Free flap techniques allow your plastic surgeon to reconstruct the breast with your own body tissues, without the use of a prosthetic breast implant. The free TRAM (Transverse Rectus Abdominus Myocutaneous) technique is one such method, which moves the tissue from the abdomen to the breast mound.
Among plastic surgeons on the Connecticut shoreline or New Haven, Dr. Collins is one of the few who is performing free flap techniques. For the right patient, a Free TRAM breast reconstruction can provide a very satisfying result. It is particularly appealing for patients who wish to avoid the use of breast implants.
Who Should Get Free TRAM Flap Reconstruction?
Women who have undergone or are scheduled to undergo mastectomy can consider the Free TRAM procedure. Dr. Collins may recommend this technique if you:
- Have undergone a radical mastectomy that requires a large amount of tissue
- Have undergone radiation of the chest wall
- Have had previous surgery affecting blood supply needed for traditional TRAM flap breast reconstruction
- Have an opposite breast that is difficult to match with a breast implant
Free TRAM may not be recommended for obese patients, cigarette smokers, psychologically unstable patients or those who have undergone previous abdominal surgery. To fully understand the indications for Free TRAM flap breast reconstruction, it is best to consult with Dr Beth Collins in Guilford, CT. During your visit, she can explain the pre-operative steps, surgery and post-operative recovery period in detail.
What Does a Free TRAM Procedure Do?
During breast reconstruction, an incision is made on the abdomen. Tissue and muscle is removed (in a procedure often compared to abdominoplasty) and replanted at the site of the reconstructed breast. By matching the appearance of the opposite breast, Dr. Collins reconstructs the breast mound. One advantage of this free flap procedure is the doctor’s ability to position the breast tissues in any orientation. The blood vessels of the graft are attached to new blood vessels adjacent to the new breast, so the flap survives in its new location.
After Free TRAM Breast Reconstruction: What to Expect
The recovery period will be similar to that of traditional TRAM flap breast reconstruction, except with free flap techniques, there may be a need for close observation during the initial recovery period (24 to 48 hours after surgery). Dr. Collins may advise you to refrain from putting pressure on the transferred tissue, as well as other important post-operative steps. Blood thinners and prescription pain medications are commonly prescribed after this type of surgical procedure.
Related Procedures and Alternatives
One possible alternative offered by Dr. Collins is the DIEP breast reconstruction technique. Like the TRAM technique, the flap tissue is sourced from the abdomen, except with DIEP, no muscle tissue needs to be sacrificed during breast reconstruction. Other breast reconstruction methods use saline or silicone gel breast implants, or similar free flap techniques such as SGAP or SIEA.
If you are considering breast reconstruction in Connecticut, near the shoreline or New Haven, you can learn more about free TRAM breast reconstruction in a consultation with plastic surgeon Beth Collins M.D. Use our online contact form or call 203-689-5295 to schedule an appointment.