Bipolar Latissimus Dorsi Transfer for Restoration of Pectoralis Major Function in Poland Syndrome

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Poland syndrome typically presents as a unilateral congenital complete or partial absence of the pectoralis major muscle, variably with other associated anomalies. Reconstruction of the defect typically concentrates on aesthetic restoration with functional outcomes being unsuccessful or limited. We present an innovative means of true muscle transfer that provided functional benefit to increase upper extremity strength.

Case Report

A 16-year-old adolescent boy with Poland syndrome manifesting as left pectoralis major muscle agenesis wished to undergo functional reconstruction. He wanted to play on his high school football team, but could not meet the minimum weightlifting requirements. An ipsilateral latissimus dorsi muscle bipolar functional transfer was done with bone-anchored inset into the sternum and humerus so that muscle flexion would replace the absent pectoralis major. A progressive weight training program was then instituted postoperatively. At 9 months, a significant increase in left upper extremity strength was confirmed. The patient ultimately was able to surpass the weightlifting requirements for his high school football team, and joined the team.


Our highlighted procedure restored functional outcome using both plastic surgical principles and orthopedic techniques for muscle and tendon repair: bipolar muscle transfer and load-bearing muscle inset. Heretofore, transfer of the latissimus for provision of pectoralis major function has not been reported. Functional reconstruction was possible due to stable, bipolar muscle transfer with load-bearing muscle attachments into cortical bone of the anterior sternum and anteromedial aspect of the humerus. The techniques described should be within the skill set of most plastic surgeons, so that functional restoration for those with Poland syndrome is possible and accessible.

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