TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction
Every woman diagnosed with breast cancer should be informed of the opportunity to have breast reconstruction surgery. Whether the oncologic breast surgeon and/or the medical oncologist recommends immediate reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy or whether you need to wait until after completing chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, you still have choices. There are many different techniques for breast reconstruction.
Once you’ve decided on breast reconstruction, the next choice is whether to use your own tissues, some type of implants, or a combination of autologous tissue with implants. There are advantages and disadvantages to both techniques. One technique uses the excess skin and fatty tissue many women have in their lower abdomen. This technique, called the TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous) flap, re-uses this lower abdomen tissue to create the breasts. The advantage of this procedure is that the breasts are very soft and natural since they consist of your own natural tissues. In addition, you also get a ‘tummy tuck!’
Our patients love their results because they end up with a flat belly as well as soft, natural breasts. The disadvantages of the TRAM flap include a long scar on the lower part of the abdomen, a lengthy surgery and recovery, and the potential for weakness in the abdominal wall following the surgery. Not all women are good candidates for this procedure. Very thin women do not have enough tissue to create the breasts. Very heavy women often have poor blood supply to their fat and heal more slowly following the surgery. Women who smoke, have diabetes, or have had prior abdominal surgeries are also at higher risk for post-operative complications.
In our practice, most women have immediate reconstruction, so we reconstruct your breast during the same surgery as the mastectomy. It’s very comforting to wake up after your mastectomy and have new breasts. If you need to wait for reconstruction, be assured that we can restore your breasts when your other treatment is complete. Health always comes first.