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TUG Flap Reconstruction: What to Expect

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During TUG flap surgery, an incision is made in your upper thigh near your groin, and an oval section of skin, fat, blood vessels, and muscle is taken from your thigh and moved up to your chest and formed into a breast shape. The tiny blood vessels that feed the tissue of your new breast are matched to blood vessels in your chest and carefully reattached under a microscope.

TUG flap reconstruction surgery takes about 3 to 4 hours.

After TUG flap reconstruction surgery: You'll be moved to the recovery room after surgery, where hospital staff members will monitor your heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. If you're in pain or feel nauseated from the anesthesia, tell someone so you can be given medication.

You'll then be admitted to a hospital room. For a TUG flap, you usually stay in the hospital for about 3 days.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions to follow for your recovery. For detailed information on how to care for the dressings, stitches, staples, and surgical drains, visit the Mastectomy: What to Expect page.

It can take about 4 weeks to recover from TUG flap reconstruction surgery. Your doctor may recommend that you wear a compression girdle for up to 8 weeks after surgery. Because you've had surgery at two or possibly four sites on your body (your chest and your thigh or both thighs), you might feel worse than someone who had mastectomy alone and it will probably take you longer to recover. You'll have to take care of two or possibly four incisions: on your breast(s) and your thigh(s). You may have another incision and a surgical drain if you also had axillary dissection (underarm lymph node removal) at the same time.

It's important to take the time you need to heal. Follow your doctor's advice on when to start stretching exercises and your normal activities. You usually have to avoid strenuous sports, sexual activity, and lifting anything heavy for about 4 to 6 weeks after TUG flap reconstruction. Recovery may be a bit awkward because of where the incision is placed. You can walk, but you’ll need to avoid movements that flex the hips or spread the legs. Talk to your doctor about the healing process and how to tell if your incisions aren’t healing well.


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