TRAM Flap Breast ReconstructionView Gallery
TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction in Charlotte
While expander and implant surgery is a great option for some women, others may choose to undergo TRAM flap breast reconstruction, making use of their own tissue to recreate their breast.
The TRAM flap (transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous flap) uses a patient’s lower abdominal skin and fat to reconstruct the breast. There are many variations of this type of breast reconstruction surgery with multiple names, but the basic idea is this: During this surgery, the skin and fat of the lower abdomen is moved to the position of the breast. It is either rotated up with some of the abdominal muscles (a pedicled TRAM flap), or it is brought up into position and then blood vessels are sewn together to provide a blood supply (a free TRAM flap).
Regardless of which is used by your plastic surgeon the abdominal tissue is transferred to your chest to restore the shape of your breast. The abdominal incision is then closed much as an abdominoplasty would be, leaving you with both a reconstructed breast and a tummy tuck. TRAM flap breast reconstruction generally takes 3-6 hours and requires a few days stay in the hospital. Many women are able to return to simple activity within the week, and most women can resume full activities within 4-6 weeks*.
The second stage of this breast reconstruction involves restoring the nipple and areola. Skin from the central portion of the breast is used to recreate the nipple. This is performed a few months after the original surgery, either in the hospital or as an office procedure. Once your plastic surgeon has surgically created the nipple and areola, many women go on to have the area tattooed so that the color match is natural.
Recovery from TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction
After TRAM flap breast reconstruction surgery, you will need time to recover. After the procedure, you will have dressings, stitches, staples, or surgical drains to manage. It requires about six to eight weeks to fully recovery, and during this time, many patients will be wearing a compression girdle. You will have three different incisions to care for during this period – but once healed, your new breasts will look and feel natural – as they have been created from your own tissue. Avoid lifting, vigorous physical activity, and intercourse for about six weeks to protect the healing incisions. It may require even a year or more before the scars are fully faded.