I had a DIEP ie free flap in November. With this one they dont use any muscle, just fat from the tummy below the navel and a patch of skin. It involves microsurgery to give the flap tissue a blood supply, so a blood supply is taken from somewhere around your groin and rejoined either under your arm (mine was) or near your breast bone. All my stretch marks were below navel level and I've got rid of them all and my navel is now very shapely too! If you want to pm me your email I can send you a link to an animation which shows how it's done.
The TRAM flap takes some or all of the lower tummy muscle and therefore the blood supply remains joined and it is all fed up, under your tissue into your breast area. The muscle is replaced by a mesh to give some support but from what I've read, this op can lead to weakened tum strength.
. In both types of op you get a tummy tuck effect and a more natural new breast than with implants. Again from reading, if you don't have any adverse health conditions, the DIEP seems to be the preferred Op these days. My surgery took 6 hours which was much better than the 10 I'd been expecting!
Good luck in your decisions ..
That's the say I look at it, hopefully the end of the cancer journey, a finalisation to a final degree. Im average on top but do have a bit of a stomach, so will be glad to have that taken away. Were your vessels left intact or did you have the other op where they use microsurgery?
Just not sure which to go for if offered both.
I had a TRAM- big bust and LOTS of jelly belly to transplant, so the perfect op for me.
I also liked that it wont need to be 'maintained' unlike with implants, so it feels like the end of my cancer road, apart from the nipple.
Many thanks for the replys, it has put my mind at reat a bit. Just wondered what type of tram flap it was,pediculed or free(diep)? to those of you who have had the operation.
I had a tram in July last year and it was described to me by the surgeon as 'the gold standard' !!
I had it done in Livingstone hospital and was and am very pleased with the results. As Twinky says, it is a big op but as long as you have prepared for it by getting as fit as you can then getting time to recover fully, I think you wont regret it.
I have to say, I was quite surprised by how quickly I was on my feet and moving around and I do think this was down to the pre-op exercising/swimming I did for the 6 months before.
I havnt got as far as the nipple as Im waiting to get a bit of lipo on 'dog ear' and the new breast as it's a bit too bit, but I hope you get the same good outcome.
I had a team flap recon ( New Years Eve 2005). Advantages are:
No implant required
All scars are hidden by a bikini so no clue what you've had done ( the back muscle op leaves quite visible scars)
Instant tummy tuck
No battling for arm mobility after the op ( moving back tissue & muscle means your arm is affected and you may need physio)
It's a big op and recovery time is longer
The scar is long ( hip to hip) and will need drains post op
I was very happy with mine & recommend that you go for the finishing touches ( nipple & tattoo) as it's great to be looking pretty normal again.
Hope this helps
I can't be much help really as I to am waiting for a tram flap - due next week so will bump your post up for others to see.
I have been told by my surgeon today that it would be best for me to have a tram flap reconstruction and wondered if anyone out there who's had one done could let me know what it was like.
I thought that I would be having muscle taken from my back and an implant, but he says that because Im young, fit and non smoker etc, that this op would be a better outcome.
I've been reading up on the op and know that it is longer and more indepth, and trying to decide now what to do.
Anyone out there that could help me it would be much appreciated. What have been the advantages and disadvantages etc?