Many women who undergo mastectomies also face a lesser-known issue after surgery: numbness that can extend from their belly buttons to their collar bones. Until recently, the symptom was rarely discussed and had no cure, but a new treatment being offered at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital may help breast cancer survivors feel more like themselves again.

Known as Resensation, the new technique of breast nerve repair can potentially restore feeling as part of free flap breast reconstruction surgery after a mastectomy. Free flap reconstruction uses a woman’s own tissue to create a new breast. Resensation uses donor nerve tissue to reconnect the nerves in the chest to those in the flap tissue. Over time, the procedure helps the body regrow and reconnect nerve fibers that can restore sensation to the breast tissue.