgeon preserves and protects the nerve root for the graft. 

During the next stage, plastic surgeon Dr. Lisa Cassileth performs breast reconstruction with an implant placed over the chest muscle. Ideally, this occurs during a direct-to-implant breast reconstruction procedure. In the final stage of the procedure, Dr. Cassileth locates the recipient nerves under the areola-nipple complex and reconnects them with nerve grafts. By performing all 3 stages in a single session, you only have one recovery process.

What Should I Expect After Surgery?

The recovery after sensation-preserving mastectomy is similar to other mastectomy procedures. You may spend 1 to 2 days with expert nursing care before going home, although some of our patients return home the same day as their surgery. You will be sore and tired for a time after your procedure and will need plenty of rest to allow your body to heal fully. Always contact our medical center if you experience any concerning side effects.

Most women return to their regular schedules within about 4 weeks, but this timeline varies from patient to patient. We will provide you with all the information needed to prepare for your surgery and recovery process once we are familiar with your unique case. We will also support you throughout the recovery to minimize potential complications and help you heal.

“Dr Richardson is incredible. I don’t think I could find could find a comparable level of care anywhere else. She is a world class surgeon, but she never reduces you to just your diagnosis. She delivers both bad and good news herself and helps you choose the best treatment options. All the support staff at Bedford Breast Center is also great.”

Lily L. – Google

How Long Before Sensation Returns?

It takes time for nerves to regenerate and for feeling to return after undergoing the procedure. With sensation-preserving mastectomy, most patients can expect to experience some sensation within 6 months after the surgery. Sensation can continue to spread throughout the breast and improve for up to another year.

Am I a Candidate for Sensation-Preserving Mastectomy?

Sensation-preserving mastectomy is an incredible option for women who don’t want to lose feeling in their breasts after a mastectomy. We can determine if you’re a good candidate for this procedure based on the location and size of the cancer, as well as your expectations for your reconstruction results. Implant size may be limited for this procedure based on your specific anatomy and goals. 

Our surgeons take the time to explore all of your avenues in breast reconstruction, including sensation-preserving mastectomy. As one of the few breast centers in the Los Angeles area offering this procedure, our team has the level of expertise necessary to provide the best possible outcomes for our patients. You are never just a number at Bedford Breast Center—we work intimately with you to find the best path to your wholeness and healing.

Nipple Sparing Mastectomy with One-Stage Breast Reconstruction
Featured Before & After Photos

Case: 1 of 8
From Los Angeles, CA, this patient had a bilateral nipple-sparing mastectomy performed by Dr. Memsic. Dr. Killeen performed direct-to-implant breast reconstruction using 304cc silicone implants, followed by fat transfer to the breasts.
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This before & after gallery contains nudity. Please click OK to confirm you are at least 18 years of age and are not offended by such material.

Before
After
Case: 2 of 8
From Pasadena, CA, this patient had a bilateral mastectomy with Dr. Richardson and direct-to-implant breast reconstruction performed by Dr. Cassileth. Dr. Cassileth used 250cc implants and fat grafting to give the patient the natural-looking breasts she desired. Read More
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Before
After
Case: 3 of 8
From Phoenix, AZ, this BRCA+ patient had a bilateral mastectomy performed by Dr. Memsic with a one-stage breast reconstruction by Dr. Cassileth. Dr. Cassileth placed 360cc silicone implants and used acellular dermal matrix (ADM) for additional support. Read More
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Before
After
Case: 4 of 8
This 47-year-old breast cancer patient had a bilateral mastectomy performed by Dr. Leslie Memsic followed by one-stage breast reconstruction performed by Dr. Lisa Cassileth using 210cc silicone breast implants. Patient underwent a second procedure with one round of fat transfer to the breasts. Read More
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Before
After
Case: 5 of 8
This 58-year-old patient from Montecito was diagnosed with breast cancer in the right breast. Dr. Leslie Memsic performed bilateral mastectomy. Dr. Lisa Cassileth performed direct-to-implant breast reconstruction and nerve grafting to preserve sensation. Read More
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Before
After
Case: 6 of 8
After receiving ductal carcinoma diagnosis, this 34-year-old patient from Portland, OR had a bilateral mastectomy performed by Dr. Leslie Memsic. Dr. Kelly Killeen performed one-stage breast reconstruction, nerve grafting, and fat transfer to the breasts. Read More
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Before
After
Case: 7 of 8
From Santa Barbara, CA, this patient presented breast cancer in her right breast and underwent a unilateral mastectomy performed by Dr. Richardson, followed by direct-to-implant breast reconstruction with Dr. Killeen.
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Before
After
Case: 8 of 8
From Portland, OR, this patient was diagnosed with DCIS and initially had a lumpectomy performed by another surgeon. After experiencing a reoccurrence, she opted to have a unilateral mastectomy in her right breast performed by Dr. Richardson and direct-to-implant breast reconstruction with Dr. Cassileth. Read More
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Before
After
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Case: 1 of 9
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Keep in mind that each patient is unique and your results may vary.

Trust Our Breast Surgery Experts

Our breast surgeons at Bedford Breast Center in Beverly Hills are innovative physicians who provide compassionate, personalized patient care. Dr. Richardson and Dr. Memsic are considered among the top mastectomy surgeons in Los Angeles. Dr. Cassileth is one of the leading plastic surgeons in the region. Our world-class facility serves patients from Los Angeles from throughout Los Angeles, Southern California, and across the country. To learn more about our center and if breast reconstruction with sensation-preserving mastectomy is a good option for you, call us at (310) 278-8590 or contact us using the online form to schedule an appointment.

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