Latissimus Dorsi Flap FAQs

What does breast reconstruction with a Latissimus dorsi flap involve?

This form of breast reconstruction involves harvesting the latissimus dorsi muscle and overlying skin paddle from the upper back, while leaving its native blood supply intact. The flap is then tunneled around to the chest, creating a natural-looking breast mound. Once the breast mound has been created, an expander or implant may be placed to add volume and contour to the breast.

When is it appropriate to utilize a latissimus dorsi flap in breast reconstruction?

This technique is very useful when there is concern regarding blood supply in the remaining skin envelope following the mastectomy. Additionally, it offers more support than an implant alone; it is often used as a 2nd or 3rd line technique when a typical one- or two-stage reconstruction is not possible, or has failed. Because of the significant healthy blood supply of the latissimus dorsi muscle, this procedure is an excellent option for individuals with tissue damage following radiation treatment.

What are the risks involved with the Latissimus Dorsi Flap?

As with all surgical procedures, the Latissimus Dorsi Flap comes with a chance for complications. These can include infection and flap loss.

Are additional surgical procedures required, after a Latissimus Dorsi Flap?

Keep in mind that the Latissimus Dorsi Flap may only part of your breast reconstruction process. Other procedures, such breast implant placement may still be required. During your consultation appointment, Dr. Schwartz will help you to establish a comprehensive plan to address all of your concerns and goals for surgery.

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Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon