Breast reconstruction

Regardless of whether breast cancer was operated on with “breast-conserving” surgery or the breast was completely removed, those affected are confronted with a changed body image after completing cancer treatment. Looking in the mirror every day reminds many patients of the disease and becomes a psychological burden.

As plastic surgeons, we can offer correction options for a wide variety of situations, so that the stigmatization in public as a “cancer patient” is prevented and the patient regains an intact body image in line with her expectations. Ideally, the woman can come to terms with her illness and feels “restored” in the truest sense of the word.

Frequently asked questions:

  • How does breast reconstruction work in our clinic?
  • When can breast reconstruction be performed?
  • What correction options are there?
  • Breast reconstruction with implants
  • Reconstruction of the nipple
  • Equalizing an asymmetry

How does breast reconstruction work in our clinic?

During an initial consultation in the practice, we discuss the patient’s individual wishes and expectations and carry out initial examinations. I then explain all the possible treatment options. Since the corrections are planned depending on the findings and personal needs, the exact determination of the individual treatment plan can only be made in a personal consultation. Whether one or more procedures are necessary and whether these are carried out on an outpatient or inpatient basis can only be determined afterwards.

When can breast reconstruction be performed?

After chemotherapy or radiotherapy, the patient must wait at least 6 months before the procedure can be carried out. A consultation can, of course, be carried out earlier and often makes the “waiting time” until the restorative procedure easier. All correction options can also be carried out at a later date and are generally reimbursed by the health insurance company.

What correction options are there?

There are a variety of treatment options, but these are only decided after a personal consultation and a detailed examination.

Breast reconstruction with implants

Breast reconstruction can be performed with a silicone implant. It can be performed as an immediate reconstruction, whereby the mammary gland is removed and the remaining skin is filled with a silicone implant.

If there is a high incidence of breast cancer in the family history, it must be investigated whether a gene mutation is present. If this is detected and the patient decides to undergo prophylactic surgery, immediate reconstruction with implants can be performed.

After a mastectomy, the breast can be reconstructed in a second step, for which the skin must first be stretched with an expander. An expander has a silicone sleeve that is expanded with saline solution via a valve. This gradually stretches the skin. This expander can be inserted immediately during the tumor operation or later.

Once the skin has been sufficiently stretched, the expander is replaced with a silicone gel implant in a further operation. Breast reconstruction with implants is more suitable for patients who have not had radiotherapy, as the risk of capsular fibrosis is significantly increased.

Reconstruction of the nipple

During a mastectomy, the nipple and areola often also have to be removed. The nipple can be reconstructed by transplanting part of the healthy nipple or from the skin of the breast with a small, star-shaped flap. The areola is created by tattooing or skin grafting. Beautiful results can also be achieved by transplanting excess skin from the areola of the other breast.

Equalizing an asymmetry

If the breasts are unequal in size after cancer surgery, the healthy, larger breast can be reduced in size to compensate for the asymmetry. You can find more information on breast reduction. A breast lift can also help to compensate for possible asymmetries. If the diseased breast is to be enlarged, this is possible by means of autologous fat transplantation (lipofilling) or silicone implants .

If you have any further questions, please arrange a personal consultation at our practice in Cham.

Dr. med. Dorrit Winterholer

Specialist in plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive facial and breast surgery.

  • Over 20 years of experience as a surgeon.
  • Over 12 years of experience as a specialist in plastic and aesthetic medicine.
  • Senior Consultant Plastic Surgery Lucerne since 2021.
Dr. med. Dorrit Winterholer. Breast augmentation with autologous fat.

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