Article Abstract

Complications and oncologic outcomes of pedicled transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap in breast cancer patients

Authors: Prakasit Chirappapha, Ongart Somintara, Panuwat Lertsithichai, Youwanush Kongdan, Chairat Supsamutchai, Rupporn Sukpanich


Background: There are several techniques for harvesting the pedicled transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap after mastectomy in breast cancer patients. We examined the whole muscle with partial sheath sparing technique and determined factors associated with its complications and oncological outcomes.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the results of 168 TRAM flaps performed between January 2003 and December 2010, focusing on complications and oncologic outcomes.
Results: Among the 168 pedicled TRAM flap procedures in 158 patients, flap complications occurred in 34%. Most of the flap complications included some degree of fat necrosis. There was no total flap loss. Flap complications were associated with elderly patients and the presence of major donor site complications. Abdominal bulging and hernia occurred in 12% of patients. The bi-pedicled TRAM flap and higher body mass index (BMI) were significant factors associated with increased donor site complications. Seven patients (4%) developed loco-regional recurrence. Within a median follow-up of 27 months, distant metastasis and death occurred in 6% and 4% of patients, respectively.
Conclusions: The pedicled TRAM flap using the whole muscle with partial sheath sparing technique in the present study is consistent with the results from previous studies in flap complication rates and oncological outcomes.