Background: The transverse musculocutaneous gracilis (TMG) flap has received little attention in the literature as a valuable alternative source of donor tissue in the setting of breast reconstruction. The authors give an in-depth review of their experience with breast reconstruction using the TMG flap.
Methods: A retrospective review of 111 patients treated with a TMG flap for breast reconstruction in an immediate or a delayed setting between August of 2002 and July of 2007 was undertaken. Of these, 26 patients underwent bilateral reconstruction and 68 underwent unilateral reconstruction, and 17 patients underwent reconstruction unilaterally with a double TMG flap. Patient age ranged between 24 and 65 years (mean, 37 years).
Results: Twelve patients had to be taken back to the operating room because of flap-related problems and nine patients underwent successful revision microsurgically, resulting in three complete flap losses in a series of 111 patients with 154 transplanted TMG flaps. Partial flap loss was encountered in two patients, whereas fat tissue necrosis was managed conservatively in six patients. Donor-site morbidity was an advantage of this flap, with a concealed scar and minimal contour irregularities of the thigh, even in unilateral harvest. Complications included delayed wound healing (n = 10), hematoma (n = 5), and transient sensory deficit over the posterior thigh (n = 49).
Conclusions: The TMG flap is more than an alternative to the deep inferior epigastric perforator (DIEP) flap in microsurgical breast reconstruction in selected patients. In certain indications, such as bilateral reconstructions, it possibly surpasses the DIEP flap because of a better concealed donor scar and easier harvest.