Evaluation of Donor Morbidity following Single-Stage Latissimus Dorsi Neuromuscular Transfer for Facial Reanimation

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Background:Single-stage latissimus dorsi neuromuscular transfer has been a valuable option for dynamic smile reanimation. However, there is a paucity of studies evaluating the potential donor morbidity in such cases. The present study aimed to comprehensively analyze the donor morbidity following functional latissimus dorsi muscle transfer.Methods:Patients who underwent single-stage functional latissimus dorsi muscle transfer for smile reanimation between 2002 and 2016 were reviewed. Postoperative complications and functional impairments at the donor sites were evaluated. The Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire was used for assessing postoperative donor-site function.Results:Sixty patients, including 12 pediatric (18 years or younger) patients, were analyzed. Mean length of a harvested thoracodorsal nerve was 14.9 cm. Fourteen patients were treated with a dual innervation technique, in which both a descending and a transverse branch of the thoracodorsal nerve were harvested. Donor complications were observed in seven cases; all of them were seromas and resolved by simple aspiration. No other complications including scoliosis and sensory and/or motor disturbances in the upper extremities were encountered. Fifty patients responded to the Quick-Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand questionnaire at a median follow-up of 51 months. The average score was 2.64, and all but three patients scored less than 10. No variables, including patient age (pediatric versus adult) and the use of a dual-innervation technique, affected the donor morbidities, including the functional deficits.Conclusion:Single-stage latissimus dorsi neuromuscular transfer for facial reanimation might be associated with a low rate of complications and minimal functional morbidity at the donor site.CLINICAL QUESTION/LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:Therapeutic, IV.

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