TRAM Flap Reconstruction
Serving Patients in Jacksonville, Florida
TRAM is an abbreviation for transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous flap and simply describes that part of the tummy tissue being used for breast reconstruction. The TRAM flap utilizes skin, fat, and MUSCLE to help create a breast mound. There are two techniques for TRAM flaps:
Pedicled Tram Flap
In this technique, which is pictured below, the skin, fat, and entire length of the rectus abdominus muscle is taken to reconstruct the breast. If you are having a bilateral breast reconstruction (i.e. both sides), then both muscles need to be taken, potentially increasing the risk of hernia formation and losing your core strength. Although the pedicled TRAM is still performed by many surgeons, most believe the harvesting of the entire muscle, thereby diminishing your core strength is an unnecessary sacrifice because newer less invasive techniques are available.
FREE Tram Flap or Muscle Sparing TRAM Flap
The free TRAM flap was designed to help minimize the donor site morbidity or loss of core strength. In this technique, skin and fat along with only a small strip of muscle below the belly button is harvested. All the rectus muscle above the belly button is preserved to help maintain your strength. This mound of your own tissue is detached and then reattached to blood vessels in your chest using a microscope. Although more technically involved, the procedure has a greater than 95% success rate.
Advantages - TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction
- Unlike an implant, your own tissue will not rupture or get infected
- As you body weight changes, so to will your breast since it is composed of fat. Therefore, your reconstruction will change as you change
- For larger breasted women, autologous reconstruction creates a more natural result
- Patients benefit from the removal of skin and fat from the lower abdomen, thereby gaining a tummy tuck
Disadvantages- TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction
- The operative time is longer, more complex than implant based reconstruction
- In order to remove the skin and fat from the lower abdomen, a scar is necessary
- There is a risk of hernia or abdominal wall bulging
- There is an increased chance for needing a blood transfusion
- The entire length of the rectus abdominus muscle is used, thereby decreasing core strength.
Hospital Stay – 3-5 days
No lifting over 10 lbs for 6-8 weeks
Recovery period – 4-6 weeks
To learn more about any of the procedures described or to schedule a consultation, call us now at (904) 262-DESAI (3372) or complete the contact us form.
Desai Center of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
14540 Old St. Augustine Road Suite #2391 | Jacksonville, Florida 32258