Sensory Restoration After DIEP Flap Neurotization

  • End date
    Dec 31, 2025
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    Johns Hopkins University
Updated on 21 December 2021
breast reconstruction


Common goals of breast reconstruction include obtaining satisfactory breast symmetry, softness, and appropriate size and shape. Advances in surgical techniques have prompted a new goal: achieving breast sensation after reconstructive surgery. This desire has led the surgical community to investigate operative techniques for achieving this goal. However, few studies have examined the effectiveness of breast sensory restoration.

Sensory nerves are nerves responsible for sensation from skin. When a sensory nerve is cut, sensation is lost to the area supplied by the nerve. In the case of Breast reconstruction this involves the nerves supplying the skin overlying breast(s). 'Neurotization' refers to regeneration of the nerve after it has been cut. This means that the cut nerve is being repaired in order to restore its function. In Neurotization this repair is carried out using a new "source". In this case, the investigators want to restore function of the nerves that supply the skin overlying the breast(s).

The investigators will be performing breast reconstruction using tissue from the patient's abdomen and transferring it to the chest wall to repair the mastectomy defect. Sensory function is restored by using the nerve that supplies the skin of this abdominal tissue (i.e the new "source") that is being transferred and attaching it to a nerve in the chest wall.

The Avance® Nerve graft is a nerve graft material that has been produced by Axogen, Inc. The graft is made by processing donated human nerves. This graft is used during neurotization to bridge the gap and join the nerve from the abdominal tissue to the nerve in the chest wall. The use of the graft helps the body to attach these 2 nerves and improves nerve repair.

When neurotization is done without the nerve graft there is a possibility that the surgeon may require extra nerve material to join the 2 nerves. Traditionally, in this case the surgeon would have to obtain a separate donor nerve from another part of the patient's body. This technique carries the risk of complications to part of the body that the separate donor nerve was obtained from - loss of sensation, infection or neuroma formation (an abnormal growth of nerve tissue that can cause pain, burning or tingling sensation, numbness). The Avance nerve graft avoids the need for the additional donor nerve and the possible complications associated with it.

The Avance® Nerve Graft is currently being used in some women during breast reconstruction surgery, however the effectiveness of this procedure in improving the restoration of sensation has not been proven.

Women undergoing reconstruction of one breast and at the same time using the women's own tissue as part of standard clinical care, may join.

Condition Breast Cancer, Breast Reconstruction, Sensory Restoration
Treatment DIEP Flap Neurotization
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04533373
SponsorJohns Hopkins University
Last Modified on21 December 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

All patients presenting to Johns Hopkins who have had or will have mastectomy (therapeutic or prophylactic) and are planning to undergo unilateral mastectomy followed by breast reconstruction with autologous deep inferior epigastric perforator flap (DIEP) will be included
These patients will then be randomized in either of two treatment modalities
Treatment Modality 1: Breast reconstruction with DIEP flap and neurotization
Treatment Modality 2: Breast reconstruction with DIEP flap but without neurotization
18 years of age and older
The patient is aware of the nature of her malignancy if a malignancy has been diagnosed; understands the study purpose, requirements, and risks; and is able and willing to sign an informed consent

Exclusion Criteria

Autologous reconstruction where the flap is buried
Exclusion criteria will encompass any patient with: diabetic neuropathy, thyroid disorders, collagen vascular disease, alcoholism, pernicious anemia, or any other severe underlying peripheral neuropathy including chemotherapy-induced neuropathy or neuropathy induced by other medications
Pregnant or lactating women will be excluded from this study
Women with recurrent breast cancer will be excluded
Women with previous reconstructive procedures or who have previously undergone lumpectomy with radiation will be excluded
Clear my responses

How to participate?

Step 1 Connect with a study center
What happens next?
  • You can expect the study team to contact you via email or phone in the next few days.
  • Sign up as volunteer to help accelerate the development of new treatments and to get notified about similar trials.

You are contacting

Investigator Avatar

Primary Contact



Additional screening procedures may be conducted by the study team before you can be confirmed eligible to participate.

Learn more

If you are confirmed eligible after full screening, you will be required to understand and sign the informed consent if you decide to enroll in the study. Once enrolled you may be asked to make scheduled visits over a period of time.

Learn more

Complete your scheduled study participation activities and then you are done. You may receive summary of study results if provided by the sponsor.

Learn more

Similar trials to consider


Browse trials for

Not finding what you're looking for?

Every year hundreds of thousands of volunteers step forward to participate in research. Sign up as a volunteer and receive email notifications when clinical trials are posted in the medical category of interest to you.

Sign up as volunteer

user name

Added by • 



Reply by • Private

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur, adipisicing elit. Ipsa vel nobis alias. Quae eveniet velit voluptate quo doloribus maxime et dicta in sequi, corporis quod. Ea, dolor eius? Dolore, vel!

  The passcode will expire in None.

No annotations made yet

Add a private note
  • abc Select a piece of text from the left.
  • Add notes visible only to you.
  • Send it to people through a passcode protected link.
Add a private note