The scarless latissimus dorsi flap for full muscle coverage in device-based immediate breast reconstruction: an autologous alter


AbstractBACKGROUND:Thin patients have fewer autologous options in postmastectomy reconstruction and are frequently limited to device-based techniques. The latissimus dorsi flap remains a viable option with which to provide autologous coverage, although for certain patients the donor scar can be a point of contention. The scarless latissimus dorsi flap is a way of mitigating these concerns. The authors present their 6-year single-surgeon experience with scarless latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction.
METHODS:A retrospective review of scarless latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction was performed. Charts from 2003 to 2009 were queried for demographic characteristics, nonoperative therapies, and short- and long-term complications. Results were compared with historical data.
RESULTS:Thirty-one patients with 52 flaps were identified. Fifty-one flaps were immediate reconstructions, with an average age of 47 years and body mass index of 22.8 kg/m. Thirteen patients were treated with chemotherapy and four were irradiated, two preoperatively. The single drain was removed on average at 21 days. Complications included three hematomas (5.8 percent), two capsular contractures (3.8 percent), and two infections (3.8 percent). Average time to secondary reconstruction was 143 days. There were five unplanned revisions (9.6 percent). There were no flap failures or tissue expander losses.
CONCLUSIONS:The scarless latissimus dorsi flap is an effective method for providing durable homogenous device coverage in the thinner patient (body mass index <24). With the advent of acellular dermal matrices, device coverage has been made simpler, but this comes at a cost. Coverage is thin, the matrix is not initially vascularized, and products are expensive. For these reasons, use of the scarless latissimus dorsi flap is an excellent alternative, particularly in the patient with a low body mass index.
CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Therapeutic, IV.(Figure is included in full-text article.).
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Atlanta Plastic Surgeon