Depending on the patient’s condition and needs, the reconstruction can be carried out as an autologous tissue reconstruction or as a foreign tissue construction by means of silicone expander implants.
The latter, however, is usually only possible if the skin has been preserved during the mastectomy and no radiotherapy has been done, as this would reduce the elasticity of the surrounding tissue. In these cases, or generally ideally, one should opt for a plastic surgery with autologous tissue, in which a flap of muscular fascia is removed from the back, abdomen or gluteal area, transplanted and modeled to form the new breast. This may be augmented by means of an additive implant.
If a breast reconstruction with implants is possible, the soft tissue situation has to be restored first, or the existing soft tissues need to be stretched with expanders. After the expander has been inserted, it will be gradually filled with a saline solution over a period of 2-3 months until the soft tissues have expanded enough to hold the implant. Upon implantation the untreated breast will be adjusted to the implanted breast by means of a breast lift or breast reduction, followed by a nipple reconstruction and, if necessary, a subsequent treatment of potential scars.
Patients need not worry about future medical check-ups or follow-up treatment, as breast implants usually do not affect cancer treatment, such as chemotherapies, and do not cause any problems during medical check-ups where modern methods such as ultrasound or MRI are applied.
All procedures are performed under general anesthesia over several sessions. An inpatient stay for several days is required. In many cases the procedure is medically indicated and therefore covered by insurance, which means it can only be performed in contractual hospitals of the health insurance companies and not in private hospitals.
A longer incapacity for work of several weeks is to be expected. In some cases rehabilitation is also required.
Careful preparation is essential for every operation, especially for this one, so that a longer planning phase is necessary. Over multiple sessions you will be informed in detail about each step.