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I had breast reconstruction and had the tram flap procedure and have had traumatic end results,

complicated pain issues and this has left me unable to work. I have met a few people that have

had complications and to be honest this has been a nightmare. The physician who has performed

our surgeries has devistated lives and our lives will never be the same. As I researched people that

type of procedure it is horrifying what we have had to go through. I cannot work, I attend therapies

constantly and yet I cannot financially afford to live the way I have been. One person I know of,

attempted a malpractice and her attorney dismissed himself shortly before this was to come to

trial. This is horrible. Is anyone else affected in this manner? It has been over 14 yrs and a

constant battle.

 

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I had tram flap surgery in Feb. 1999. I agree with the statement " it has been a nightmare" I had trouble from the very beginning. I had a bulge that was very sensitive, you could not even touch the air space near me. If I was touched and I mean even by clothing or shower water I would be brought to my knee"s. My Dr. kept telling me not to worry, give it 6 months and he would fix it with minor surgery. In 6 months I underwent another surgery to try to debulk this buldge and of course it didnt help. I went from Dr. to Dr. and nobody understood or could help me. I applied for disability and was denied. I had another surgery in 2007 and finally had the flap completely severed beings it had now grown its own blood supply. That surgery did bring me great relief. I am still having alot of pain due to scar tissue and massive nerve damage. I have since realized these things they cannot fix. I applied again in 2008 for disability and was again denied and this time I was older and appealed and finally was granted disability. I still have constant pain. I cannot lift, push, pull, dance or even be hugged without my hand covering me. This surgery has completely debilitated my life. It is hard for people to understand because most dont know of this surgery let alone have gone through it. I have been to so many Dr."s who do not even understand what I am talking about. I found a pain management Dr. in Philadelphia that has helped me a lot though it does require taking a handful of meds everyday. The meds do have their side effects which I dont like but have made it a little easier to get through each day. If I can help you at all please do not hesitate.  Thanks, Susan
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I also understand your frustration. I had sought out many doctors as well and I believe it truly isn't that they didn't understand, they can't LEGALLY admit a mistake. To have another doctor step in on their mess, would enable them to have a lawsuit on their hands. Anyone that would see the damages it would be obvious. I have chosen a route for physical therapy that otherwise would have forced me to depend on drugs for my quality of life, I couldn't do it, I've been there and it was awful. I would like to stay in contact and perhaps our stories could go public, our lives were ruined by these doctors and now we have to struggle to survive, this is wrong. There is another woman that had the SAME surgeon as I did and her life to is boxes and boxes of medical documents and a nightmare of physical ailments due to this surgery. I don't believe in educating people of our stories as a means of revenge, etc... but this story should get out and however it could possible bring a class action lawsuit, and perhaps we could attain, some means of financial support so we don't have to live like this.
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I, too had the tramflap surgery in 1995, then touted as being the be all and end all for reconstruction from breast cancer. My Doctor told me that I wouldn't be able to do situps - that was it!! Well, I hadn't been doing situps so thought I can handle this! This surgery has done alot of damage to me physically and mentally. I still have mt husband, but we have not been intimate at all in the past 11 years. It was too painful for me, so we just stopped. I was 47 when I got cancer and hadn't had any major surgery before then. I was healthy and had spunk and did all kinds of things, but now have no strength to speak of. It is hard to do my housework, so it isn't done like it used to be; I just hate it. I have a very high toleration for pain, but I have had my fill.

Doctors don't have a clue what to do for me. I am going back to the plastic surgeon next week as I have developed a leakage from the navel which has caused an infection in the abdomen - I have a place as big as my fist that is bright red and hot. My general Dr. finally gave me an antibiotic, but it hasn't helped. My stomach started bulging and pointing to the left about 5 years ago, and I am so glad that I an not the only one. I had begun to feel I was the only one, because no Doctor took this seriously. Sometimes they make you feel as though you are a hypochondriac - which I certainly not!! If anything works out for me I will surely get back on this sight and report to all of you.
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Would you be interested in somehow bringing this forward to someone that could TELL our stories? Media/magazine/newspaper, this needs to have some of these issues brought out in the light, to help others-- to let them know they are not alone. I also know another person who's life is utterly devistated because of this procedure!
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Yes Bonnie, I would be interested - this needs light shed on it! I think there is probably thousands of us out there who think they are probably the only ones out there with all this stuff! Janice(No time)
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I also had Tramflap surgery in 2003.  I have been miserable since that time.  I got an infection from the mesh and that left my belly open for three months, healing from the inside out.  Home health and my family packed my belly three times a day, while I was bedfast for three months! I had to retire and I have never been well since.  I also itch constantly in the whole area of the tram flap.  I have huge scars and cant wear panty hose or a skirt because they roll down to where the scar is.  I would never have had this done, had i known the things that I would suffer.  I'm in constant pain and can't sleep for the itching.  Does anyone else have this problem?

