Donor-Site Complications and Remnant of Rectus Abdominis Muscle Status after Transverse Rectus Abdominis Myocutaneous Flap Reconstruction

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Abstract

Background:

Transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap reconstruction after mastectomy in breast cancer patients has become one of the milestones in breast reconstruction. There are several techniques that have been used in an attempt to minimize untoward complications. We present the whole muscle with partial sheath-sparing technique that focuses on the anatomy of arcuate line and the closure of the anterior abdominal wall techniques with mesh and determine factors associated with its complications and outcomes.

Methods:

We retrospectively and prospectively review the results of 30 pedicled TRAM flaps that were performed between November 2013 and March 2016, focusing on outcomes and complications.

Results:

Among the 30 pedicled TRAM flap procedures in 30 patients, there were complications in 5 patients (17%). Most common complications were surgical-site infection (7%). After a median follow-up time of 15 months, no patient developed abdominal wall hernia or bulging in daily activities in our study, but 6 patients (20%) had asymptomatic abdominal wall bulging when exercised. Significant factors related to asymptomatic exercised abdominal wall bulging included having a body mass index of more than 23 kg/m2.

Conclusion:

Pedicled TRAM flap by using the technique of the whole muscle with partial sheath-sparing technique combined with reinforcement above the arcuate line with mesh can reduce the occurrence of abdominal bulging and hernia.

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