Are there any studies/evidence connecting acupuncture with regaining sensation lost after mastectomy?

I have an appt coming up with an acupuncturist to try to regain some sensation in my chest after prophylactic mastectomy 9 months ago. I currently have no feeling. Has anyone had any patients have success with this? Im not sure if I'm wasting my time and money. Thanks!

Doctor Answers 3

Regaining sensation after mastectomy

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unfortunately with mastectomy surgeries, the nerves creating sensation are often cut out with the breast tissue. Surrounding nerves can sometimes send out new branches and sensation can improve over time, but this takes years. We don't know of any treatment, cream, maneuver, or medicine at this juncture that can cause nerve regrowth through soft tissue to regain lost sensation. Accupuncture has many useful applications. There are many healing arts that have mysterious effects that we don't understand. However I have not heard of accupuncture leading to increased sensation in an area of numbness caused by surgical nerve removal. 

Beverly Hills General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews


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Sensation recovery after mastectomy is variable among women and a difficult issue for patient and physician alike. There are no definitive studies regarding the enhancement of sensation recovery beyond time alone (and this varies among individuals). However, acupuncture will not hurt and has been helpful in many situations that can not be fully explained by science alone. Good luck and take care.


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I am unaware of any clinical trials or studies in which acupuncture has been used to facilitate sensation following mastectomy.  Please let us know if it helps.    

Joseph Franklin, MD
Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.