Outcomes of various techniques of abdominal fascia closure after TRAM flap breast reconstruction

James H. Boehmler, Charles E. Butler, Joe Edward Ensor, Jr., Steven J. Kronowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND:: There is no consensus regarding the optimal technique for closure of the abdominal fascia after transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous (TRAM) flap breast reconstruction. The authors reviewed outcomes with various techniques to identify the optimal one. METHODS:: The authors reviewed the charts of 81 consecutive patients who underwent TRAM flap breast reconstruction at their institution from 2002 to 2005. Various amounts of anterior rectus sheath fascia were harvested with the TRAM flap. Patients were divided into five groups based on fascia closure technique: (1) human acellular dermal matrix bridging inlay graft, (2) human acellular dermal matrix bridging inlay graft with primary closure of overlying anterior rectus sheath, (3) polypropylene mesh inlay graft, (4) polypropylene mesh inlay graft with primary closure, and (5) primary closure. For comparative analysis, three additional groups were created: all human acellular dermal matrix bridging inlay graft (groups 1 and 2), all mesh (groups 3 and 4), and all inlay (groups 1 and 3). Rates of donor-site complications were compared between groups. RESULTS:: Rates of abdominal bulge formation were as follows: overall, 14.8 percent; human acellular dermal matrix bridging inlay graft alone, 31 percent; human acellular dermal matrix bridging inlay graft plus primary closure, 20 percent; mesh alone, 10 percent; mesh plus primary closure, 5 percent; and primary closure alone, 5 percent. Rates of any complication (including bulge) were as follows: overall, 23.5 percent; human acellular dermal matrix bridging inlay graft alone, 42 percent; human acellular dermal matrix plus primary closure, 20 percent; mesh alone, 30 percent; mesh plus primary closure, 10 percent; and primary closure alone, 5 percent. Time to bulge formation was longer for all human acellular dermal matrix versus all mesh (p = 0.021. Time to any complication was longer for all inlay versus primary closure alone (p = 0.048), human acellular dermal matrix alone versus primary closure alone (p = 0.041). CONCLUSIONS:: For abdominal fascia repair after TRAM flap breast reconstruction, primary closure, when feasible, is preferable to an inlay graft; polypropylene mesh is preferable to human acellular dermal matrix if an inlay graft is required; adding primary closure to a mesh or human acellular dermal matrix inlay graft reduces bulge formation and other complications; and bulge occurs later with human acellular dermal matrix than with synthetic mesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-781
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Volume123
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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