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Helping Survivors Reclaim Their Femininity

Latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction is a highly effective technique for rebuilding breasts following a mastectomy. By sliding tissue (muscle, fat, and skin) from the upper back beneath the armpit and into the chest, this technique allows for a fairly straightforward form of breast reconstruction with a relatively high success rate.

Is This Procedure Right for Me?

Latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction may be a good option for any generally healthy woman working to make a full recovery from a mastectomy. 

Because it uses muscles, skin, and other tissue from nearby parts of the body, this type of flap can be completed in shorter times compared to other, more labor-intensive types of reconstructive microsurgical flaps.

During your consultation, Garrett Wirth, MD, MS, FACS will work closely with you to determine whether or not this is the best method for breast reconstruction, given your goals and anatomy.

How Does the Procedure Work?

The latissimus dorsi muscles used to rebuild breasts generally have a small amount of fat above them, which makes this type of breast reconstruction effective for women with naturally small to medium-sized breasts. 

The primary strength of this technique lies in the fact that tissue from the latissimus dorsi is easily slid around the torso and into place. The drawbacks to latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction involve concerns about skin color, skin texture, and possible asymmetry in the back. 

Frequently, a tissue expander or implant is utilized in conjunction with the latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap in order to achieve symmetry for larger sized breasts. Garrett Wirth, MD, MS, FACS can explain all of these benefits and risks in detail during your consultation.

There are few contraindications prohibiting a woman from receiving latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction, so be sure to consult with Dr. Wirth in order to determine if this technique will be the most beneficial for you.

What Happens in this Procedure?

After making strategic incisions, your cosmetic surgeon isolates an oval-shaped region of your skin overlying your latissimus dorsi muscle. This is the group of muscles located on your upper back, lying below the shoulder and behind the armpit.

A section of skin, fat, and muscle is then slid beneath your armpit, around your torso, and positioned in your chest. While doing this, Dr. Wirth will leave as many blood vessels intact as possible. 

Wherever necessary, damaged or severed blood vessels are repaired using microsurgical techniques. After the flap is complete (with or without tissue expanders or implants), all incisions are sutured.

Post-Operative Recovery

Immediately following latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction, expect soreness and swelling at all incision and operation sites. At the conclusion of the operation, Dr. Wirth will properly dress and bandage all incision sites. As with any surgery, be sure to follow any postoperative directions that are provided. Drain outputs must be monitored and recorded for Dr. Wirth.

As the swelling subsides and incisions heal, you will see the full outcomes of latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction. Work with Garrett Wirth, MD, MS, FACS to determine the effectiveness of the procedure, and to ascertain whether or not any future revisions or treatments will be needed.

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