The TRAM Flap procedure is not offered at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery. More advanced techniques now allow for use of the same tummy fat to create a new breast without destroying the abdomen’s muscles or implanting artificial mesh. Pioneering work at our Center has resulted in the development of sophisticated microsurgical techniques that make the TRAM flap obsolete as a choice for breast reconstruction at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery.
The TRAM flap (transverse rectus abdominis muscle) procedure involves the transferring of skin, fat and muscle tissue (“the flap”) from the abdominal area to the mastectomy site. The Flap remains attached to the original blood supply and tunneled beneath the upper abdominal skin to the chest and formed into a new breast mound. A TRAM flap sacrifices one or both abdominal muscles to supply the blood flow to the flap. The patient is left with warm, living tissue, however the TRAM flap carries many disadvantages over the newer, more advanced DIEP Flap Reconstruction. Dr. Frank DellaCroce, Dr. Scott Sullivan and Dr. Christopher Trahan at the Center for Restorative Breast Surgery do not recommend or perform the TRAM flap procedure because the risks are far greater than any benefit.
One critical disadvantage of the TRAM flap is donor site morbidity due to poor blood supply to the skin and fat. With the sacrifice of all or part of the abdominal muscle the side effects can be long lasting or permanent, as well, and the possibility of abdominal weakness, bulging or hernia can occur.
The DIEP Flap Reconstruction improves upon the higher risk TRAM flap by keeping the abdominal muscles intact, causing less surgical pain and a shorter recovery period. The less invasive DIEP flap breast reconstruction technique allows for better aesthetic outcomes and fewer donor site complications. Drs. DellaCroce, Sullivan and Trahan are international leaders in all breast cancer surgery options, including DIEP flap breast reconstruction.