The island-type pedicled TRAM flap: Improvement of the aesthetic outcomes of breast reconstruction

Jung Soo Yoon, Jeongseok Oh, Min Sung Chung, Hee Chang Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The pedicled transverse rectus abdominis myocutaneous flap (TRAM) remains an effective and widely-used method for breast reconstruction despite well-documented donor-site morbidity. We present the island-type pedicled TRAM flap as a way to obtain better and more reliable outcomes in breast reconstruction. Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients who underwent breast reconstruction with an island-type pedicled TRAM flap was performed. Patient demographics and complications were reviewed. In the island-type pedicled TRAM flap, we transversely resected the upper ipsilateral rectus muscle surrounding the origin of the superior epigastric vessels, preserving only a 1-cm muscle strip including the vascular pedicle to prevent epigastric bulging and inframammary fold (IMF) disruption. The flap was turned over into the ipsilateral breast pocket. The IMF was repaired except for the portion where the pedicle was placed. Results: From January 2013 to November 2017, 88 patients underwent surgery using the island-type pedicled TRAM flap. The etiology of the defect was breast cancer with mastectomy in 86 cases, and paraffinoma in two cases. Seventy-seven patients underwent unilateral reconstruction, and 11 patients underwent bilateral reconstruction. Minor fat necrosis occurred in eight cases. Mild inframammary or epigastric bulging was observed in five cases, and neither partial nor total flap necrosis was observed. The aesthetic outcome of the IMF was evaluated in 55 cases, and 53 cases received good overall scores. Conclusion: Although the island-type pedicled TRAM flap is technically challenging because careful dissection and pedicle identification is required, it can provide more reliable and better aesthetic results without an increased risk of vascular compromise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1060-1067
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2020 Jun


  • Breast reconstruction
  • Inframammary fold
  • Island type
  • Pedicled TRAM


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