Life After Mastectomy: Is Breast Reconstruction a Viable Option?

breast-reconstruction-after-mastectomyOne in nine Canadian women will develop breast cancer in their life time. For women battling with this illness, undergoing a mastectomy – surgery to remove an entire breast to treat or prevent breast cancer – is imperative for survival. While necessary, undergoing this procedure can affect a woman just as much emotionally as it does physically. The mental turmoil of physically removing something that has been a part of her entire life can be of great detriment to a woman’s self-esteem.

Thankfully, many women who have a mastectomy are given the option of having more surgery to rebuild the shape of the removed breast. Research has even shown that immediate reconstruction post mastectomy is safe and doesn’t negatively impact cancer treatments. Some patients who need additional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are usually advised to wait for reconstruction – and while reconstruction before cancer treatments are completely safe – some surgeons will recommend waiting for the shape of the breast to change as a result of these treatments before reconstruction. Plus, the psychological boost to the woman’s self-image and confidence is another reason why breast reconstruction can be a viable option.

Reconstruction After Mastectomy

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy can be either immediate or delayed. With immediate reconstruction, the surgeon rebuilds the breast during the same operation as the mastectomy. This is often the case with women who do not require additional radiation, or for those women undergoing preventative mastectomies. With delayed reconstruction, the surgeon rebuilds the breast after the chest has healed from mastectomy surgery. A third option, for those women who require radiation post-mastectomy, is immediate-delayed reconstruction. With this method, a tissue expander is placed under the skin during the mastectomy to preserve space for an implant, which can be put in place after radiation therapy is complete.

While many women may worry about the possible complications of breast reconstruction surgery, immediate reconstruction has a low risk of complication, according to a study from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The study shows that reconstructive surgery had no increased complications in cancer treatment.

Increasingly, women are choosing to undergo breast reconstruction surgery following treatment, and some of these surgeries are given special funding to improve access. In Ontario, special priority funding is provided to women who need surgery as a part of cancer treatment. Moreover, for those with a valid OHIP number, there is no cost for any breast reconstruction, including surgeries such as breast reduction, mastopexy (breast lift), or breast augmentation that may be needed to balance the other breast after a mastectomy.

The Benefits

Breast reconstruction after mastectomy is an option available to most women, and while it’s considered elective surgery, it can have profound impact on a woman’s overall well-being. As mentioned, undergoing breast reconstruction does not interfere with the treatment of breast cancer, but rather works as a complementary procedure. Some women find that it can enhance self-image and confidence after a demanding medical experience that has dramatically changed the shape of their body.

Traditionally, breast reconstruction procedures have left visible scars that fade over time, but, recent advancements in surgical techniques allow for minimal scarring. It’s also important to keep in mind that a reconstructed breast may not be symmetrical to your natural breast, although measures can be taken during surgery—including the use of an implant in the non-reconstructed breast—to help bring both breasts into more even proportion. It’s important to talk with your surgeon to discuss an option that best suits your body and your lifestyle.

A Personal Choice

The decision to undergo breast reconstruction is a personal one. While some women choose this option as a means of reclaiming control over their bodies after breast cancer, other women prefer not to undergo reconstruction. Some find strength in their new appearance as a reminder of the battle they faced and defeated. Each experience is different; the most important thing is to find the right medical information and support for your circumstances.

It’s important to know that not everyone is a qualified candidate for all types of reconstruction. The type of reconstruction you undergo will be decided by both you and your surgeon, and will depend on your personal needs, anatomy, and treatment history. Should you decide to undergo breast reconstruction, be sure to consult all possible options with your surgeon.

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Fall Beauty Event 2016: Are you Attending?!

It’s that time of year where the leaves begin fall and the sales commence. That’s right! Our annual fall beauty event has arrived, and with that comes a realm of exclusive savings on non-surgical skincare treatments, information sessions with the experts on state-of-the-art technology, and tons of other amazing perks for new and returning clients alike.