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Oh my gosh, Cindy, you are the first person to mention the itching. It drives me crazy. It is constant, and nothing you can do about it as it feels like its inside of me, and no where to scratch. Ugh!

I had my tram flap in 2010. My doctor presented it to me as a great way to kill two birds with one stone, fix my breasts after bilateral mastectomy, and get a tummy tuck in the process. If I had any idea what I was in store for immediately, I never would have done this surgery.

I promised my husband I'd have nice perkey breasts after the surgery, and a smaller tummy, and something good would come out of this whole cancer ordeal. Boy was I wrong. I had the mastectomies and tram flap done at the same time. After 8 hours of surgery, it still took me hours to wake up enough for my family to see me after the surgery. I said good bye to my husband at 7:30 am, and didn't see him again until about 9:30 pm. I was awake enough to visit with my family for about an hour. After that, I vaguely remember nurses checking on me every hour. At around 1:00 am my blood pressure shot up, and there was blood in my drainage tubes. The PS was called in, and they rushed me back in to surgery. I had 4 blood transfusions. I had no idea what had happened. I knew that the mastectomies went well, and I was cancer free, and my lymph nodes were clear, so I didn't focus on the looks of my breasts too much. That was, until after my second follow up office visit to the PS.

He had taken out the drainage tubes, but I had bloating and a slushy feeling right below my breasts. He used a large syringe, 4 time, to drain the liquid from my abdomen. The skin around the open wounds on my breasts were turning black, and he finally explained to me that when I bleed out in between surgeries I had lost oxigen to my breasts, and I had suffered skin necrosis. Weekly, for the next 4 weeks he used the large syringe to drain the fluid in my upper abs, and would cut off the dead black skin around my open wounds. For the next 3 months I treated the open wounds with Neosporin, changing the bandages at least twice a day. The wounds finally closed up, leaving my breasts with dark, ugly scars, odd crannies, and totally misshaped. I have a bulge under the left breast, and very little clevage (almost a mono-breast). Unfortunately, I allowed the same PS to put in implants a few months later, in hopes that would at least fix the mono-breast thing. That almost made it worse. My breasts are even more misshaped now, and it almost feels that the implants are pooching out in certain areas. My cancer surgeon agrees that I had a bad outcome from this surgery, and recommended another PS. I've consulted with 2 othe PS, both had looks of horror on their faces when they first looked at my breasts. You can immagine what my husband thinks. After all, I promissed him nice perkey breasts and a flat stomach after the surgery that nearly killed me.

Anyway, the third PS thinks that she can help make things look better by removing the flap. I can't find any information on flap removal, so if anyone has any information to share, I'd love to hear it.

Besides the pure mess of what my breasts look like, I have experienced the itching, as mentioned above. I have a lower ab bulge, although somewhat minor. My stomach swells like crazy after eating or exercising, I feel like I have a barrel under my breasts. I have the constant feeling of wearing a very tight bra. And I read one blog where the lady said it feels like she's growing breasts under her arms, as everything seems to have seeped that way. I feel the same way. I have pain in my abs due to swelling. I've had back pain, but I didn't atribute that to the tram flap until reading these blogs.

Although I don't wish this on anyone, I sure wish I would have heard all of these stories prior to having the surgery. I never would have chosen this story. I would be happy to join any interviews that will help get these stories out to other women considering this type of surgery.

