Pulmonary function after pedicled transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous flap breast reconstruction

Kevin J. Shultz, Scott Don, Raman C. Mahabir, Charles N. Verheyden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Tight abdominal closures, as can be seen during transverse rectus abdominis musculocutaneous (TRAM) flap breast reconstruction, have been shown to increase intra-abdominal pressure, thereby decreasing thoracopulmonary compliance and increasing the workload of breathing. The purpose of this article was to quantitate pulmonary function in patients who underwent pedicled TRAM flap breast reconstruction. A prospective clinical trial was conducted involving 22 women undergoing unilateral or bilateral pedicled TRAM flap breast reconstruction. Pulmonary function testing was conducted 1 week before the operation, 24 hours postoperatively, and 2 months postoperatively. The patients were stratified by age (<50 years vs ≥50 years), type of TRAM flap (unilateral vs bilateral), tobacco use (smoker vs nonsmoker), and body mass index. Changes were analyzed using 1-way repeated-measures analysis of variance and paired t tests. All comparisons used a 2-tailed test at the 0.05 level of significance. Other than residual volume, the 24-hour postoperative values were significantly lower than the preoperative values. The smokers had less change in functional residual capacity, total lung capacity, and forced vital capacity values than the nonsmokers at 24 hours postoperatively; however, they were noted to have decreased pulmonary function at baseline. The patients 50 years or older had significantly greater decline in functional residual capacity and residual volume compared with the younger cohort. No significant difference in pulmonary function testing values existed between those undergoing bilateral versus unilateral pedicled TRAM flap reconstruction. Pulmonary function tests returned to baseline at 2-month follow-up. Pulmonary function test values were significantly decreased at 24 hours after pedicled TRAM flap breast reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-109
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of plastic surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • TRAM
  • breast reconstruction
  • intra-abdominal pressure
  • lung
  • pulmonary function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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