Comprehensive Analysis of Donor-Site Morbidity following Free Thoracodorsal Artery Perforator Flap Harvest

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The authors evaluated donor-site morbidity following free thoracodorsal artery perforator flap harvest comprehensively and investigated patient-and operation-related factors that might contribute to adverse outcomes.


A retrospective analysis was conducted for all cases of free thoracodorsal artery perforator flap reconstruction performed between January of 2002 and December of 2014. Donor-site morbidity was evaluated in three aspects: postoperative complications, scar-related problems, and functional impairment. The Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire was administered postoperatively to assess donor-site function.


A total of 293 patients were analyzed. The median follow-up period was 19.0 months. Donor-site complications developed in 33 patients (11.3 percent). Wound dehiscence (7.4 percent) and seroma (3.0 percent) were the most common complications. Harvesting thoracodorsal artery perforator flaps on multiple perforators or segmental latissimus dorsi muscle-chimeric flaps increased the rate of seroma formation but did not affect other donor-site morbidities significantly. Patient American Society of Anesthesiologists classification was a significant predictor of wound dehiscence and overall donor-site complications. Thirty-one patients (10.6 percent) had scar-related problems, including 18 hypertrophic and 13 widened scars. A transverse skin paddle design had a significant protective effect on developing scar-related problems, compared with the nontransverse design. The mean Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire score was 2.68 (range, 0 to 18.2), and 90 percent of patients scored less than 10. Flap dimensions were positively correlated with the questionnaire score.


The present study suggests that the free thoracodorsal artery perforator flap is associated with low donor-site morbidity and minimal dysfunction. Careful consideration of patient condition and thoughtful planning could further minimize donor-site morbidity.


Therapeutic, IV.

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