Tuesday, 11. July 2023

Tonatiuh Flores, Plastic Surgeon in training

Diversity in techniques and methodology

‘St. Pölten is a top location for plastic surgery. We cover a wide range of areas, there is plenty to operate on and there is a strong focus on research throughout the entire department,’ explains Dr Tonatiuh Flores, assistant doctor at the Clinical Division of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery at St. Pölten University Hospital. Alongside hand, nerve and lymph surgery, the department specialises in reconstructive surgery for breast and skin cancer, peripheral tumours and post-trauma surgery under the helm of chief physician Assoc. Prof. Dr Klaus F. Schrögendorfer. The treatment of hand abnormalities among children is also a main treatment focus in the department. ‘I’m highly interested in treating breast cancer patients and breast surgery, which is also a main focus of chief physician Schrögendorfer's department. I was also won over by the subject,’ comments the doctor, who considers himself very lucky to work alongside Dr Schrögendorfer. Dr Flores also specialises in hand and nerve surgery in cooperation with senior physician Dr Erol Konul and PD Dr Konstantin Bergmeister, PhD. ‘That’s the great thing about plastic surgery: it offers a wide range of variety, from minor procedures under local anaesthesia to major breast and limb reconstruction or post-bariatric surgery. Doctors in this field are able to have a palpable impact and improve the lives of patients. At the same time, due to our inquisitive nature, we’re always looking to pass on knowledge to others. This mindset drives our research.' As St. Pölten is a university hospital, research and practical work as a doctor held to the highest standards in the department are both equally important pillars of the work carried out by Dr Flores. He now also works as a lecturer and tutors medical students at Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences (KL). Dr Flores discovered his affinity to plastic surgery early on in his medical career: ‘I had just started to study medicine in the medical faculty at the University of Pécs in Hungary. We benefited from a strong relationship between students and lecturers, allowing us to acquire sound capabilities to care for patients,’ the doctor recalls of his time at university. After completing his degree, Dr Flores completed a placement at the departments for plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Charité Hospital in Berlin, and at Klagenfurt Hospital, before his rotation in the heart surgery department at Vienna General Hospital. As the transplant coordinator for heart and lung transplants in the Central European transplant region, he gained valuable experience that he now uses for his clinical and academic work. His keen interest in research did not go unnoticed by his current supervisor, chief physician Prof. Schrögendorfer, who put it to good use when Dr Flores transferred to St. Pölten University Hospital in 2018. Once at St. Pölten University Hospital, Dr Flores had the opportunity to work on a research project on breast implant revisions and present on the topic at the annual congress of the Austrian Society for Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery. His work has since led to several publications, including in the top international journal for plastic surgery ‘Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery’ (Flores, T et al., 2023). In addition, Dr Flores has also published articles in the ‘Journal of Clinical Medicine’, Springer journals and supported the EU Scientific Committee on Health, E.a.E.R.S. in the consensus piece ‘Preliminary Opinion on the safety of breast implants in relation to anaplastic large cell lymphoma (2020)’ with his work.
Dr Flores has been an assistant doctor in the plastic surgery division at the university hospital since autumn 2019. With three ongoing seed funding projects that support the Forschungsimpulse funding program at KL as funding instruments, Dr Flores is an academic in high demand. The results of the collaboration between the Division of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery and the Division of Pharmacology on the topic of breast cancer will be published in due course. Dr Flores has also participated in several collaborations with other clinical divisions at the university hospital, including the Pathology Division and the Division for Microbiology and Hygiene. His personal goals include completing his upcoming specialist examination, making progress on projects, and starting new projects in addition to undertaking his habilitation in the Division for Plastic Surgery at St. Pölten University Hospital. In the long-term, the doctor and academic hopes to continue working in his current division at St. Pölten University Hospital, as it's one of the biggest departments in Austria in terms of the range of services covered and he highly values the symbiosis between clinical and academic work. He receives support in this endeavour from the trust placed in him by chief physician Schrögendorfer and his colleagues along with the university hospital and the Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences. 

Link to the KL research information system KRIS