Latissimus dorsi flap for breast reconstruction: a large single-institution evaluation of surgical outcome and complications

Maggie Banys-Paluchowski*, Laura Brus, Natalia Krawczyk, Sophie Valeria Kopperschmidt, Maria Luisa Gasparri, Nana Bündgen, Achim Rody, Lars Hanker, Franziska Hemptenmacher, Peter Paluchowski

*Korrespondierende/r Autor/-in für diese Arbeit


Purpose: The use of autologous tissues is considered gold standard for patients undergoing breast reconstruction and is the preferred method in the post-radiation setting. Although the latissimus dorsi flap (LDF) has been replaced by abdominal flaps as technique of choice, it remains a valuable option in several specific clinical situations and its use has been regaining popularity in recent years. In this work, we present an 18-year retrospective analysis of a single-institution single-surgeon experience with LDF-based reconstruction with focus on early complications and reconstructive failures. Methods: Hospital records of all patients undergoing breast surgery for any reason in the Certified Breast Cancer Center, Regio Klinikum Pinneberg, Germany between April, 1st 2005 and October, 31st 2022 were reviewed. 142 consecutive LDF-based reconstructive procedures were identified. Detailed information was gathered on patient characteristics, treatment-related factors, and complications. Results: One hundred forty patients (139 female, 1 male) received 142 LDF-based surgeries. The flap was used mainly for immediate breast reconstruction with or without implant (83% of patients), followed by defect coverage after removal of a large tumor (7%), implant-to-flap conversion with or without placement of a new implant (6%), and delayed post-mastectomy reconstruction (4%). The use of LDF decreased between 2005 and 2020 (2005: 17, 2006: 13, 2007: 14, 2008: 16, 2009: 5, 2010: 9, 2011: 8, 2012: 3, 2013: 10, 2014: 8, 2015: 8, 2016: 7, 2017: 7, 2018: 4, 2019: 4, 2020: 2, 2021: 6, 2022: 4). Surgery was performed for invasive breast cancer in 78%, ductal carcinoma in situ in 20% and other reasons such as genetic mutation in 1% of patients. Ipsilateral radiation therapy was received by 12% of patients prior to LDF surgery and by 37% after the surgery. 25% of patients were smokers. The median duration of surgery, including all procedures conducted simultaneously such as e.g., mastectomy, axillary surgery, or implant placement, was 117 min (range 56–205). Patients stayed in the hospital for a median of 7 days (range 2–23 days). The most common complication was seroma (26%), followed by wound dehiscence (8%), surgical site infection (7%), partial skin and/or nipple necrosis of any size (7%) and hematoma requiring surgical evacuation (2%). 19% of all patients required seroma aspiration or drainage, mostly at the donor site and performed under ultrasound guidance in the ambulatory setting. Flap loss due to necrosis occurred in 2% of patients. Conclusions: Latissimus dorsi flap is a well-established surgical technique commonly used for immediate breast reconstruction as well as defect coverage in locally advanced breast cancer. To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the largest single-surgeon analyses of early complications in patients receiving LDF. As expected, seroma was the most common complication observed in nearly one third of patients and requiring a therapeutic intervention in every fifth patient. Serious adverse events occurred rarely, and flap loss rate was very low.

ZeitschriftArchives of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Seiten (von - bis)269-280
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 01.2024

Strategische Forschungsbereiche und Zentren

  • Zentren: Universitäres Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)
  • Profilbereich: Lübeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


  • 205-21 Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe
  • 205-14 Hämatologie, Onkologie