This year’s beauty events will take place on the following dates:

Mississauga: Tuesday October 18th 2:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Yorkville: Thursday October 27th 2:00 – 8:00 p.m.

The Miracle 10 Beauty Lounge

Our main floor beauty lounge will feature a beautiful display of Miracle 10 Skincare, where our beauty advisors will provide one-on-one skincare consultations as well as express makeup touch-ups. Here, you’ll be able to sip on sparkling beverages and taste delicious canapés while learning about Miracle 10’s philosophy and secrets to achieving extraordinary skin. fall-beauty-event-1

The Injection Lounge

Our injection lounge is back! This popular stop will feature informational displays on non-surgical skincare treatments, as well live injection demonstrations performed by our beauty nurses. The lounge will also feature a beautiful floral backdrop, so make sure to grab a friend and get your selfie game on!

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The Information Sessions

It is part of our philosophy to ensure that are clients are highly educated about each and every procedure we perform. That’s why at every event, we feature informational sessions, so that new and existing clients are given the opportunity to interact with our doctors and beauty experts. We care about your concerns and understand that everyone, at some point during their beauty journey, will have questions about a procedure before making their appointment.dr-lista-tattoo-removal

This year, we are providing our guests with five 30-minute information sessions on the latest state-of-the-art technology and procedures available at our clinic: CoolSculpting®, PicoWay®, ThermiRF®, injection treatments, plus an exclusive informational session with Burberry Cosmetics.

Here, guests were able to view live demonstrations as well as participate in Q&A sessions with our expert surgeons: Dr. Frank Lista and Dr. Jamil Ahmad.

Exclusive Offers & Promotions

The Fall Beauty Event is a favourite among our clients for not only the amazing experience they have while attending, but also for the incredible savings they receive.

To celebrate the event, we’re offering one week of amazing savings. From Tuesday, October 11th, until Tuesday, October 18th, come in to either of our locations and receive 20% off non-surgical skin treatments, including BOTOX Cosmetic®, Juvéderm®, Belkyra™, PicoWay® tattoo removal, ThermiRF® skin tightening, peels, lasers, and Miracle 10 Skincare. You’ll also be eligible for special event pricing on CoolSculpting® non-surgical body treatments.

Brilliant Distinctions

Earn rewards from your non-surgical skincare treatments. This loyalty program developed by Allergan® allows you to be rewarded with every purchase of BOTOX Cosmetic®, Juvéderm®, Latisse® and Belkyra® treatments.injections-yorkvilleHaven’t yet registered? At this year’s Fall Beauty Event, you can register for Brilliant Distinctions™ and start earning points that can be used towards future treatments.

The additional benefits of this loyalty program extend beyond the accumulated savings:

1. By keeping up with consistent visits, patients often require smaller amounts of injection treatments with each visit.

2. Regular upkeep of Hyaluronic Acid fillers can activate natural collagen synthesis for improved firmness.

Learn more about our special event offers. We look forward to seeing you!

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Body Contouring After Extreme Weight Loss: How Common Is It?

body-contouring-torontoLosing a significant amount of weight is a major achievement, but for many, it’s only half the battle. If you’ve managed to lose a large amount of weight, you deserve to be thrilled with this accomplishment. The hard work you put into living a healthier lifestyle, whether it be through diet and exercise, or a surgical weight loss procedure, is worthy of congratulations.

I see many patients who`ve made it to their target weight, but still feel unfulfilled due to excess skin, loose tissue, or issues with their physical proportions, which is a result of their extreme weight loss. For these patients, restorative surgery for significant weight loss – may be the answer.

At The Plastic Surgery Clinic, many of my prospective patients will ask: Am I a good candidate for body contouring?

What is Body Contouring?

Body contouring encompasses an array of surgical procedures where excess skin, as a result of significant weight loss, is trimmed away. The various types of body contouring procedures I frequently perform include:

Arm Lift:

A surgical procedure that gives you leaner, more toned-looking arms by removing excess skin and tightening tissue.

