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Latissumus flap questions...surgery scheduled

JRay's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2013

Hi,I am new on this site although I am 5 years out from my diagnosis of DCIS.  I had 2 lumpectomies in the same spot which have left me uneven, followed by radiation.  I learned insurance will pay to make women even after breast cancer surgery.  I have seen a plastic surgeon who wants to do a latissimus flap, and although I have scheduled the surgery, I need to hear from someone who has experienced this surgery about what to expect. I am nervous about it the more I think about it because it seems so major.  

Please help me know what to expect.

Thank you so much!


Pink Rose
Posts: 493
Joined: Nov 2012

Hi Jray!  I didn't have this surgery, but, wanted to say hello and welcome to the site.  I am sure someone on this site has had this surgery and will post some information to you.

Good luck to you with your surgery!

Hugs, Rose

Alexis F's picture
Alexis F
Posts: 3602
Joined: May 2009

When is your surgery scheduled?  Wishing you the best with it!

Hugs, Lex

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I had two "flap" surgeries at different times after mastectomies (long story).  First was the extensive pedicled TRAM (a flap from abdomen is cut out but blood vessels are left attached and flap is pulled under your chest and pulled out again to make a breast) and the second was the SGAP free flap (flap cut free from a part of your buttock and then sewn in place on chest). 

Although my surgeries were different, I would expect a similar recovery.  I would plan on 4-6 weeks for a FULL recovery, but you should be up and around in a day or two. 

Pain meds are prescribed to speed your recovery--not just for pain.  If you take your pain meds, you will move more and prevent many, many complications. So, take your pain meds, wait about 20 minutes and then get up and walk a little just as soon as you can.  Walk a little more each day and do whatever exercises your doctor prescribes.  If he/she doesn't prescribe specific exercies, ask about them and/or ask for some PT.

Pain meds can have complications such as nausea and constipation.  I had to try different pain meds and end up with 1/2 of the weakest narcotic and that works best for me.  Ask for dissolving zofran (or similar) just in case you experience nausea.  Ask your doc what he/she recommends for nausea.

And good luck!!!  I have never regretted my surgeries.  They have made me feel more confident--especially in a bathing suit Smile.

GreeneyedGirl's picture
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sep 2008

Hi Jray~Welcome~~

I had the surgery done in 2008. I only had one side involved. DCIS and first a lumpectomy, then radiation (2006).  I had a recurrence so my only option was to have the lat flap done for reconstruction. I too was really worried that it was an invasive surgery (aren't they all??) I actually healed up better from the lat flap than from the mastectomy which was done 6 mo earlier. Long story, but I did things in stages, because of my fears of surgery. It took about 6 weeks to heal up, and I did very well thru the process. I did have drainage tubes, pain meds, and a support band that I wore for about 2 weeks after surgery that kind of bound me up, not tightly, but it aided in keeping swelling down, really it was not as bad a surgery as my mind made it out to be. I have a saline implant because it is behind the muscle, and personally i wanted saline in my body as opposed to silicone. Just my personal preferance. I obeyed dr's orders to the T, and did not overdo housework or being too active~ I healed beautifully.

Before I have surgery, I always treat myself to a new pair of pajama's, slippers and treats to enjoy while recuperating~plus a new movie or two to watch. I make my bed like a "nest" and just heal!!

I wish you the best outcome~


JRay's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Mar 2013

I appreciate all the comments and helpful hints!  

I'll probably need to postpone the surgery until I have more paid days off saved up.  The PS actually said all I'd need to take off was 3 weeks, but the surgery scheduler said closer to 4.  I wonder if I need to have 6 weeks of days off saved up. My plan is to set up a face to face with the PS to ask more questions since I'm not good at remembering what to ask from the beginning.

I'm so glad to have found this place to find and give support. What a nice FIND!


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

Wishing you a good outcome also with your surgery!

Mariannemm's picture
Posts: 136
Joined: Apr 2010

I had the lat surgery just over a year ago.  Mine didn't go very well.  I have struggled with recovery ever since.  I am looking at seeing another PS.  I was a very active 45 year and it has been difficult to be so limited on my activities.  Maybe it is my PS, maybe he didn't do a good job, I don't know so that is why I am looking another PS for a 2nd opinion. Reconstruction has been a hard journey for me.  If you have certain questions I would be happy to answer!  I wish you well and I am sure you will enjoy this site!  Marianne 

Posts: 429
Joined: Dec 2009

I had my surgery on December 14th of 2012. I was back to work (desk job) on January 7th. I've completed my fills and have scheduled my exchange surgery for May 1st. The surgery itself was way more difficult than I thought it would be. Would I do it again? Yep! I had a lumpectomy, chemo, radiation in 2009. I was tired of being lopsided and even though most PS will tell you it's more difficult to do reconstruction on a radiated breast, it is not impossible!

I am very pleased so far and can't wait to see the final results!


I wish you well in your surgery...Patti


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