The Latissimus flap is transferred from the back and allows for the importation of muscle and skin to help reconstruct the breast. It does leave a scar on the back but most patients don’t notice any change in shoulder function. The flap is not a microsurgical transfer, the blood vessels are left intact and the flap is tunneled under skin below the arm to help restore the breast skin and volume. It is almost always used in conjunction with an implant.
This flap is often used when a DIEP free flap cannot be done or is done and does not work. It is commonly used in patients who have had prior radiation therapy. It is a shorter operation than a microsurgical procedure such as a DIEP flap and patients typically are discharged a day or two after surgery. In fact, Dr. Duffy has done a couple of these flaps as outpatients, patients are discharged the same day.