Thigh Lift:

An operation designed to improve the contour of the upper legs through the removal of unwanted skin as well as tightening the underlying tissue.

Tummy Tuck:

Also known as abdominoplasty, this surgical procedure creates a smooth, flat tummy by eliminating sagging skin and tightening slack abdominal muscles, as well as removing any stubborn fat deposits.

Buttock Lift:

A buttock lift is designed to lift a sagging, shapeless rear end and improve firmness by removing loose skin and possibly remodeling the fatty tissue through injections harvested from other parts of your body.

Breast Lift:

Breast lift surgery is performed in order to reform sagging breasts into a more youthful, perky shape; sometimes breast implants are used to improve size and shape at the same time.

Body Contouring: It`s More Common than You Think

Skin elasticity weakens with age, and additionally, in patients who have undergone extreme weight loss. In weight loss patients, for example, the skin has stretched to an extent where the elasticity is permanently diminished, leaving them with extra skin and unnatural skin folds where there are normally none. The excessive skin makes patients very self-conscious. It may also interfere in physical activities and can be difficult to care for, leading to skin infections and skin breakdown. As a result of these physical complications, restorative body contouring is the only form of correction.

A Life-Changing Procedure

Body contouring procedures are extremely common in patients who have lost over 100 lbs, as their excess skin is circumferential, meaning it extends from the abdomen around to the patient’s back. A recent patient of mine had undergone extreme weight loss – she lost over 130 pounds – which resulted in weakened skin that became excessive and uncomfortable. As is commonly the case with those who achieve significant weight loss, instead of being able to embrace their improved lifestyle, she found that her leftover skin interfered with the ability to embrace this new milestone in her life.

Unfortunately, excess skin will not respond to changes in diet and exercise. The only way that it can be adequately eliminated is through surgical restoration. The following images show my patient at the different stages of her post weight loss journey: before her extended abdominoplasty procedure, and 3 months post op.


No-Drain Tummy Tuck

The highlight of this patient`s procedure was that it was done without the use of drains. This new technique, called Progressive Tension Abdominoplasty, is a form of drainless tummy tuck that seals the space between the skin and muscle where fluid tends to accumulate. Using a special kind of internal stitch called the Quill suture, the skin and muscle are locked in place with the barbs of the suture.

In past surgical techniques, the space between the skin and muscle was left open and unattached, allowing a space where fluid could collect. As fluid collected, causing a seroma, the healing process would slow down, so surgeons would prevent this by inserting small drains to remove excess fluid.

The other point of note for this particular case is the use of an extended abdominoplasty technique. Because this patient was concerned about excess circumferential skin, a typical abdominoplasty would have presented limitations in achieving a desired end result. A typical abdominoplasty uses an incision that extends from hip to hip as this is typically where excess unwanted skin is located in a tummy tuck patient. However, in this case, where body contouring is necessary after significant weight loss, an extended abdominoplasty was used to extend the incision beyond the patient’s hips in order to address the excess circumferential tissue.

This patient, who lost over 130 lbs. through diet and exercise, is much happier with the overall appearance of her body. Because her skin now fits the curvature and contour of her figure, her hard work and dedication in achieving her goal weight can be more easily recognized. This is just one of the incredible stories I witness every day, and just the beginning of this patient`s life-changing journey. In January 2017, she will under a thigh lift to improve the contour of her upper legs.

Body Contouring at The Plastic Surgery Clinic

Your body contouring procedure can be performed on site in the state-of-the-art facilities of The Plastic Surgery Clinic. The Clinic exceeds national, provincial and municipal health care facility standards.

If you prefer, you can also have your surgery at one of the hospitals where both Dr. Frank Lista and I enjoy privileges. These include the Mississauga site of the Trillium Health Centre and the University Health Network in Toronto.

Should you decide to undergo a body contouring procedure, whatever your motivation, be sure to consult with a highly qualified, board certified plastic surgeon that specializes in all areas of body contouring. Together, both of you will be able to determine an end result that not only benefits your lifestyle, but also meets your aesthetic goals.

