What is Latissimus Dorsi Flap?
Latissimus dorsi flap is an autologous breast reconstructive technique, using the latissimus dorsi muscle in the black, just below the shoulders. Along with muscle, skin and fat are used to rebuild the breast mound. During this technique, the blood vessels are left intact and are rechanneled to the chest area.
The Benefits of Latissimus Dorsi Flap
The latissimus dorsi muscle is located close to the breast area, allowing for the blood vessels to remain intact during the transfer. This is an effective solution for women who are not candidates for muscle sparing techniques.
Who is a Candidate?
Patients who receive latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction are typically those who do not have enough abdominal fat and tissue for a muscle sparing technique. The technique might also be used if this is the patient’s second reconstructive procedure, as DIEP and SIEA flap techniques can only be used once. Because there is usually not much excess fat on the back, this technique is more successful for women with small to medium sized breasts. In some cases, this technique can be combined with an implant to offer the desired size and shape.
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During latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction, an oval of skin, fat, and muscle is taken from the upper back. with the blood vessels still connected, the tissue is then moved under the skin and to the breast area to be reconstructed. If an implant is also being used, this will be placed below the transferred muscle.
Results and Recovery
Recovery from a muscle-transfer reconstruction like the latissimus dorsi flap can be a bit longer and more challenging. The newly constructed breast and the donor site will need time to heal and recover properly. Swelling, bruising, tightness, and discomfort can be expected during the recovery period and patients must follow all post-op instructions carefully. Patients can expect a four-week recovery and should plan for assistance with caring for the incision on their back.
After their procedure, patients might experience a loss of strength in the latissimus dorsi muscle, used for lifting and twisting. Physical therapy can help to restore range of motion.
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