Latissimus muscle flap breast reconstruction can provide support and contour for patients who are not ideal candidates for the more common methods of reconstruction. The latissimus flap procedure may be able to reconstruct a breast for smaller-breasted women without the need for implants.
A number of conditions may contribute to the need for a latissimus flap breast reconstruction such as a radical mastectomy, a lumpectomy that removes a significant amount of breast tissue, or a serious chest trauma.
When to Consider a Latissimus Flap Breast Reconstruction
Good candidates for the latissimus flap breast reconstruction procedure are healthy women who may not be good candidates for TRAM or standard breast reconstruction. Patients may require a breast reconstruction following:
- Single or double mastectomy
- Severely damaging lumpectomy
- Chest injury
A number of factors may limit the healing process such as smoking, serious medical conditions, and the use of certain medications. Women with back problems, back scarring or previous armpit surgery may not be good candidates for this procedure.
What are the steps of the latissimus flap breast reconstruction procedure?
The proper areas over the breast and the latissimus dorsi muscle of the back are clearly marked prior to the procedure. Intravenous sedation or general anesthetic is administered to provide patient comfort. A large flap of latissimus dorsi muscle with its overlying skin and fat is cut out and elevated. A tunnel is then made between the back and the breast area to tunnel the muscle flap.
An implant is inserted, if desired, through a small incision on the breast. The flap is attached through this small incision, along with its intact blood supply. The incisions are closed using fine sutures to minimize scarring.
How long is recovery following the procedure?
Bandages are applied to the incisions and a tube is inserted if needed to drain any fluid buildup. A compression garment may be recommended to limit swelling, bruising and migration of the implant.
Typically patients will stay in the hospital for 3-4 days. Within a few weeks the swelling will go down and the results may be clearly seen. Stitches may be removed over the next 1-3 weeks, while normal activities can generally be resumed in 3-6 weeks.
Will there be scarring from a latissimus flap breast reconstruction?
This procedure leaves patients with two scars. The smaller scar will be located on the breast and the larger on the back. The back scar may range from 10-15 cm and is commonly placed underneath the bra line. Fine sutures will be used to minimize incision lines, which will continue to fade for over the course of six months.
How will I feel after the procedure?
In addition to the immediate pain from swelling that may occur in the first few days, there may be additional discomfort in the back and under the arm for 2-6 weeks. This discomfort may be treated with prescription medications to ensure patient comfort.
Are there any possible complications?
This procedure carries the risk of fluid buildup, loss of the latissimus flap, muscle weakness and complications from the breast implants. As with all other surgical procedures, there is also the chance of infection, bleeding and poor wound healing.
Learn More About Lat Flap Breast Reconstructions in Tampa
For more information about latissimus flap breast reconstruction, or to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Mosiello, contact the Tampa office at 813-631-1500. Our Tampa Palms office is conveniently located in New Tampa, near Wesley Chapel.