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 in tact. 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.
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.