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Breast Reconstruction

Breast Reconstruction in Cyprus, Greece and Malta

Breast Reconstruction is a reconstructive surgery performed to rebuild the shape and look of the breast after mastectomy, lumpectomy or congenital deformities. Women undergo a mastectomy because they have been diagnosed with breast cancer (curative mastectomy) or are at very high risk of developing breast cancer in the future (prophylactic mastectomy).

Innovative medical techniques and state-of-the-art devices are available today, making it possible for plastic surgeons to create a new breast that matches the appearance of a natural breast.

Breast reconstruction may involve multiple procedures performed in stages. It depends on the patient’s unique case whether breast reconstruction will begin at the time of mastectomy or at a later date.

Women thinking of having breast reconstruction should talk to Dr. Stavrou before they have surgery to remove the breast or tumor. This way, all involved doctors and surgeons can plan out the best overall treatment for the patient.

What Is Breast Reconstruction?

Women who had surgery to treat breast cancer might opt for additional surgery to create a new breast mound.

The goal of breast reconstruction is for the new breast to have a natural shape, size and projection while being in balance with the rest of the body and symmetrical with the other breast. Breast reconstruction after mastectomy can make patients feel better about their bodies and more confident.

There are several breast reconstruction options. Choosing a breast reconstruction type depends on the patient’s unique case, while the process often involves more than one operation.

 

  • Implant reconstruction uses breast silicone implants and tissue expanders to help form a new breast mound.
  • Flap reconstruction (or autologous reconstruction) relies on the patient’s own tissue, like skin, fat and muscles from other parts of the body, to create a new breast. It is very common for implant and flap reconstruction to be combined during breast reconstruction.
  • The surgeon may also apply specialized techniques to maximize the breast reconstruction results, such as fat transfer or tissue substitutes – especially in cases where the patient’s tissue is lacking.

 

The nipple-areola complex may be reconstructed in a later stage, about three months after breast reconstruction. Many women opt for nipple-areola reconstruction to enhance the cosmetic result. The surgery requires general anesthesia and the surgeon performs medical tattooing for the areola area.

Breast Reconstruction Before & After Photos

What Type Of Breast Reconstruction Is Best For Your Case?

The patients should talk with their oncologist, general surgeon and plastic surgeon about what type of breast reconstruction might be best for them. Some of the factors that the doctors should consider before deciding on the most suitable procedure include:
  • Location of breast cancer
  • Size of tumor
  • Size of breast
  • Extent of breast cancer surgery – lumpectomy, full mastectomy or partial mastectomy
  • Certain health conditions
  • Surgical risk factors
  • Type of cancer treatment
  • Body shape & weight
  • Amount of available tissue
  • Whether one or both breasts need treatment
  • Patient’s willingness to have more than one surgeries
  • How the surgery will affect other parts of the body
  • Costs & recovery time

Comparing the two basic types of Breast Reconstruction:
Breast Implants vs. Natural Tissue Flaps

Implant Reconstruction
Flap Reconstruction
Surgery
1-2 hours
Less invasive reconstruction procedure, more suitable for women with small to medium-sized breasts with little or no sagging.
4-10 hours
More invasive & complex reconstruction procedure, using tissue from the patient’s abdomen, buttocks, thighs, or back.
Sensation
Loss of sensation in the affected breast area.
Loss of sensation in the affected breast area and in the body area where the tissue was taken.
Look & Feel
Mimics the look of a natural breast, especially when silicone implants are used instead of saline.
Fewer scars.
A better choice for results that mimic the look of a natural breast. More scars.
Hospital stay
1-2 nights when done at the same time as a mastectomy. Potential need for follow-up procedures on an outpatient basis.
2- 4 nights
Potential need for follow-up procedures on an outpatient basis.
Repeated Surgery
Silicone or saline implants must be replaced after some years.
Tissue flaps can’t be replaced. In case of complications, some procedures can’t be repeated.
Recovery
3-4 weeks
4-6 weeks
Risk of Complications
Low risk of surgical complications – mainly in the breast area.
Low risk of surgical complications in the breast area and in the body area where tissue flap is taken.
Risk of Reconstruction Failure
Low risk, yet higher than flap breast reconstruction. Also depends on radiation therapy and skin quality after mastectomy.
Low risk- of partial or complete flap loss.