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3 Reasons to Combine Liposuction with a Tummy Tuck

tummy-tuck-with-liposuctionPlastic surgery has seen an increasing demand for various combinations of different procedures performed simultaneously. While the idea of performing multiple surgeries at once is not new, technological advancements  allow these procedures to be performed more easily and effectively at once than ever before.

While there are a variety of cosmetic procedures that can be performed at once, body contouring – the most common surgeries being liposuction and abdominoplasty – has become an increasingly popular combined procedure performed in our clinic.

In fact, when many prospective patients come in for a free consultation, they often ask me: Can liposuction and a tummy tuck be performed at once?


Abdominoplasty, more commonly known as the tummy tuck, is a very common procedure for patients who wish to correct certain changes in their midsection. These changes, which are usually a result of childbirth or dramatic weight loss, can cause excess skin and damaged muscle tissue that may interfere with a person’s post-weight loss body shape.


Liposuction is also a very common procedure to help sculpt stubborn bulges of unwanted fat that don’t respond as easily to diet and exercise. Some of the common areas treated with liposuction include the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck.

Combining the Procedures

There are many benefits of combining liposuction and abdominoplasty. Not only are they two of the most commonly combined procedures, but the combination itself delivers the following patient outcomes:

1. More Comprehensive Results

By combining liposuction with abdominoplasty, a patient will see superior results. The two procedures are very complementary, yet each accomplishes a different goal. As mentioned, abdominoplasty surgery tightens the underlying musculature of the tummy and then removes the excess skin and tissue. Liposuction can then be used to finely contour the body, which isn’t possible with abdominoplasty surgery alone.

2. Less Downtime

Undergoing abdominoplasty surgery usually requires two weeks off from minimal activity, and approximately one month off from vigorous activity. Additionally, liposuction patients need approximately five to seven days recover time, so combining these procedures will allow for an overall quicker recovery. For many of my patients – most of whom live active lifestyles – decreasing the time spent away from family, work or leisure can be of major benefit.

Moreover, many patients who undergo two separate procedures will have to wait approximately six months in between each procedure. In other words, if a patient were to first undergo abdominoplasty surgery, and then decided to undergo liposuction afterwards, he/she would have to wait at least six months to reduce the risk of any complications associated with each surgery.

3. More Cost Effective

Many plastic surgeons (like myself) frequently combine procedures, and when we do, it becomes more cost effective for the patient. Why? Associated fees such as the surgeon’s fee and the anesthesia fee are paid once in the combined procedure as opposed to two separate times if the procedures were done separately.

While combining liposuction with abdominoplasty comes down to an individual choice, if you decide to do so, be sure to consult with a highly qualified, board certified plastic surgeon. At The Plastic Surgery Clinic, Dr. Lista and I will listen to you and help you choose the best procedure for your body and your lifestyle. Our patient-focused approach and exceptional level of experience have earned us a reputation as two of the most gifted body contouring surgeons in the Greater Toronto Area.

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Vaginal Rejuvenation: 5 Reasons Why Women are Doing It

vaginal-rejuvenation-torontoVaginal rejuvenation is an umbrella of both surgical and non-surgical procedures that can enhance, tighten and tone the vagina. While many people will relate such procedures strictly with cosmetic enhancement, there are several reasons women undergo vaginal rejuvenation, many of which are non-cosmetic related.

Truth be told, vaginal rejuvenation is not just for amplifying your confidence below the belt — it can also improve a woman’s overall health and wellbeing. So, why are more and more women undergoing these procedures? Read on to find out.

1. Vaginal Laxity

About 50% of women will experience vaginal laxity (weakened vaginal muscles) as a result of aging, and especially following childbirth. This can certainly make intercourse feel less pleasurable for not only the woman, but for her partner as well. For this reason, many women will undergo a vaginal rejuvenation procedure to restore the most intimate part of their lives, ultimately assisting in regaining sexual pleasure.

What can be done?

