Outcome with postmastectomy radiation with transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap breast reconstruction

Gary M. Proulx, Thomas Loree, Stephen Edge, Thelma Hurd, Paul Stomper

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The effects of radiation on the outcome of patients undergoing transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous (TRAM) flap breast reconstruction have not been extensively studied. Concern still exists of a possible negative impact secondary to irradiation as related to control of disease, cosmetic outcome, and flap viability. Thirty-six patients underwent both a modified radical mastectomy (MRM) with TRAM flap reconstruction and irradiation to the chest wall to include the TRAM flap and/or regional nodes either before reconstruction or after TRAM flap reconstruction. Fifteen patients had all of their treatment and follow-up at our institution and were retrospectively reviewed to assess treatment and outcome. During a median follow-up of 36 months there were no local-regional failures. One patient at Stage IIIA failed with distant metastases 3 years after treatment. One patient had a flap loss from a nonhealing wound after reconstruction performed 2 years after MRM and radiotherapy. Only one patient expressed dissatisfaction with the cosmetic outcome. Patients undergoing MRM with TRAM flap reconstruction and irradiation before or after reconstruction can achieve excellent local-regional control and satisfactory cosmesis. Risk of flap loss is low. Further follow-up is needed for assessing longer-term outomes in this patient group. Larger prospective studies are necessary for more definitive conclusions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-413
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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