Tina has recently undergone a bilateral breast reconstruction and Free TRAM flaps surgery. She needed a mastectomy after she had breast cancer in her right breast, and the left breast was an elective mastectomy.
The Free TRAM flaps surgery involves removing a flap from the patient’s body – in Tina’s case from her stomach – and attaching it to the chest through microsurgery.
The main advantage to the Free TRAM flaps procedure is the consistency of the reconstructed breast; it is similar to the natural breast in softness and in the way the tissue drapes on the chest. Plus, because the flesh is part of the patients own body, it does not incite foreign-body reaction or capsular contractures.
Tina’s mastectomy was performed previously to her bilateral breast reconstruction and the Free TRAM flaps were performed by Dr Damian Marucci.
On choosing Dr Marucci, Tina said she didn’t look around too much. She came across Dr Marucci and felt very comfortable with him straight away.
“Dr Marucci has all the science knowledge to the surgery and obviously all the education – he knows exactly what he is doing. He was very fast, everything to the point and also a very creative thinker. But on top of all of that he is a real sweety – a very kind man,” explained Tina.
“He also allowed me to use the free TRAM flaps for both breasts where as other surgeons would not let me because they said I was too small, at a size 14,” Tina continued.
“I didn’t feel pressured one way or the other. I just explored all possibilities of what I could do. All the information (Dr Marucci provided) was terrific – I could make a very well informed decision, so I was 100% sure that was what I wanted in the end.”
Tina’s advice for anyone in a similar situation and going into the same procedure is practical. Before going in for surgery she bought herself a Zimma frame from eBay.
Zimma frames are a type of walking frame that give great support and stability for those that need assistance whilst walking and trying to sit down and stand up.
“It was a fantastic help, because after surgery you are unable to lift anything up. I purchased a frame with two trays on it. This helped me so much. I was able to move things around the house and be so much more mobile,” Tina explained.
“I also purchased an S shaped bed pole – a bar that goes under the bed with the pole coming up and above where you sleep so you can wake up and pull yourself up.”
She also added that purchasing a shower chair for the shower was another great investment.
When asked what the hardest part of the procedure was, she explained it was being in hospital after the procedure.
Tina was really looking forward to getting out of hospital and just as she was signing out found out she had an infection – which meant straight back to bed for 3-4 days.
Tina mentioned that issues such as infections can happen and should be taken into account when anyone is going in for procedures such as these.
Tina says being mentally prepared and knowing what she was about to go through with, helped her stay strong and well organised throughout the complete procedure.
“If you had an accident and had to go through the whole ordeal without being prepared or know what you were in for than it would be a completely different situation.” Tina added.
Tina’s bravery throughout the whole treatment process is extremely commendable. Her story will inspire many who are facing similar situations.
If you would like any further information on the procedures that Tina has had done please email us at [email protected] or if you would like to contact Dr. Damian Marucci head to http://drdamianmarucci.com.au.