TRAM Flap and Radiation

jaina Member Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1

I had a modified radical mastectomy in Jan 2002, then 6 months of chemo, then 5 1/2 weeks of radiation. I met with a plastic surgeon who recommended TRAM flap. But he has reservations, saying that the radiation has compromised my skin and blood vessels. He says there is a 30% chance of healing problems where the new, transplanted tissue meets the old, radiated tissue. I would be interested in talking to anyone who has had TRAM flap after a 5 1/2 week course of radiation.



  • iris48
    iris48 Member Posts: 92
    Hi Jaina,
    Consider what your activity levels are and if you are required to lift 30lbs during the day (that could be pushing a vacuum or carrying groceries), and other physical endeavors because the tram flap using the abdominal rectus muscle that you back needs for sitting up and lifting. What size are you looking to be? Is it important to just look normal in the clothes or is the cup size of major importance? When you have considered those answers, then consider how much recovery time you can allow yourself for the tram flap. If you have a bi-lateral situation, then you need full time care for minimum 4 to 5 months. It takes about 7 to 8 before you begin to take on taking care of yourself personally.
    I considered the tram and latissimus dorsi flap (back flap) and finally decided on saline implants. The surgery was 1 1/2 hrs vs 10 1/2 hrs in OR and the last two months I have been mending and going through different levels of healing. Even with the saline implants, I find I hurt, must wear a sportbra 24/7, can't roll over on my side, get swollen if I overdue excercising, must agressively massage them to prevent hardening, and they don't feel like part of me yet and i don't know if they ever will. It's a getting acquainted with the "Girls" a day at a time.
    When you choose a complicated procedure, please make sure there are two qualified surgeons in the room at all times and you understand the procedure completely. Good Luck.
  • martyzl
    martyzl Member Posts: 196
    Hello Jaina!

    Have you tried looking up TramFlaps/TRAM Flap, etc... on this site? (Try different variations on the lettering) Check out my website (click on my name (at least ye' used to be able to! *grin*) to read what I've been thru' with my Tram (Babette)... granted I've not done radiation and that changes things... If I can help or answer any questions about my Tram experience, don't hesitate to write me at

    Have a great day! We'll all get through this together!