DIEP Flap vs. TRAM Flap

breast reconstruction houstonAre you a Houston woman who has decided that you want to use your body’s own tissue for your breast reconstruction surgery? If so, you likely already know that there are a few different procedures from which you can choose. A DIEP flap, which stands for “deep inferior epigastric perforators,” and a TRAM flap, which stands for “transverse rectus abdominis.” These two types of breast reconstruction surgery options use tissue from the abdomen – the most common donor site – for breast reconstruction. But, which is the solution for your unique case? Read on to learn more about these two different procedures to help educate yourself on your options.

A DIEP Flap Explained

If you want to use your abdominal tissue to reconstruct your breasts, then getting a DIEP flap is an ideal solution. With this procedure, abdominal skin, fat and blood vessels are removed, then connected to your remaining breast tissue via microsurgery. This procedure is considered “muscle-sparing” because it doesn’t cut through or use any of your abdominal muscles. Many breast reconstruction patients are eligible for a DIEP flap, including those who:

  • Have had a C-Section;
  • Have had a hysterectomy;
  • Have an umbilical hernia;
  • Have had chest radiation; and
  • Have a low BMI, so long as there is sufficient fat available to harvest from the lower abdomen. 

A TRAM Flap Explained

Our practice chooses to not perform TRAM Flaps for our Houston patients since it sacrifices the muscle, but would like women to know why we prefer to perform DRIP Flaps. There are three types of Tram flap procedures:

  • If you choose to get a free TRAM flap surgery, then fat, skin, blood vessels and a portion of your “6-pack” muscles will be removed from your abdomen.
  • If you choose a pedicled TRAM flap surgery, then fat, skin and muscle are moved under your skin and up to your breasts. With this procedure, your original abdominal blood supply is used in your reconstructed breasts.
  • If you choose a muscle-sparing TRAM flap surgery, then a portion of your transverse rectus abdominis, or “6-pack” muscle, is transferred to your breast.

Which Procedure Should You Get?

While it’s impossible to determine via a blog post which breast reconstruction procedure is right for you, Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig tend to prefer to perform DIEP flaps on all eligible candidates. Although the DIEP flap procedure is still relatively new, both Houston doctors are highly trained and skilled in the procedure, and prefer to perform it to prevent the abdominal weakening, bulging and pooching that is often associated with TRAM flap surgeries.

Scheduling a Consultation with Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig

If you need breast reconstruction surgery, then Dr. Fusi & Dr. Craig are the plastic surgeons for you. Both highly skilled physicians, with additional training in microsurgery, they are not only excellent practitioners to perform your breast reconstruction, but also offer a wealth of information to many Houston women facing a mastectomy and breast reconstruction.

To schedule an initial consultation with them, call (713) 346-9909.