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Munich doctors rebuild breasts with pig tissue after cancer

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Munich doctors rebuild breasts with pig tissue after cancer
Photo: DPA
16:28 CET+01:00
Doctors in Bavaria have become the first in Europe to test a new post-mastectomy plastic surgery procedure that uses subcutaneous pig tissue, the University of Munich's women's health centre announced on Thursday.

The centre has treated six breast cancer patients who had mastectomies with the “Strattice Reconstructive Tissue Matrix” and report that has so far been gentler than the standard re-constructive method of transplanting flesh from places like the belly and buttocks.

The new method used a sterile framework – made from the pig tissue – that supports the regeneration of the breast, according to the statement.

Freed of all animal cells and other substances the tissue has caused no rejections in any of the test cases.

“After the removal of the glands during the cancer operation we put the Matrix together with a silicone implant in directly,” research leader Dr. Darius Dian said, adding that the optical results have been “excellent.”

“The successes up until now show great promise,” Dian said, though he cautioned the method had not yet been widely tested.

Another study of the pig tissue matrix is ongoing in the US, but there have been no official results.

According to the clinic, called the Klinik für Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde der Universität München in German, some 57,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year in Germany. Of these, some 15,000 women are unable to avoid breast amputation.

Many women choose to have re-constructive surgery, but the scarring from harvesting tissue from other body parts is a significant drawback to this technique.

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