Latissimus Flap Reconstruction


What is a Latissimus Flap Reconstruction?

Latissimus flap reconstruction is a type of breast reconstruction procedure that uses your own tissue to reconstruct the breast(s). This procedure can be performed either during the mastectomy procedure or at a later date. A Latissimus flap reconstruction takes tissue from the upper back of the patient, this is the donor site. The skin, fat, blood vessels, and muscles are then slid through a subcutaneous shaft extending from under your arm to your chest. This tissue is then formed into a breast shape and the blood vessels are left attached to the original blood supply in your back if possible. An implant may also be inserted during a latissimus flap reconstruction.

When is a Latissimus flap reconstruction recommended?

Latissimus flap reconstruction is recommended for patients who want to achieve nice natural looking and feeling breast(s) after a mastectomy has been performed. Patients may wish to add an implant for larger breasts.

An ideal candidate for the Latissimus flap reconstruction surgery is a relatively healthy patient with enough donor tissue in their back to complete the procedure and be able to close the donor site. Ideal candidates will also have finished their chemotherapy and radiation treatments 6-12 months before the reconstruction surgery.

Even if one breast is healthy, your doctor may recommend the procedure for both breasts to maximize the symmetry and harmony between the two breasts. Patients should be aware that the surgeon will work to get the best results possible from this procedure but the patients must have realistic expectations that the mastectomy scars will remain and that their breasts will look much nicer after the procedure but will not look exactly like they did before the mastectomy.

What are the benefits of a Latissimus flap reconstruction?

The Latissimus flap reconstruction allows for patients to reconstruct their breasts without the use of implants, instead, tissue, muscle, and blood vessels from the abdomen are used. This procedure will bring a natural appearance to the breasts of cancer survivors who lost their breasts to a mastectomy.

This procedure can be performed on patients who have had radiation, have scars that have damaged important blood vessels, and patients who are very thin and do not have enough abdomen tissue to have a DIEP or TRAM flap reconstruction. This procedure can also be performed as an alternative reconstruction method on patients who have had other flap reconstruction procedures fail.

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