Comparison of Donor Site Drainage Duration and Seroma Rate Between Latissimus Dorsi Musculocutaneous Flaps and Thoracodorsal Artery Perforator Flaps

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Donor site seroma formation and prolonged drainage duration are common complications of using latissimus dorsi musculocutaneous (LDMC) flaps. The present retrospective study aimed to investigate the effect of types of back flap harvest on drainage duration and seroma formation rates.


Adult patients (n = 155) who underwent reconstruction with a latissimus dorsi flap from January 2010 to October 2015 were included in the study, of which 54 patients underwent breast reconstruction with a pedicled LDMC flap (LD breast group), 80 patients underwent an LDMC flap transfer for purposes other than breast reconstruction (LD nonbreast group), and 21 patients underwent soft tissue reconstruction with a thoracodorsal artery perforator (TAP) flap (TAP group). Flap size, drainage durations, and seroma formation rates at donor sites were compared among the 3 groups.


Flap sizes significantly differed between the LD nonbreast group (median value, 185.5 cm2) and the other 2 groups (119 cm2 in the LD breast group. 127.5 cm2 in the TAP group), with no significant difference observed between the LD breast and TAP groups. The mean drainage duration was 11.6 days for the LD breast group. 9.82 days for the LD nonbreast group, and 4.81 days for the TAP group. Drainage durations significantly differed among the groups. Seroma formation rate of the LD breast group (42.6%) was significantly higher than those of the other groups.


The type of back flap harvest used significantly affected drainage duration and seroma formation rate in the present study. Lumbar fat extension with the use of a LDMC flap for breast reconstruction may lead to seroma formation. Thoracodorsal artery perforator flaps are associated with minimal risks of seroma formation and significantly shortened drainage duration compared with LDMC flaps.

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