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Latissimus Flap Reconstruction

John C. Lincoln Center for Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery
9250 N. Third St., Suite 1003
Phoenix, AZ 85020
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» Request a referral to a John C. Lincoln specialist in latissimus flap breast reconstruction in Phoenix, Arizona.

At John C. Lincoln's Center for Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery in Phoenix, Arizona, latissimus flap reconstruction is one of the many breast reconstruction options provided by our plastic surgeons.

In this procedure, skin, fatty tissue and latissimus dorsi muscle are harvested from the upper back, then rotated and tunneled under the armpit to their new location in the chest. The flap is trimmed and shaped to form symmetrical breast-like structures, then reconnected to blood vessels in the chest wall, through microsurgery (using a microscope, because blood vessels are 1 millimeter wide or less).

Latissimus flap reconstruction offers three important benefits:

  • Because blood vessels are attached to the patient's own muscle, the latissimus dorsi flap offers the reconstructed breast access to a remote blood supply. What's more, because autologous tissue (one's own tissue) is used, tissue rejection is unlikely.
  • Latissimus flap reconstruction uses the muscles around the latissimus girdle, an area of the upper back that offers an ample supply of muscles for breast reconstruction. Surrounding muscles can easily provide strength in place of the harvested latissimus dorsi muscle. Minor loss of range of motion in the shoulder can be alleviated by exercise.
  • The incision made along the back, to access the latissimus dorsi flap, is hidden by the bra line.

Latissimus dorsi flap has a natural appearance. Frequently, it provides the volume needed to fully reconstruct a breast.

A Volume-Adding Approach

In the event that additional breast volume is needed, our plastic surgeons can use two different techniques to increase the volume of the reconstructed breast.

A tissue expander and implant may be added to the latissimus dorsi flap to increase breast volume.

Fat grafting procedures harvest the patient's own fat, through liposuction. Grafted fat is injected into the flap. While this procedure has led to excellent results with building volume, it is also very safe and can help the patient avoid the need for implants.