After a woman has had a mastectomy or breast cancer removal she may choose to have a breast reconstruction procedure. There are several different techniques for breast reconstruction. A common technique is the TRAM flap, or transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous surgery, which utilizes a portion of a woman’s abdominal fat, muscle, and skin to reconstruct a breast. Many women prefer using their own tissue for their breast reconstructions because it can produce a more natural looking result. While other breast reconstruction techniques like reconstruction with a breast implant can also yield natural looking results, some women may not have enough healthy breast tissue after cancer removal to be candidates for such methods.
The first TRAM flap reconstruction was performed over 25 years ago and has gained popularity among women and reconstructive surgeons over time. Retired Dr. Carl Hartrampf, co-founder of Atlanta Plastic Surgery, originated the TRAM flap method for breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Since then Dr. Franklyn Elliott has significantly refined the TRAM technique and has performed the procedure live in a number of centers worldwide. As one of his specialties, Dr. Elliott is passionate about breast reconstruction and often travels around the world discussing and teaching fellow plastic surgeons the latest reconstruction techniques. As the former director and current co-director of the Atlanta Breast Surgery Symposium, Dr. Elliott remains on the cutting edge with advancements in breast reconstruction technologies and has written numerous articles discussing TRAM flap reconstructions. To prevent breast surgery complications he uses a well designed surgical plan and consistent technique when performing a TRAM flap surgery on his patients.
The TRAM flap technique is helpful for patients who do not wish to or are unable to undergo reconstruction with implants or tissue expanders. There are two types of TRAM flap techniques, the pedicled TRAM flap and free TRAM flap. During a pedicled TRAM flap procedure the tissue maintains its original blood supply while the free TRAM flap completely removes the tissue from the body and reattaches it to the blood vessels in the chest.