TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction

The TRAM flap (transverse rectus abdominus myocutaneous) is a tissue flap procedure that uses muscle, fat and skin from your abdomen to create a new breast mound after a mastectomy. There are two ways to do a TRAM flap - as a free (detached) tissue flap or as a pedicle (attached and tunneled) tissue flap.

The TRAM Reconstruction Procedure

During a TRAM flap reconstruction, skin, fat, and muscle will be moved from your tummy up to your chest, and used to create a new breast mound. A small implant may be used to fill out the size of the new breast. The most common implant is a saline-filled implant. It is a silicone shell filled with salt water. Silicone gel-filled implants are another common type of implant. Tissue flap procedures use tissue from your tummy, back, thighs, or buttocks to rebuild the breast. The 2 most common types of tissue flap surgeries are the TRAM flap (transverse rectus abdominis muscle flap), and the latissimus dorsi flap. The TRAM flap procedure uses tissue and muscle from the tummy (the lower abdominal wall). The tissue from this area may be enough to shape the breast so an implant may not be necessary. The latissimus dorsi flap is derived from muscle and skin from your upper back. The flap is made up of skin, fat, muscle, and blood vessels. It is tunneled under the skin to create a pocket for an implant.

Recovery from Breast Flap Reconstruction

Recovery takes three to six weeks and requires follow up surgeries to construct a new areola and nipple. An elastic bandage or support bra minimizes swelling and supports the reconstructed breast.  You should avoid active sports, over head lifting and sexual activity during recovery period. You may have some abdominal muscle weakness but most patients resume normal activities after recovery.  Healing will continue for several weeks as swelling decreases and breast shape and position improve.

TRAM Breast Flap Reconstruction Cost

Cost for TRAM FLAP breast reconstruction varies depending on the surgeon’s experience and geographic location.

Risks of Tram Breast Flap Reconstruction

Risks of bilateral TRAM FLAP Breast Reconstruction include:

  • Long scar
  • Navel distortion
  • Loss of feeling
  • Abdominal hernia and abdominal bulge

Consult with a Professional Plastic Surgeon

The most experienced doctors who do TRAM FLAP Reconstruction are board certified plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Contact a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in your area for a consultation, and find out if you are a good candidate for TRAM FLAP breast reconstruction.


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