Best to all of you.
Karen
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I can't believe that they don't tell us what we are facing when we have this surgery done. Had I know what I was facing immediately after, not to mention the almost 10 years since, I would never have had this done. I thought I was the only person in the world who had suffered so much from this surgery. I also feel as if I'm wearing a very tight bra and waist band all the time, even when I'm wearing nothing.
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I had tram flap in 1999.  I also feel the potential long-term side effects and recovery time were downplayed considerably.  I find all bras very uncomfortable and take it off as soon as I get home, but the breast is not the major side-effect for me.  Due to the cutting of nerves in the abdomen I have lost almost all bowel motility.  The bowel has very very limited movement even with strong laxatives.  I would say that anyone with any kind of a slightly sluggish bowel should not have this surgery.  This was never ever mentioned to me in advance. 

 

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This is all so dis-heartening to read. I started reading these blogs hoping to find something positive, but instead find myself crying for all of you!!! My boss and good friend had the TF done in April of 2010. She has been experiencing all of the problems you have listed. I have watched her suffer for almost 3 years now. She recently tried to get her PS to perform surgery to repair her abdominal wall and get her two hernias repaired. After getting a second opinion on the suggested surgery her PS wanted to perform on her she cancelled her surgery due to low success rate of the suggested surgery. The doctor that was supposed to repair her hernias at the same time also cancelled exactly on hour before she was to be in surgery. She is completely DEVASTATED! Her family doesn't understand the amount of pain she is in and can not grasp what to do to help her. She will be a grandmother in January and fears she will never be able to enjoy her grandchild. This surgery has robbed her of her previous quality of life and given her no hope for the future. She is once again at square one with no idea of what direction to take. She needs pain management and does not know where to start. I came here hoping to provide her with some direction and guidance but now find myself utterly depressed knowing that she is headed down the same path as the rest of you. have any of you found any pain treatments to be helpful or successful??? I want so badly to be able to give her some hope. Please contact me soon!!!

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May I ask what state are you from? I just find it rather interesting how many have suffered, and some have had the same surgeon. I can honestly say that despite my travesty, I sought out some forms of therapies that enabled me to manage, although this has been a long road. I truly believe that we need to gather those that have been affected by this and perhaps something will come out of this. When lives are being devistated, many doctors are walking away from this as well, yet they go un-noticed, this is also wrong. I am not a vengeful person, but this has taken away alot from my quality of life. However, I do believe we can support one another. If you'd be interested I will keep searching, and hopefully more will keep coming foward to give each other the support and perhaps other forms of therapy can be an avenue. Keep in touch. I am sorry to hear of another story myself!

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Hi, I had double mastectomy and tramflap surgery in 2009. Took alot of healing, infection in the right breast mound. Eventually had to have repair/reconstructive surgery in December of 2009. My stomach is usally as hard as a rock and feels very wierd. My navel has a discharge at times with a foul odor??? Don't know what that is from. In the last 6 months I have developed a horrible red rash that covers my entire trunk, basically following the flap scars! I have been seen by a team of Dr's who have NO idea what this is, it makes me feel really ill and knocks me out for a few days till it subsides. I have run a fever, had intestional issues, and general body aches. Lower back and joints usually along with headache. Blood cultures show nothing even though my WBC is elevated? I have had this happen 7 times now.....I am so frustrated. I am down to the dermatoligist and she doesn't have any clue???? Looking for anyone who understands.
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I also have had these complications and when I went back to my PS and told him my concerns he grabbed my lower ab and said I need to lose some weight. I suffered and went to a gastro DR and he did a CT and I went and got a copy of the report and CD and saw that I had 2 hernias which he did not tell me about. I was recommended to a surgeon who specialized in hernia repair for tram flap patients. I first had contacted my PS and the nurse told me he does not do hernia surgery. I had the surgery but am still in pain with the bloating and swelling. I can't do the stuff I used to enjoy.

 These PS need to tell it like it is and not sugar coat it with "oh you will have perky breasts and a tummy tuck" because that is c**p my ab is larger then it was to begin with. To go through having Cancer and then to have more complications with no relief in sight if I had known that I would have never had this surgery. I would not recommend this to anyone.

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Oh, I am so sorry to hear your complications! I have had some, different, but upsetting all the same. I don't seem to have any hernias. My problem is lymphedema in my abdomen and I was dealing with a mystery rash for the last 8 months. I was just diagnosed with Sweets Syndrome disease. This seems to be a complication from the cancer, I will have to be on Prednisone for treatment of this.
I am still pleased that I have only my own tissue as my breasts and not silicone or artificial breasts. My stomach is still far from "tucked", but at this stage in my life, that is the least of my problems
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