Flap reconstruction surgery is a procedure that involves moving healthy, live tissue from one location of the body to another, often to areas that have lost skin, fat, muscle movement, and/or skeletal support. Flap surgery can be used for procedures such as breast reconstruction or trunk and extremity reconstruction. It may also be used to augment facial/nasal reconstruction.
There are several different types of flap reconstruction surgery. These include the following:
- Local flap - This is located next to the wound; the skin remains attached at one end so that the blood supply is left intact.
- Regional flap - This uses a section of tissue that is attached by a specific blood vessel.
- Bone/soft tissue flap - This type of flap is often used when bone and the overlying skin are moved to a new location.
- Musculocutaneous flap (muscle and skin flap) - This type of flap is often used when the area to be covered needs more bulk and an increased blood supply. This type of flap is often used to rebuild a breast following a mastectomy.
- Microvascular free flap - This involves detaching and reattaching skin and blood vessels from one site of the body to another site. Microsurgery is used to attach the blood vessels.
A common technique is the TRAM (transverse rectus abdominous muscle) flap. A TRAM flap involves removing an area of fat, skin, and muscle from the abdomen and stitching it in place for a mastectomy wound.