Breast reconstruction using the sensate latissimus dorsi musculocutaneous flap.


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Abstract

The authors performed immediate breast reconstruction on four patients using a sensate latissimus dorsi musculocutaneous flap accompanied by neurorrhaphy during the past 6 years. In the neurorrhaphy, the lateral cutaneous branch of the dorsal primary divisions of the seventh thoracic nerve, which controls the sensation of the myocutaneous flap, was anastomosed to the lateral cutaneous branch of the fourth intercostal nerve, which controls the sensation of the breast. The subjects consisted of four patients whose postoperative follow-up period was 14 to 29 months, with an average of 19.3 months. The control subjects consisted of 10 cases with a latissimus dorsi musculocutaneous flap whose sensory nerve had not been reconstructed (postoperative follow-up period, 15 to 49 months; average, 26.9 months). The sensory examination included tests of touch, pain, and temperature. The innervated musculocutaneous flap sensation showed gradual recovery at about 6 months after surgery and reached the value of the normal side after about 1 year. In the control subjects, the recovery was gradual after more than 1 year and reached the value of the normal side in only some of the control subjects. On the basis of these findings, the authors consider the present technique to be useful for the recovery of sensation in immediate breast reconstruction.

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