Prediction of Postoperative Seroma after Latissimus Dorsi Breast Reconstruction

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The latissimus dorsi flap has become a first-line option in reconstruction of the breast cancer patient. Donor-site seroma is a commonly described postoperative complication of the latissimus dorsi flap.


A retrospective chart review from 1998 to 2003 of all patients undergoing latissimus dorsi breast reconstruction was performed (n = 50). Age of the patients, timing of breast reconstruction, type of nodal dissection (axillary versus sentinel versus none), and chemotherapy status of the patients were examined.


The overall incidence of seroma formation was 47 percent. Those patients who had undergone prior or concurrent nodal dissection at the time of breast reconstruction were found to have a higher incidence of seroma formation than patients who had no nodal dissection (52 percent versus 25 percent ) (p = 0.15). Age also was a risk factor for seroma formation, as 63 percent of patients older than 50 had formed seroma as compared with 39 percent of those younger than age 50 (p = 0.08).


The authors conclude that advanced age and the presence of nodal disruption before or concurrent with latissimus dorsi breast reconstruction are predictors of donor-site seroma formation.

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