JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Immediate breast reconstruction with expander assisted latissimus dorsi flap after skin sparing mastectomy.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap (LDMF) used to be the standard practice for breast reconstruction; however, with the increased use of tissue expanders and the development of the transverse rectus-abdominis myocutaneous flap for autologous tissue breast reconstruction, its use has decreased. To reassess the role of the LDMF in breast reconstruction, a prospective study was performed to evaluate women who had a skin sparing mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction with a latissimus dorsi flap and tissue expander implant.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-five women with early breast cancer underwent immediate latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flaps with tissue expander after skin sparing mastectomy. The oncologic safety of skin sparing mastectomy, the postoperative aesthetic results and complications were evaluated.

RESULTS: Between May 2003 and April 2005, 25 consecutive women diagnosed with breast cancer underwent skin sparing mastectomy and expander assisted immediate latissimus dorsi breast reconstruction. Their median age was 42 years, ranging from 34 to 48 years. The procedure duration ranged from 2.5 to 6 hours, with a median of 3.9 hours, however, expansion was completed by 4 months (range 1 to 8 months). Patients were discharged 7 days after surgery with a range of 5 to 15 days. The complication rate was low, manifesting with skin flap necrosis in 12%, wound infection in 4%, and port site extrusion in 4%. There was no flap loss. With the exception of seroma formation, the donor site morbidity was low (seroma 40%, hematoma 4%, back pain 8%, and limited arm movement 4%). No local recurrence was recorded. The aesthetic result of surgery was rated as excellent in 20%, good in 60%, fair in 24%, and poor in 4% of cases. The duration of post-operative follow up was 14.7 months, ranging from 6 to 24 months.

CONCLUSIONS: Skin sparing mastectomy and immediate breast reconstruction is an oncologically safe technique. The use of latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap with tissue expansion has proved to be an effective and aesthetic method of immediate breast reconstruction after skin sparing mastectomy.

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