In this study, 70 consecutive cases of breast reconstruction with the use of a free Transverse Rectus Abdominal Myocutaneous (TRAM) flap were reviewed with respect to the type of recipient vessels. We describe our evolution of choice of the receptor vessels. The deep inferior epigastric artery was anastomosed to the thoracodorsal artery in 15 cases. In 55 cases the internal mammary artery (IMA) was used as a recipient vessel. The deep inferior epigastric vein was anastomosed to the thoracodorsal vein in 15 cases, to the cephalic vein in eight cases, the external jugular vein in 16 cases and to the internal mammary vein (IMV) in 31 cases. Total flap necrosis occurred in four cases. In an additional four cases there was partial necrosis requiring minor operative correction. In six cases venous outflow problems were the cause of flap necrosis. The external jugular vein (n = 3) and cephalic vein (n = 2) were relatively frequently involved in cases of venous outflow problems. One flap was rescued 5 days after surgery following venous thrombosis by inserting a vein graft. The IMA and vein proved to be reliable and easy to access as recipient vessels for anastomosing the vessels of the free TRAM.
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