Breast reconstruction can be a crucial step in the recovery process after a mastectomy. For many women, breast reconstruction offers a renewed self-image, a boost to self-confidence and healing. At Bajaj Plastic Surgery, we are proud to provide advanced and proven breast reconstruction techniques including the Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast reconstruction method.
About Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast Reconstruction Surgery
Breast reconstruction is indicated for patients who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy where breast tissue has been removed in the treatment of cancer. There are a variety of breast reconstruction techniques and options for a patient to consider and the best choice is always based on the unique circumstances and anatomy of the individual. At Baja Plastic Surgery, the Latissimus Dorsi Flap reconstruction method, DIEP Flap reconstruction method, and TUG method are just some of the options to consider during breast reconstruction. There are also options for breast implant-based reconstruction and options for reconstruction with tissue expanders. Dr. Bajaj recognizes that the post-mastectomy period and the overall experience of breast reconstruction can be emotionally challenging and personal, so it is her absolute priority to ensure her patients feel confident and comfortable with every aspect of their procedure. Dr. Bajaj makes every effort possible to educate, guide, and support her patients during the reconstruction process.
The Science Behind the Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast
The latissimus dorsi flap is a breast reconstruction surgery based on the latissimus dorsi muscle that is located on your back. The latissimus dorsi muscle with the overlying skin from the back is used to rebuild the breast mound and provides the supportive tissue, innervation and blood supply for a natural-appearing breast. This technique may a good option for those who do not have ample donor tissue in other areas such as the abdomen.
Breast Reconstruction Process
The latissimus dorsi flap is located on the back below the shoulder and is a muscle reliably used for many types of reconstructive surgery. This surgical technique may be used for both types of breast reconstruction: immediate or delayed. The latissimus muscle blood supply is the thoracodorsal artery, which is located in the axilla. The proximity of the latissimus dorsi flap to the chest wall means the blood supply can remain intact throughout the entire procedure.
Benefits of Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast Reconstruction
A latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction offers the following benefits
- Reduced postoperative pain: compared to tissue expander breast reconstruction methods, patients typically report less discomfort after surgery with flap-based reconstruction methods.
- Reduced recovery time: less discomfort and pain during the recovery period often results in patients being able to return to their normal, daily activities in as little as three to four weeks.
- Natural appearance: tissue-based reconstruction offers natural looking results preserves sensation and function.
Candidates for a Breast Reconstruction
Breast reconstruction surgery provides women who have undergone a mastectomy or lumpectomy a restored, natural breast appearance. The procedure is often a big part of the recovery experience for women who have undergone breast cancer treatment and provides self-confidence and emotional healing. Ideal candidates are in good overall health or in a good place in regard to their breast cancer treatment, and have been cleared by their physician to undergo breast reconstruction. Women who are considering breast reconstruction, but are not suited for other methods due to a limited amount of donor tissue in other areas of the body may also be good candidates for the latissimus dorsi flap technique.
In the weeks before reconstructive surgery, Dr. Bajaj recommends her patients follow the following steps to ensure the best possible outcomes:
- Patients who are smokes must stop for at least three weeks before surgery to avoid complications. Any anti-inflammatory medications must be stopped as they may interfere with healing.
Latissimus Dorsi Flap Breast Reconstruction Experience
Latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction is a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. General anesthesia ensures the patient is safe and comfortable during the procedure. You will be placed on your side in a “lateral decubitus position,” on the operating table. Then, the incisions along the latissimus flap are outlined and mapped with a sterile marking pen. The exact size and shape of the incision will be determined by Dr. Bajaj and is based on how much tissue is required for your breast reconstruction.
An incision is made near the shoulder blade and an oval-shaped section of fat, skin, blood vessels and muscle are carefully freed. This section of muscle and skin is transferred to the chest area via a tunnel under the skin to retain the tissue blood supply. The blood vessels of the donor tissue are left intact. Once the breast pocket is constructed, then a breast implant or tissue expander may be placed under the muscle at this time or at a later date. The procedure may take about two hours to complete, and most patients go home the same day following surgery. Implant or tissue expander placement is more typically a separate procedure. If a tissue expander is placed, it can be periodically enlarged to match the size of the other breast for a symmetrical appearance when the final breast implant is placed.
Recovery Process for Breast Reconstruction
After reconstructive surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room to rest and receive aftercare instructions. We recommend having assistance during the first 24 hours following surgery. You will have drains that may remain in place for 1-2 weeks.
Everybody’s recovery is unique, it is hard to predict the appearance of scars. The appearance of the newly constructed breast will be clear once the implant is placed to match the size and shape of your natural breast. Some patients with more physically active lifestyles may experience limited motion of the upper arm and difficulty swimming or playing tennis.
Breast reconstruction of any kind is a highly personal experience and Dr. Bajaj recognizes the importance of providing her patients with the best experience possible. During a private consultation, you and Dr. Bajaj will discuss your personal goals for reconstruction and your experience so far with treatment. You may be asked to discuss your personal medical history and undergo a medical examination to ensure you are physically ready for breast reconstruction. Some patients may bring in photos of themselves to serve as a reference for their aesthetic goals. Dr. Bajaj will then discuss the best surgical options for your body. To best prepare for reconstruction and ensure the most positive experience, Dr. Bajaj wants her patients to feel as comfortable and confident about their procedure.
Dr. Anureet Bajaj and her father Dr. P.S. Bajaj have been performing breast reconstruction and other microvascular flap reconstruction techniques for Oklahoma City patients for more than a decade. With more than 400 procedures performed, a spectacular safety record and low complication rates, patients can expect excellent outcomes. Dr. Bajaj performs more than 50 free flap based breast reconstruction procedures annually at the St. Anthony Hospital and is highly regarded as an experienced specialist in the field of breast reconstruction.
Cost for Breast Reconstruction
Latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction involves many variables including whether the procedure is performed during the mastectomy or whether you opt to use breast implants. Federal law requires all health insurance plans to assist in covering mastectomy costs and reconstructive surgery. Patients can discuss the details of their plan with their insurance provider, but our staff is more than happy to assist you in determining the best options for your treatment plan. You can discuss your treatment plan costs and received a price quote during your personal consultation with Dr. Bajaj. Schedule a consultation by contacting us today.