Zoltán Mátrai MD., Ph.D., Dr. Habil, FEBS.

Head of Department


Head of Department: Zoltán Mátrai MD., Ph.D., Dr. Habil, FEBS.

Head of Department Office: Erika Szilágyi Tel: +36 1 2248600 extension: 3679

Administrator: Dóra Besnyő Tel: +36 1 2248600 extension: 3797

Breast cancer is the most common cancerous disease in women. Nearly 7300-7500 primary breast cancer diagnosed in Hungary every year. The National Institute of Oncology is Hungary’s leading center of breast cancer oncology, providing multidisciplinary care. The number of breast surgery procedures in our department was steadily increasing in the last decades, and in recent years reaching 1000 primary breast surgeries per year, which constitutes 12-15% of all breast surgery procedures nationwide. Malignant soft tissue tumors (sarcomas) are much less prevalent cancers, but require a special approach due to their often aggressive biological nature. According to the primary professional profile of the Dermato-oncology Center of our Institute, approximately 400 surgeries are performed per year related to skin cancer melanoma malignum, as part of the multidisciplinary care of that disease.

The surgery of breast cancer has undergone major development in recent decades. In the second half of the 80s, the Surgery Department of the Institute, led by Professor István Besznyák, pioneered the usage of breast-conserving surgery in Hungary instead of complete mastectomy usual at the time. Currently, with the availability of breast cancer screening for the population, we are able to conduct such breast-conserving surgery procedures, supplemented by radiation therapy of the breast.

At the end of the 90s, the Breast Surgery department of our Institute was a leading pioneer in introducing the sentinel lymph node biopsy technique, to avoid routine surgical removal of armpit lymph nodes. Nowadays, we perform approximately 550 of these minimum invasive procedures per year, preventing unfavourable complications from lymph node removal, such as the lymphedema of the arm. Our results are usually presented in local and international journals and conferences, adhering to scientific standards.

The 21st century brought about a new era of breast surgery: oncoplastic breast surgery, accomplishing patient-centered care by combining the necessary oncological surgical radicality with the immediate or delayed plastic reconstruction of the breast. Specific knowledge and surgical techniques are important requirements in this field, as well as the full psychological rehabilitation of the Woman, keeping in mind that the breast is the most symbolic organ of the femininity.

Our Institute created a separate Department of Breast and Sarcoma Surgery on 1st March 2012, following international tendencies, being among the first to do so in Hungary. Our physicians have a high level of experience in modern breast surgery techniques, soft tissue, and skin cancers, as well as theoretical oncology. The breast and soft tissue surgeons have qualifications in general surgery and clinical oncology, and they also hold certificates of “Surgical Oncology” and “Breast Surgery” from the European Society of Surgical Oncology. We maintain close cooperation in all three fields with the plastic surgeons of the Department of Reconstructive Surgery.

We continue to carry out successful multidisciplinary treatments, with the help of the decisions of breast, soft tissue, and skin cancer multidisciplinary committees, constantly updating our knowledge through regular study trips abroad. We present our results in local and international journals and conferences.

Department of Reconstructive Surgery

Nowadays, oncological reconstructive plastic surgery is an important field in modern oncology and multidisciplinary treatment of cancers. Despite advances in medication as part of complex cancer treatment, in the present day and in the first half of the 21st century, surgical resection remains an essential element of the treatment of cancer. The oncologic surgeon removes the tumor, and the plastic surgeon replaces missing tissue from local or distant parts of the body. This cooperation expands the oncological possibilities of tumor removal, enabling surgery of cancers previously deemed inoperable. Oncological reconstructive plastic surgery allows the complete removal of extremely large tumors, provides strain-free wound closure, the closure of body cavities, and replaces missing skin areas, adipose tissue, muscle, or bone. Combining surgical procedures with oncological reconstructive plastic surgery restores tissue function, replaces missing tissue, and ensures restoration of the proper proportions and symmetry of the human body.

In the National Institute of Oncology, the main field of reconstructive plastic surgery is breast reconstruction following cancer surgeries. These reconstructive procedures may take place right after the cancer resection or later, following the adjuvant treatments. We can replace partially or completely removed breasts with the most up-to-date plastic surgery techniques, using autologus tissue or silicon implants. The curve of the breast and the nipple can be reconstructed as well. If needed, the symmetry of the breasts can be improved, through the shaping of the non-malignant breast, or enlargement, or reduction surgery.

Oncological reconstructive surgery is required when tissue replacement is not possible with standard methods due to the large volume of resected tumor. Special tissue transplantation is required when the closure of body cavities, or covering of essential anatomical areas, or the restoration of missing function is needed. Microsurgically transplanted tissue is not only suitable for replacing missing tissue (muscle, skin, bone), but with the help of vascular micro-sutures, improves the circulation of the recipient area, ensuring the optimal blood supply of the transplanted tissue.

This state-of-the-art, coordinated, multimodal oncological treatment is built upon the cooperation of many fields. Oncological reconstructive plastic surgery is an integrated part of modern oncology approaches and practice; it not only replaces tissue after tumor resection, but also aims to restore the beauty and natural proportions of the human body.