What is Latissimus Dorsi Breast reconstruction surgery?
This is a breast reconstruction technique that involves transferring the back muscle (latissimus dorsi muscle) through the armpit and moving it to the breast pocket. The muscle remains attached to its blood supply and it is simply transferred from the front of the body to the back, pivoting on its blood vessels. This type of flap is called a pedicled flap. The latissimus dorsi muscle covers a substantial part of the back and is a ‘climbing muscle’ used by athletes. Removal of the muscle does not affect day-to-day activities, though some patients notice a slightly stiff shoulder.
There are two standard types of this operation:
- Taking the muscle and skin and then using an implant or fat transfer to build up volume on the breast.
- Taking the muscle and skin alone. It is not always possible to match the flap exactly to the other breast, particularly if the normal breast is droopy or excessively large. In these cases it would be best to have a breast uplift (mastopexy) or reduction in addition to the reconstruction.
This operation is particularly suitable if you are going to have or have had radiotherapy, as a pure implant based reconstruction is associated with a high rate of complications. The other advantage of adding muscle to any reconstruction is that it gives a more natural appearance than a pure implant based reconstruction.