Surgeons with the Orlando Health Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery Institute are the first in Central Florida to complete an experimental procedure to help breast cancer patients who undergo reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy.

This novel procedure, called neurotized DIEP (Deep Inferior Epigastric Perforator) flap, reconstructs the breast using tissue typically harvested from the lower abdomen while also transplanting nerves that allow the patient to recover a degree of sensation in the reconstructed breast.

“Most breast cancer patients who opt for reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy will have to grapple with the loss of sensation in the breast following the procedure,” says Kenneth Lee, MD, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at Orlando Health. “Our team takes pride in providing this innovative surgical technique to mitigate this outcome and enhance the post-mastectomy quality of life for our patients.”

The Orlando Health ARSI team performed its first neurotized DIEP flap procedure in August 2023 and will follow the patient’s progress for the next several months.

Says Dr. Lee, “this procedure is important for its potential to restore not just physical sensation but also a sense of wholeness and confidence for our patients. It represents the innovative approach our practice takes to continue to push for breakthroughs in medicine that allow us to rebuild the body and lives.”