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tram flap reconstruction

Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2011

ok i had a tram flap march 1st 2012. i had a few complications but am working thru it. my questions for anyone with this surgery is when to the bulges under your breast go down and why on occasion do they feel like they are having spasms. i have a relatively small bugle over my stomach incision that hurts unless i wear a girdle that i have never done as i have never been really big enough in my mind to to wear it. it wears me out if i dont wear it by noon. so i wear it. i have become allergic to latex recent so i can only wear cotton underclothes so i have to wear a cotton cami under my girdle or i break out in hives. i have one breast that was radiated in 1996 so it is very sensitive. i have to wear something cotton under a bra if i could wear a bra. at this point the bulges under my breast get painful and swollen if i wear a bra and it slips up anyway cause the sizes of my fub is not much bigger than the bulges under them. has anyone been thru this that can let me know if it will really get any better or do i need to just except this as my life. thanks a bunch. i'm just a little tired of all this at this point. :) pat

Posts: 2515
Joined: May 2009

Personally, I think you need to go back to the plastic surgeon who did your surgery....I've not had this procedure but it doesn't sound right to me ....you need to know if this is part of the healing process....and if not, what can be done to help.....hopefully some of the other women who have had this procedure will chime in.....my sister in law had this done 1 week ago...

Please keep posting....we care
Hugs, Nancy

Noel's picture
Posts: 3100
Joined: Apr 2009

Pat, I had a lumpectomy, so, I can't answer your questions. I agree with Nancy that you need to contact your PS and see if this is normal or not. Have you called him yet?

Please do and let us know.

Hugs, Noel

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

posted by Barb A ..

::: Also, please contact PS .. sounds a little hinky.


Hi Cindy, I had a tram flap in 2001. It went pretty well, although of course, I had some pain with it. Just took pain meds the first week and then Tylenol after that. The drains were the biggest frustration though. My mom made me a type of sling to carry them in. She took two large flour sack type dish towels, sewed them together for length and we tied a knot over my shoulder with two corners and slung it down around my waist. It held the containers/drain tubes so I wouldn't have to carry them. After a week or so, they come out, which itn't that bad either. I wore loose fitting sweat pants and button down blouses. After awhile I wore tank tops with the bra shelf in them in place of a bra. I was home anyway, so the last thing I was going to wear was a bra.

Just don't lift anything for at least three weeks. I tried carrying a laundry basket of cloths up the stairs - big mistake. I slept in a recliner the first couple of nights, then went to sleep in bed with pillows elevating my knees to so as not to pull on my stomach/stitches.

***After you heal, ask what exercises you can do for keeping your stomach firm or you'll lose that nice tummy tuck (like I did). **

It's a doable surgery and if you have someone to help the first week or two, it hopefully will go really well for you. If not, have some meals you can freeze and heat in the microwave. Let everything else go and take it easy.

I wish you the best. If you want to contact me via email, that's fine. Post an update when you're up to it and let us all know how you're doing.


VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

WARRIORS are NOT having any issues that you are experiencing.

Tue, 08/14/2012 - 6:23pm

Fan of Tram Flap Here!

Hi Cindy, I had a double mastectomy with immediate tram flap surgery at age 48 in October 2010. It is a long surgery, but for me, it was definitely the right decision. Now, almost two years later, I am still so glad I opted for this type of reconstruction. In my area, it seems that implants are more popular, and some people thought I was crazy to now have to have surgery on my abdomen as well as my breasts, but again, I am so glad I did- it was totally worth it. I was worried about the loss of abdominal stregnth due to muscles being cut but it really was minimal. I had two perfectly shaped breasts from the time I woke up, and had minor nipple reconstruction 3 months later.

As far as advice, I would say that the drains were a pain to have to empty, but you get the hang of it quickly in the hospital. The nurse gave me large safety pins and we pinned the drains to the inside of my clothes and it worked great. The prescription pain pills worked but gave me constipation, so I would suggest getting a stool softner from the drug store to have in the house already. I would also recommend using a notebook to keep track of your medications when you first get home. It helped me remember when to take the antibiotics, when I was due for another pain pill, etc. It may sound silly, but suddenly you're trying to remember to take certain pills at certain times, and you don't feel good, and it gets confusing, so writing it down really helped. I found the recuperation painful but tolerable, just remember, it does get a little better each day. For me, the day after the surgery was the hardest, but by the next day I was walking down the hall. It's hard to stand straight up if you have the skin taken from the abdomen (as opposed to the back) and you have to wear a tight spandex type shaper for a few weeks, but again, it does get better! Someone on the boards recommended sleeping in a recliner for the first few weeks at home if you have one, and it did help.

I hope I didn't go on too long, but I remember being very frightened going in, and now less than two years later I can say that if I had to do it all again, I would still do the same. My breasts have scars, but they're fading and I can still show a little cleavage in a bathing suit and you can't tell I had any surgery at all (the top of my breasts look normal, the scars for me are low/central and easily hidden by my swin suit.

Stay strong and best of luck to you, I will be saying some prayers for you on August 20th!

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