There are both surgical and non-invasive options that can correct vaginal laxity. If you choose to undergo a vaginoplasty, it will require surgery that can usually be completed in under an hour. During this procedure, your surgeon will make small incisions inside the vaginal area to join the loose muscles and shorten them. The vaginal opening will also be tightened at this time.

If surgery isn’t for you, the latest in revolutionary non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation treatment, also known as ThermiVa, is another viable option for treating vaginal laxity. This particular procedure uses radio frequency technology and the science of heat to comfortably tighten the vaginal tissues safely and effectively without surgery or downtime. Many patients report that the treatment experience feels like a warm massage.

2. Mild Stress Urinary Incontinence

Women who encounter mild bladder leakage often find it a major nuisance, especially during physical activity and exertion, or while coughing, lifting, or exercising. Bladder leakage is in no way a cosmetic concern, but rather a burden that can alter the body’s function. For this reason, women will undergo vaginal rejuvenation to reduce urinary leaking and urge.

What can be done?

ThermiVa’s radiofrequency technology has been proven to correct the burden of mild bladder leakage. In fact, when ThermiVa is used with pelvic floor physical therapy, many women are able to avoid bladder surgeries – like the mesh and sling – as they reported a reduction in urinary leaking and urge after these treatments.

3. Sexual Dysfunction

Persistent, recurrent problems with sexual response, desire, orgasm or pain can cause distress for a woman who experiences this condition. Female sexual dysfunction can occur at any stage of life, and this disruption can certainly bring forth the desire for treatment.

What can be done?

Vagioplasty surgery is a very effective treatment option for sexual dysfunction in women. Because this procedure can make the vaginal canal much tighter, sensations during intercourse post surgery will be much more pleasurable for both the woman and her partner.

ThermiVa can also correct sexual dysfunction in women. By tightening the tissues of the vaginal walls, as well as in the clitoral and g-spot areas, increased nerve sensitivity can occur, resulting in stronger pelvic floor muscular contractions and the capability to achieve orgasm in a shorter period of time.

4. Labial Cosmetic Appearance

Excessive or uneven development of the labia can be a great source of discomfort for some women. A woman with overly large labia may experience pain during intercourse, pain when sitting, difficulty using tampons, and even discomfort when walking or running. Thankfully, there are treatment options available.

What can be done?

Surgical correction of excessive vaginal lips, otherwise known as a labia reduction or labiaplasty, will correct the overall cosmetic appearance of the labia. This procedure is a relatively minor operation that can be performed by a plastic surgeon, and in some cases, can be performed under local anesthetic or freezing.

For those women wishing to correct the appearance of their outer labia, ThermiVa has been proven to help. This non-surgical procedure can tighten soft tissues in the labia that helps to reduce external sagging. Many women who are concerned about labial sagging find that this treatment enables them to feel more comfortable in tight clothing like jeans, swimwear, and exercise apparel. In most cases, where the inner labia excessively protrudes far beyond the outer labia, surgical correction is recommended for optimal results.

5. Vaginal Dryness

One of the most common causes of vaginal dryness in women is low estrogen levels. This condition is often seen post-menopause and can bring forth pain during intercourse, and can also be associated with arousal difficulties.

What can be done?

While there are many different vaginal treatments available, from non-prescription, non-medicated lubricants and moisturizers to prescription-only topical as well as pill forms of estrogen therapy, they are only effective with consistent use.

When treated internally to the vaginal muscles, ThermiVa can assist in correcting vaginal dryness. In fact, many women with this condition have reported improved vaginal lubrication following ThermiVa treatments, likely as a result of an increase in blood flow to the vaginal canal.

If you decide to undergo either a surgical or non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedure, whatever your motivation, be sure to consult with a highly qualified, board certified plastic surgeon. At The Plastic Surgery Clinic, Dr. Lista and Dr. Ahmad will listen to you and help you choose the best procedure for your body and your lifestyle. Their patient-focused approach have earned a reputation for being exceptionally gifted Toronto vaginal rejuvenation surgeons.

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