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Latissimus Flap Breast Reconstruction


There are many different techniques for breast reconstruction. The first decision is whether you are a candidate for immediate reconstruction at the time of the mastectomy or if you need to wait until after your surgery and when you have completed your chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. This decision will be made primarily on the recommendation of the oncologic breast surgeon and/or the medical oncologist.

After the decision for immediate or delayed reconstruction has been made, the next choice is whether to use your own tissues, implants, or a combination of autologous tissue with implants. The Latissimus flap procedure combines your own tissues with an implant. In this technique, we use back tissue to create the breast mound. In most cases, we place an implant beneath the latissimus muscle because the back does not have enough fatty tissue to create an adequate size. A small scar is left in the bra line or bathing suit line on the back, but it heals very well and will be barely noticeable.

This technique creates very soft and natural breasts because the tissue from the back provides excellent soft tissue coverage over the implant. The procedure has a wide range of applications for breast reconstruction, including partial mastectomy defects, lumpectomy deformities, failed tissue expanders or failed TRAM flaps, and radiation wounds. Patients recover quickly from this surgery, and the results are very natural and beautiful.

In our practice, the majority of women have immediate reconstruction, where the breast is reconstructed during the same surgery as the mastectomy. It is very comforting to our newly diagnosed patients to wake up after their mastectomies with breasts. For our patients that need to wait for reconstruction, it is also reassuring to know that we can restore their breasts when their treatment is complete.