Dallas patients researching breast reconstruction have, no doubt, come across information about the TRAM Flap procedure. Traditionally, the TRAM Flap has been one of the most commonly used types of breast reconstruction, and it is still practiced by many surgeons today. Unfortunately, this isn’t because of its superiority over other methods but, rather, the fact that more advanced reconstruction techniques require microsurgical skills that many surgeons lack.
At the Texas Center for Breast Reconstruction, we make a point of staying current on new advances in our field so we can provide you with the very best care available. In recent years, the advent of perforator flaps (such as the DIEP, SIEA, and SGAP flaps) has virtually eliminated the use of TRAM flaps in our practice, as nearly all TRAM candidates are also candidates for perforator flaps, which are most often preferred by patients. This page discusses TRAM flaps to clarify the differences with perforator flaps and help you understand all of your options. Perforator flaps are also discussed in more detail on the DIEP page, but if you prefer to speak to someone directly about your questions, please feel free to call us at 972.566.3939.
What’s Involved in TRAM Flap Reconstruction?
A “flap” is typically a combination of muscle, fat, and skin taken from the patient’s abdomen, back, or other parts of the body for use in breast reconstruction. In the case of a TRAM flap, the tissue is taken from the abdomen. Dallas TRAM Flap reconstruction patients can expect the following during surgery:
- The surgeon will determine what type of TRAM Flap (pedicle, free, etc.) to perform based on your anatomy and the clinical situation. The type simply indicates the method by which your tissue will be moved to the site of your new breast. A “free” TRAM is one which involves using microsurgical techniques – a specialty of ours at the Texas Center – to move the tissue.
- Patient’s generally have an improvement in abdominal contour.
- Your new breast will be constructed and integrated with the surrounding tissue at the new breast site.
If you would like more detailed information or have concerns about this procedure, please call us at 972.566.3939 or schedule a consultation. Our knowledgeable staff members are happy to help.
Advantages Of Tram Flap Reconstruction
Dallas patients looking into breast reconstruction should consider the following factors:
- Since the reconstruction involves using your own tissues, the risks of implant reconstruction are avoided.
- It is typically easier to match the contralateral natural breast with the patient’s own (autologous) tissues when compared with an implant reconstruction.
- All of these advantages are also true of the perforator flaps.
Possible Factors to Consider for this Procedure
- TRAM flap reconstruction generally requires a longer, more difficult surgery, and possibly a longer recovery, at the first stage when compared with implants.
- Many patients experience some abdominal muscle weakness following surgery, because some of the abdominal wall muscle is moved in the flap. This problem is diminished in the DIEP/SIEA flap methods.
- Due to incisions made in the abdominal muscle wall, the possibility exists for developing hernias at the flap harvest site. This problem is also diminished in the DIEP/SIEA flap methods.
- Patients will have a long scar across the lower abdomen where the flap is taken from.
For patients in Dallas, TRAM Flap reconstruction is just one of the options available to you. Call the experts at the Texas Center at 972.566.3939 to learn more about how TRAM Flaps compare to more advanced methods.