Comparing the two basic types of Breast Reconstruction: Breast Implants vs. Natural Tissue Flaps

Implant Reconstruction

Surgery: It may last 1-2 hours. It is less invasive, more suitable for women with small to medium-sized breasts with little or no sagging.

Sensation: Loss of sensation in the affected breast area.

Look & Feel: Mimics the look of a natural breast, especially when silicone implants are used instead of saline. Fewer scars.

Hospital Stay: 1-2 nights if done at the same time as a mastectomy. Potential need for follow-up procedures on an outpatient basis.

Repeated Surgery: Silicone or saline implants must be replaced after some years.

Recovery: 3-4 weeks

Risk of Complications: Low risk of surgical complications – mainly in the breast area.

Risk of Reconstruction Failure: Low risk, yet higher than flap breast reconstruction.
Also depends on radiation therapy and skin quality after mastectomy.

Flap Reconstruction

Surgery: It may last 4-10 hours. It is more invasive & complex. The surgeon uses tissue from the patient’s abdomen, buttocks, thighs, or back.

Sensation: Loss of sensation in the affected breast area and in the body area where the tissue was taken.

Look & Feel: A better choice for results that mimic the look of a natural breast. More scars.

Hospital Stay: 2- 4 nights. Potential need for follow-up procedures on an outpatient basis.

Repeated Surgery: Tissue flaps can’t be replaced. In case of complications, some procedures can’t be repeated.

Recovery: 4-6 weeks

Risk of Complications: Low risk of surgical complications in the breast area and in the body area where tissue flap is taken.

Risk of Reconstruction Failure: Low risk- of partial or complete flap loss.

What our patients say!

