Scalp Reconstruction with Inverted Myocutaneous Latissimus Free Flap and Unmeshed Skin Graft


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Abstract

Limited skin paddle size, peripheral thinning, or lack of cerebral expansion after radiotherapy may necessitate secondary sculpting after latissimus free flap reconstruction of large scalp defects. This series presents a novel modification of the myocutaneous latissimus dorsi free flap for use in large scalp defects. After superficial artery isolation, titanium mesh is placed into the calvarial defect to recapitulate the inner table. The myocutaneous latissimus flap is harvested in standard fashion, deepithelialized, and inverted. The skin paddle is placed over titanium mesh to fill the calvarial defect, then sewn over a drain. The inverted latissimus muscle is draped over the defect and extended peripherally beneath the pericranium. The flap is sewn to the scalp internally using a vest-over-pants suture pattern, and the thoracodorsal and superficial temporal vessels are anastomosed and left facing outward. Unmeshed skin graft is draped over the muscle and vessels then sutured loosely. Patients with complex scalp defects whose soft tissue defect exceeded the size of latissimus skin paddle available with primary closure were considered eligible for inverted latissimus free flap reconstruction. Follow-up range was 6 months to 12 months. Over a 2-year period, five patients underwent inverted latissimus free flap reconstruction. Scalp defects ranged in size from 10 × 8 cm to 17 × 11 cm. The calvarial defect was smaller than the soft tissue defect in all cases. All flap donor sites were closed primarily. All five flaps took, and donor site outcomes were acceptable. Aesthetic outcomes were satisfactory with well-contoured, calvarial-shaped results. Cosmesis was most notably limited by skin graft joint lines. No patients underwent secondary surgical revision. The inverted myocutaneous latissimus free flap is a safe and effective method for reconstructing large or irradiated scalp defects.

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