Aftercare Support for Latissimus Breast Reconstruction
I typically do not recommend any external support to either the donor site or breast after latissimus reconstruction. I do not want any external compression to compromise the breast flap or the donor site incision. I do recommend internal support by suturing the latissimus to the chest wall to prevent migration, quilting sutures along with drain tubes to the donor site to prevent seroma
I wish you a safe and healthy recovery
Paul S. GIll, M.D.
Gill Plastic Surgery
Houston Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Support for the breast and the donor site
The breast can be supported both internally and externally after reconstruction with a Latissimus flap. The latissimus muscle is a broad, flat muscle from the back that is transposed/moved over with a segment of skin to the breast. Often times, an implant is used in conjunction with the flap. The tissue is sewn internally to help create the breast shape, and an outer dressing helps support the breast tissue and crease. A drain is used often for the area where the muscle was taken (donor site). The drain will remove fluid buildup and help to seal the area down. The drain is usually removed in 2-3 weeks depending upon the amount of fluid coming out.
Support following latissimus dorsi flap
Support? For flap? For body weight? Generally, one or two drains may be used to diminish risk for seroma along with quilting sutures. No constricting dressing is typically used but that may vary by practitioner. Use of the arm may be limited depending on whether the innervating nerve is severed.
The latissimus is attached in such a way that it is self supported by the suturing of it to the chest region and the overlying skin. As for a bra, that is surgeon specific which you should ask your doc about.
Latissimus Breast Reconstruction
I assume you are referring to breast reconstruction, though the Latissimus muscle can be used for other purposes. In most cases, the Latissimus flap is used with an implant. The normal inframammary ligament that is left after the mastectomy supports both. Usually you are instructed to switch to a support bra the next day to provide some external support.