Rhinoplasty. Dr. Stavrou did an excellent job with my nose, the results are incredible, as good as the ones he has posted on his social pages. I had no pain after the surgery, no complications, everything went smoothly. The recovery was very fast, like 3 weeks. Dr. Stavrou was very kind and professional, I felt very comfortable with him and his team. I trusted him since the first meeting. I highly recommend him to everyone.
Natalie Arsalide
Natalie Arsalide
April 18, 2022.
Dr.Stavrou goes above and beyond to be helpful throughout the whole experience. Overall I am very happy with my results as it is everything I envisioned and more.
Roberta Mifsud
Roberta Mifsud
March 24, 2022.
Edit: I thought I'd add to my review after 1+ year post operation! I got my nose done by Dr Stavrou 27 months ago. The results are beyond excellent and I couldn't ask for better service from the doctor and the team! For anyone who's wondering, almost all of the swelling and bruising was gone after 2 weeks and my nose currently looks like it did about a month after the operation. I highly recommend him!! Old review: Today is the 10th day after my rhinoplasty with Dr Stavrou. Dr Stavrou operated on me following a functional rhinoplasty performed by my otolaryngologist. It was a painless experience and the results have exceeded my expectations! It hasn't affected my daily activities apart from the fact that I was not allowed to work out excessively. The swelling and bruising has almost disappeared completely. The results are excellent and I finally have a nose that complements my face. Not to mention the entire team was very helpful! Thank you so much Dr Stavrou!
Christina Kakoulli
Christina Kakoulli
March 4, 2022.
Ήθελα εδώ και χρόνια να κάνω μείωση στήθους και η αλήθεια δεν το τολμούσα. Είχα ακούσει τα καλύτερα λόγια για τον Δρ. Δημήτρη Σταύρου και το αποφάσισα. Είναι ένας εξαιρετικός γιατρός αφοσιωμένος στην δουλειά του και με επαγγελματισμό σου δίνει το καλύτερο αποτέλεσμα. Για μένα το αποτέλεσμα είναι ένα μικρό θαύμα νιώθω υπέροχα! Γιατρέ σ' ευχαριστώ πολύ για το άψογο αποτέλεσμα. Εύχομαι καλή συνέχεια και με την καταπληκτική σου δουλειά να κάνεις χαρούμενους ανθρώπους.
Demetra Demetriou
Demetra Demetriou
February 7, 2022.
After years of not feeling so confident , due to my breast size I met Dr. Stavrou and from my first consultation I knew he was the right doctor for my procedure. Totally calm and assertive , he guided me to the correct choice, resulting in a perfect outcome making me feel not only extremely confident now but also natural ! I highly recommend him to any women who is facing similar issues. Dr Stavrou thank you once again !!
Tekla Madar
Tekla Madar
January 23, 2022.
Η περίπτωση μου ήταν λιγότερο συχνή και διαφορετική από αυτές που ακούμε στην καθημερινότητά μας. Μεγάλες αυξομειώσεις βάρους (40-50 κιλά) μετά από δύο βαριατρικές επεμβάσεις για αντιμετώπιση της νοσογόνου παχυσαρκίας, με αποτέλεσμα την υπερβολική χαλάρωση του δέρματος σε πολλά σημεία του σώματος. Είχα την τύχη να ακούσω για το Δρ. Σταύρου από φιλικά άτομα, και όταν αποφάσισα να επισκεφτώ πλαστικό χειρούργο ήταν ο πρώτος που πήγα και εκεί άκουσα και έμαθα για το body contouring. Ακολούθησαν πολλά ραντεβού, άπειρες ερωτήσεις, απορίες και φόβος από την πλευρά μου. Όλες οι απαντήσεις του Δρ. Σταύρου άμεσες και ειλικρινείς, ακόμα και αυτές που δε μιλούσαν για βελτίωση όπως ήθελα να ακούσω! Καμιά απάντηση δε δόθηκε απλά για να μου «χαϊδέψει» τα αυτιά. Ο ίδιος με παρότρυνε να επισκεφτώ και άλλους πλαστικούς για να ακούσω και άλλες γνώμες. Τελικά, ήταν ο μόνος που με έπεισε, ο μόνος που μπορούσε να καθησυχάσει το φόβο, το άγχος και την αγωνία μου και ο μόνος που είχε απάντηση σε ότι τον ρωτούσα και έτσι ακολούθησα το ένστικτό μου και επέλεξα τον Δρ. Σταύρου για να προχωρήσουμε μαζί σε όλο αυτό που αποφάσισα να κάνω. Ήξερα από την αρχή ότι τα χειρουργεία θα ήταν πολύωρα και αυτό με φόβιζε περισσότερο αλλά ο γιατρός ήταν εκείνος που με την ηρεμία του με καθησύχαζε. Σε περίοδο έξι μηνών υποβλήθηκα σε δύο πολύωρα χειρουργεία. Η μετεγχειρητική μου πορεία και στις δύο επεμβάσεις ήταν η καλύτερη δυνατή και η ανάρρωση πολύ πιο εύκολη από όσο περίμενα και από όσο προετοιμάστηκα ψυχολογικά να αντέξω. Όλα όσα μου είπε ο Δρ. Σταύρου για τη μετεγχειρητική πορεία, τον πόνο και την ταλαιπωρία, δεν ειπώθηκαν απλά για να με «παρηγορήσουν» να μη φοβάμαι και να μην ανησυχώ. Ήταν όλα ειλικρινή και αντικειμενικά. Όπως ακριβώς μου τα περιέγραψε, έτσι ακριβώς έγιναν. Ακόμα και στα θέματα που αφορούσαν τη ψυχολογία μου ο γιατρός ήταν εκείνος που ήρεμος, μετρημένος και χαμογελαστός με καθησύχαζε. Γιατί όταν ένα άτομο μπαίνει στη διαδικασία να αρχίσει κάτι τόσο σημαντικό, δε μετράει μόνο το να είσαι άψογος σαν επαγγελματίας απέναντί του, αλλά και το να γνωρίζεις τη ψυχολογία του ασθενή σου ανάλογα με την κάθε περίπτωση και ο Δρ. Σταύρου κατέχει την πρώτη θέση και στα δύο!! Αισθάνομαι τυχερή που επέλεξα να εμπιστευτώ στα χέρια του γιατρού Δρ. Σταύρου την αποκατάσταση του σώματός μου και που ο φόβος δεν με απέτρεψε από το να αποφασίσω να κάνω όλα όσα η περίπτωσή μου απαιτούσε, ώστε να έχω το καλύτερο δυνατό αποτέλεσμα. Θα ήταν άδικο αν ο φόβος και η ανησυχία για τα πολύωρα χειρουργεία, τον πόνο και την ανάρρωση δε με άφηναν να έχω κάτι καλύτερο. Γιατρέ μου σε ευχαριστώ για όλα! Συνέχισε το λειτούργημα που κάνεις με τον ίδιο ακριβώς τρόπο που το κάνεις γιατί είναι σπάνια και μεγάλη αρετή να έχεις την ικανότητα και τη δύναμη να χαρίζεις τόσα πολλά χαμόγελα στους ανθρώπους!
Chryso Κ
Chryso Κ
January 22, 2022.
I empiria mou me tin epemvasi rinoplastikis itan arketa kali..to apotelesma mou einai ekseretiko aksizi ton kopo!! o giatros mu poli kalos kai eksipiretiko olo to prosopiko! Den ixa kanena idietero pono oute taleporia mono 2-3 meres imun pio prosektiki meta itan ola mia xara, stin evdomada ekana oles tis kathimerines drastiriotites pu ekana kai prin..aksizi ton kopo kai me to parapano tha to ksanakana!!🙂
eleni tirimou
eleni tirimou
January 21, 2022.

