BACKGROUND: One presumed advantage of the free deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap over the free muscle-sparing transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap is decreased donor-site morbidity. The purpose of this study was to compare the donor-site morbidity and functional outcomes in women who underwent free muscle-sparing TRAM flap or free DIEP flap breast reconstruction. METHODS: All patients who underwent breast reconstruction using a free muscle-sparing TRAM flap or a free DIEP flap performed by the two senior authors at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center between 1999 and 2003 were included in the study. The authors conducted a chart review to obtain demographic data and information regarding flap-related complications and donor-site complications. Each living patient was sent a 12-item questionnaire to elicit her perceptions about donor-site outcomes. RESULTS: One hundred sixty-four patient charts were reviewed (203 flaps). Muscle-sparing TRAM flaps were used in 124 patients (98 unilateral and 26 bilateral). DIEP flaps were used in 35 patients (27 unilateral and eight bilateral). In five bilateral breast reconstructions, a muscle-sparing TRAM flap was used for one side and a DIEP flap was used for the other side. There was no significant difference in flap-related complications or donor-site morbidity between the free muscle-sparing TRAM and free DIEP flaps. Eighty-nine of 159 patients (56 percent) responded to the questionnaire; results showed no significant difference in patient-perceived abdominal function after free muscle-sparing TRAM flaps and free DIEP flaps. CONCLUSIONS: In the authors' experience, there is no significant difference in flap-related complications or donor-site morbidity between the free muscle-sparing TRAM flap and the free DIEP flap. Thus, the authors advocate using the most expeditious and reliable flap based on the vascular anatomy of the DIEP system.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery|
|State||Published - Mar 2006|
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