May 15, 202 (MedicalXpress) -- About half of Prof. Stacy Lindau's patients over the last decade have had breast cancer and express new difficulties with sexual function during and after treatment. That's now several hundreds of women.
"One of the common problems women complain of is the loss of sensation in their breast after mastectomy with reconstruction," or even after just a lumpectomy, said Lindau, a leading University of Chicago professor of obstetrics and gynecology. "In the United States alone, 100,000 women a year have one or both breasts removed. That's a lot of women losing an important body part."
Schematic illustration of the concept for a breast reconstructed using an implant. Credit: Lindau and Bensmaia
Lindau set out looking for evidenced-based solutions to these problems and came up empty-handed. So she's now leading the Bionic Breast Project, an interdisciplinary research program at UChicago applying bionic technologies to restore post-mastectomy breast function.
"It was with these observations and substantial suffering among my patients that I went looking for a solution to the problem of lost sensation and more generally, loss of function in the female breast in the context of breast cancer," Lindau said.