When To Have Breast Reconstruction?

The timing of breast reconstruction is a widely discussed topic in reconstruction research. The sure thing is that each breast cancer case is unique; therefore, it requires a unique approach in regards to the type of breast reconstruction and timing.

Before the patient decides when to have breast reconstruction, the entire team of doctors should meet as a group and discuss the patient’s case. The doctors involved might be your breast surgeon, radiation oncologist, medical oncologist, plastic surgeon and other caregivers.

Hence, depending on what will work best for the patient’s unique situation, breast reconstruction can be done at the same time as the mastectomy or lumpectomy surgery or after cancer treatment and breast surgery (ranging from months to years after).

 

1. Immediate Reconstruction

Immediate breast reconstruction is performed at the same time as mastectomy surgery. The breast cancer surgeon removes a part or the whole breast as required and then the plastic surgeon reconstructs it either with an implant or with tissue from another body part (or both). The entire work gets done in one operation, and the patient wakes up with a rebuilt breast.

In the case of prophylactic mastectomy performed on healthy women to reduce a high risk of breast cancer, breast reconstruction is always done immediately. Yet, immediate reconstruction might not be possible if the patient needs additional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

 

2. Delayed Reconstruction

Cancers larger than 5 centimeters and have spread to the lymph nodes are likely to need chemotherapy and radiation therapy after mastectomy or lumpectomy surgery. These cancer treatments can cause severe changes to a reconstructed breast, such as volume loss, changes in the skin color, texture and appearance, scars that get worse over time, pains, tightness and more.

Most surgeons advise patients to wait until chemotherapy and radiation are finished before having breast reconstruction. This means that reconstruction might be done from six months to many years after mastectomy or lumpectomy. In these cases, the patient can wear an artificial breast called breast prosthesis, designed to replicate a natural breast’s shape, size, and weight. Breast prostheses can fit inside different bra cup sizes and are made of silicone gel or similar soft material.

