Contour abnormalities of the abdomen after transverse rectus abdominis muscle (TRAM) flap breast reconstruction occur with all methods of flap elevation and include lower and upper abdominal laxity, epigastric fullness, and hernia. This study is a retrospective analysis of 101 women comparing the many variables that may contribute to an abnormal contour. Statistical analysis comparing the free, pedicled, unilateral, bilateral, muscle-sparing, and non-muscle-sparing flaps was completed using logistic regression. Associated factors, including diabetes mellitus, tobacco use, use of mesh, and prior abdominal operations, were incorporated. Abnormal abdominal contour was present in 13 of 101 women and included 16 specific abnormalities. These included upper abdominal bulge in three women, lower abdominal bulge in eight, and epigastric fullness in five. No woman developed a hernia. Bifactorial analysis demonstrated a significant increase in abnormal contour for the pedicled, bilateral, and non-muscle-sparing TRAM groups when compared with their countervariable groups (free, unilateral, and muscle-sparing TRAM, respectively; p < 0.05). Multifactorial analysis demonstrated a significant increase in abnormal contour in two subgroups (p < 0.05). An analysis of associated factors demonstrated a significant increase in abnormal contour for the bilateral TRAM in the presence of a prior lower midline incision (p < 0.05).
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