What is TUG/DUG Flap?
TUG/DUG (transverse upper gracilis/diagonal upper gracilis) flap techniques are used to reconstruct the breast using the patient’s own tissue. The two techniques take tissue from the inner thigh, as opposed to the abdominal area like other techniques. These techniques are also muscle sparing, using only skin, fat, and their blood-supply during the transfer.
The Benefits of TUG/DUG Flap
The TUG/DUG flap techniques offer an alternative to tissue expanders and implant use for a natural looking and feeling breast. Important muscles are spared during this technique, sacrificing only a small part of the muscle from the inner thigh, reducing the risk of muscle weakness after surgery. The incisions during this technique are on the inner thigh where they are well hidden.
Who is a Candidate?
Candidates for TUG/DUG flap reconstruction are typically those who do not have enough abdominal tissue to have a DIEP or SIEA flap procedure. Patients who have already had a DIEP or SIEA flap or other abdominal procedure in the past can benefit from the TUG/DUG technique for their reconstruction. To be a successful candidate, patients must have enough tissue in the upper thighs for the transfer. These techniques are ideal for patients with small to medium sized breasts, as only a moderate amount of tissue will be taken.
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During TUG/DUG flap reconstruction, skin, fat, and their blood supply is taken from the inner thigh and transferred to the chest to reconstruct the breast mound. For the TUG technique, the incision will be made across the inner thigh, while the DUG technique will use an incision angled down the thigh. Using microsurgery, the blood vessels are reconnected to establish blood flow in the chest. The flap is then shaped to look as identical as possible to the natural breast.
Results and Recovery
After TUG/DUG flap reconstruction, patients might experience swelling, bruising, and soreness in the donor site and the reconstructed breast. Because no important muscles were affected, patients do not have to worry about permanent muscle weakness after the procedure.
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