 

3. Delayed-immediate Reconstruction

Delayed-immediate reconstruction is a relatively new approach to breast reconstruction. The plastic surgeon inserts a breast implant or tissue expander under the chest muscle right after the breast has been removed. This technique preserves the breast’s shape and skin during the upcoming radiation treatment. About four to six months after the additional cancer treatment is complete and tissues have recovered, the plastic surgeon removes the implant or tissue expander in a second surgery and replaces it with a flap from the abdominal donor site.

Breast Reconstruction Surgeon,
Dr. Demetris Stavrou

Dr. Demetris Stavrou is a board-certified Plastic Surgeon, leading the European Institute of Plastic Surgery (EIPS) since 2012. He was trained in top Medical Institutions in Greece, London and Israel.

Dr. Stavrou is regularly invited to speak about breast surgery in comprehensive symposiums, dynamic workshops, and webinars. He has extensive experience in all types of breast procedures and approaches each patient with compassion to make them feel secure, comfortable and confident. For Dr. Stavrou, paying attention to the details is what makes the difference in breast reconstruction procedures.

“Excellence is in the details. Give attention to the details and excellence will come.”

Dr. Demetris Stavrou

Recovery After Breast Reconstruction

The time it takes for a patient to recover depends on the type of breast reconstruction. Most women begin to feel better after the first week post-op and return to usual activities within a month.

Women who had implant reconstruction might feel tired and sore for one or two weeks, while the discomfort from flap reconstruction lasts longer. Bruising and swelling might take up to 8 weeks to go away. Dr. Stavrou will suggest how to take care of your surgery sites best to speed up recovery.

Sometimes the surgeon might use drains – small tubes inserted into the wound to remove extra fluid from the site as it heals. A follow-up visit is required for the safe removal of the fluid drain.

It is essential to keep in mind that breast reconstruction does not restore normal feeling to the breast. Yet, partial feeling might return after some years following the surgery.

FAQs for Breast Reconstruction

Indeed, breast reconstruction is a major surgery that might require more than one procedure at different times. Whether the patient has an implant or flap reconstruction, they need to stay in the hospital for a few days. Recovery time is longer than other breast surgeries, especially for patients who undergo skin flap surgery.

Most patients diagnosed with breast cancer may have a lumpectomy or partial or full mastectomy to remove the tumor and affected lymph nodes from the breast and underarm areas (axilla). 

 

Patients diagnosed with stage I or stage II breast cancer are less likely to need chemotherapies or radiation therapies after mastectomy. These patients are often good candidates for immediate breast reconstruction, performed at the same time as the mastectomy surgery. The same applies to women who undergo prophylactic mastectomy - mastectomy to reduce a high risk of getting breast cancer later in life. 

 

However, patients diagnosed with stage III or stage IV cancers almost always need to undergo further cancer treatment after mastectomy or lumpectomy, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Most doctors suggest all cancer treatments be complete before the patient opts for breast reconstruction. It might take from 6 months to several years after mastectomy or lumpectomy for the patient to be ready for breast reconstruction surgery.

Today, breast implants are innovative, tech-advanced and much safer. The type and projection of the implant depend on the patient’s cosmetic goals, skin, breast tissue and anatomy.

 

Designed with your safety as our top priority, the smooth silicone implants look and feel more natural, mimicking the natural breast tissue and maintaining softness over time.

During a mastectomy, most of the breast nerves are cut and the area becomes numb. Breast reconstruction can restore the appearance and feel of the natural breast to a certain degree to whoever touches it. However, the patient won’t feel much sensation in the treated area when it’s being touched. This part can be hard for most women as breasts are an important erogenous zone.

 

Fortunately, the nerves have the potential to regrow after some years post-op. Some women experience great sensitivity to touch in the armpit next to the reconstructed breast, which can be a new erogenous zone.

Studies have shown that breast reconstruction does not make cancer come back.

 

If cancer comes back, reconstructed breasts do not cause problems in diagnosing cancer or treating it. Therefore, breast reconstruction does not affect the risk of a future cancer diagnosis.

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