Evolving Concepts in Breast Reconstruction With Latissimus Dorsi Flaps: Results and Follow-up of 121 Consecutive Patients

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Breast reconstruction using autologous tissue is increasingly gaining in interest. A review of results obtained from a series of consecutive patients undergoing breast reconstruction with the latissimus dorsi flap (LDF) was carried out to evaluate the effects of the authors’ refinements to the procedure. Data collected during the perioperative course and a minimum follow-up of 12 months in 121 patients (mean age, 47 years; 50% with previous radiotherapy) who underwent treatment from 1994 to 1998 were analyzed retrospectively. In addition, a structured interview was conducted to evaluate patient satisfaction. Eighteen different surgeons in one teaching hospital were involved in the operative procedures. No patient was referred to the intensive care unit. An additional implant was used in 25% of patients. With the exception of the occurrence of seroma, the complication rate was low (seroma, 60%; bleeding, 4%; hematoma, 5%; minor wound dehiscence, 3%; wound infection, 2%). No flap was lost. Donor site morbidity was extremely low; 90% of patients had no complaints. The result of surgery was rated as excellent or good by 59% of patients, 89% would undergo this type of breast reconstruction again, and 91% would recommend it to other women. Refinements that improved the technique substantially included incision lines exclusively in the bra line, improved flap volume resulting from the harvest of an extended fat pad, and quilting sutures to reduce the formation of seroma. In the current study, endoscopic muscle harvest did not represent an improvement in procedure. The technique of breast reconstruction with the LDF has been improved substantially during the past few years, and provides the plastic surgeon with an excellent, safe, and consistently successful method for breast reconstruction.

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