For women who have lost a breast in a mastectomy following breast cancer, New Windsor plastic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Fugo performs TRAM flap breast reconstruction. Rather than using an implant to recreate the breast mound, this procedure uses tissues from your own body.
By using tissues from the patient’s midsection and moving them up to build the new breast, the effect on the stomach is similar to that of a tummy tuck. Thus, a patient must have a desire for that procedure, as well.
Am I a Candidate for TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction?
Many women who are opposed to or not ideal candidates for implant-based breast reconstruction may choose TRAM flap breast reconstruction as a viable alternative.
If you are to undergo TRAM flap breast reconstruction, Dr. Fugo will require you to follow pre-operative measures. These will include necessary blood donations as well as exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles. As long as you adhere to these guidelines, you should continue to be a candidate for this surgery.
The TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction Procedure
Your TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction can take up to four hours to perform and will likely be completed when you have been given a general anesthetic. In some cases, a local anesthetic with sedation may be used, but this is rare.
To begin, Dr. Fugo will make an incision on your abdomen, which he will take care to place in the natural folds of your skin and below your bikini line. The tissue from your midsection will then be tunneled under the chest wall and used to recreate the breast. Dr. Fugo will shape the new breast mound to match the existing breast if you are undergoing just one reconstruction.
When he closes the incision on your midsection, any excess tissues will be removed. He may also need to relocate the bellybutton as a final step of the surgery. The incisions will be closed with sutures and surgical dressings will be applied. Dr. Fugo may also apply surgical drains to collect any fluid build-up after surgery.
Caring for Yourself After TRAM Flap Breast Reconstruction
After your TRAM flap breast reconstruction, you may need to stay in the hospital for a few days. One day after surgery, Dr. Fugo will ask you to begin walking. When you return home, you will need help around the house for several days. As you heal, the swelling will dissipate and you will return to Dr. Fugo’s office to have your surgical drains removed. Any discomfort you experience may be managed with medication prescribed by Dr. Fugo.
Your mobility and ability to maintain your daily activities will be very limited at first. In the weeks after your procedure, you will regain body strength and can start incorporating your routine and exercise. Dr. Fugo will tell you how much movement is allowed at each stage of your recovery.
When you have healed, you will have a rebuilt breast mound. Usually a few months after surgery, patients will have the nipple recreated on the new breast mound, as well.
We encourage you to learn more about TRAM flap breast reconstruction in New Windsor with board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Fugo. Please call our office today to schedule your consultation.