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Latissimus Flap Surgery...what should I expect?

JRay's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2013

Hi, I'm new to this site although it's been almost 6 years since I was diagnosed with DCIS.  I had 2 lumpectomies in the summer of 2007, which made little me littler.  I was an almost B cup.  

Sooo....at my 5 year appointment with my surgeon I asked if I was a candidate for breast reconstruction and of course he said "yes".  He hooked me up with a plastic surgeon in Nov. 2012 and the verdict was to have the latissimus flap procedure.  I've put it off until I have 3 weeks of vacation saved up, but I hear it may take longer for recovery.  The surgery has been scheduled for 4/17/13, but I'm getting cold feet because of how major I hear this procedure is.  I like to swim laps in the summer and wonder about my endurance with a compromised latissimus muscle on my right side.  Not that I'm an olympic swimmer...I don't even know how to do the fancy turn when you reach the wall.

I read about the latissimus muscle and know it is the broadest muscle in the back.  It controls the pulling down motion.  My daughter said if I am using a long paint roller and go up, I'll never come down (tee hee)! 

I want to know the cold, hard facts about this procedure and do plan to let the plastic surgeon's office know I need more info about what to expect.  

Also, the bargain hunter in me has said yes to breast augmentation to a C cup (on both sides of course) since insurance covers it:)

Any thoughts, experiences, recommendations??



Angie2U's picture
Posts: 2992
Joined: Sep 2009

Welcome to the site JRay!  I wish I could be of some help to you with your questions, but, I had a lumpectomy.

I am hoping that one of the pink sisters here that had this surgery will respond to you and help you.

Good luck with your surgery!

Hugs, Angie

teresa41's picture
Posts: 468
Joined: Jun 2009

I had the latissimus surgery jan 2012 I had both sides done however. I won't say it was easy it wasn't. Recovery took lots of time. my reaching and lifting was very limited. I put most my dry foods on the counter and dishes so I didn't reach up . I also put my gallon milk in a smaller container lifting was very limited. My job involves a lot of lifting pulling and pushing I was off work 8 weeks. My back felt really tight from the muscles being moved so my surgeon had me go to physical therapy for 6 weeks it helped. just rest and don't over do with lifting and reaching I wish you well on the surgery and recovery it will take time.



Posts: 429
Joined: Dec 2009

I had this surgery done just last December. I had a lumpectomy in 2009 which I was happy with at the time. After three years of uneveness, I decided I wanted to do reconstruction. My PS said that as I had radiation, my tissue would need to be expanded prior to putting in any implants. Yes, this surgery was by far more difficult than any other of the surgeries I've had. Swimming may be an issue for you....not that you can't swim but your back will probably get more tired.

After the surgery, I started having my fills which is saline. It is put into your breast where the tissue expander is placed. He takes what he calls the "stud finder" which locates the exact place to put the needle in. Does it hurt? YEP! But after trial and error we have now found the right size needle. I also take a Vicodin (my husband drives me) and they put on a topical pain reducer prior to the needle. I've had 7 fills. After the last one, my breast hurt for nearly a week so when I went for the fill, he put in half the amount. He wants to keep me comfortable through the whole process. When I go this week, we'll decide if we're done or if we want to continue.

He said I will probably have to augment the other breast as well. After my last fill, then we will wait about 4 weeks for it to settle in. Then I'll have the exchange surgery and augmentation of the other breast.

Here is my take on it: It was the best surgery for my situation. It was a very difficult surgery. I was off work (desk job) for two weeks. After about the 5th fill recovery time until my next fill was taking it's toll. Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! I can't wait to see the final results but after three years of extreme uneveness, I'm glad I did this.

I wish you well....let me know if you have any other questions!







Megan M's picture
Megan M
Posts: 3001
Joined: Dec 2009

Wishing you good luck!

McMarty's picture
Posts: 212
Joined: Nov 2012

Have you ever heard of a DIEP Flap or SGAP ?  They do that without compromising any muscle tissue.  But if you don't have any extra fat on your tummy or rear end, then that won't work for you.  Look it up if swimming is important, find a PS that CAN do that one! 

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