Breast reconstruction by the free transverse gracilis (TUG) flap

Br J Plast Surg. 2004 Jan;57(1):20-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2003.10.007.


The transverse upper gracilis (TUG) flap is a free musculocutaneous (type II) flap consisting of a segment of the proximal gracilis muscle and a 25x10 cm skin paddle oriented transversely. The vascular pedicle of the TUG flap is the ascending branch of the medial circumflex femoral artery with two venae comitantes. The pedicle length is 6 cm and the diameter of the artery is 1.6 mm. In the year 2002, seven patients had breast reconstruction by the free TUG flap. There were three primary and four secondary reconstructions. Five flaps totally survived, two flaps were lost (in the same patient).TUG flap is indicated in women who seek primary autologous reconstruction after a skin sparing mastectomy, have small or moderately large breasts, do not accept scars on the abdomen, back or gluteal region, who are large in hips and thighs and want a thigh lift. The vascular pedicle although short, permits easy anastomosis of matching vessel diameters to the internal mammary vessels. The main possible complication, other than thrombosis at the anastomosis, is wound dehiscence on the thigh with secondary wound healing. This can happen when the flap is wider than 10 cm.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammaplasty / methods*
  • Mastectomy
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Selection
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods