Anglia Ruskin Research Online (ARRO)
Malata_2018.pdf (982.74 kB)

Postmastectomy Breast Reconstruction With the Totally Autologous Latissimus Dorsi Flap in the Thin, Small-Breasted Woman: Give It More Thought!

Download (982.74 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 14:16 authored by Fawz Kazzazi, Rosanna C. Ching, Charles M. Malata
Introduction: Thin women have fewer autologous tissue breast reconstructive options than their higher body mass index counterparts—due to a lack of adequate donor sites. They are therefore usually offered expander/implant techniques. The total autologous latissimus dorsi flap is generally used in “well-padded” individuals, as they have enough fat on their back on which a completely autologous reconstruction could be based. When implant-based reconstruction is contraindicated (for instance due to planned adjuvant radiotherapy) or unacceptable to the patient, the total autologous latissimus dorsi flap can provide adequate tissue volume by utilizing the additional back fat deposits even in the thin, small-breasted patient. This option is often overlooked by many surgeons. Our case series assesses indications and patient and surgeon satisfaction with the cosmetic outcome of this technique. Methods: The oncological and clinical details of 6 patients with breast cancer who underwent total autologous latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap immediate breast reconstruction by a single surgeon over an 8-year period were reviewed. An objective assessment of satisfaction with the cosmetic result was made by whether any additional surgical interventions (ipsilateral fat grafting/implant augmentation or contralateral liposuction/ reduction) were needed or not. A subjective assessment of breast symmetry by the surgeon using photographic records was also undertaken. The aesthetic outcomes were also objectively quantified using the BCCT.core software, initially developed for assessing the results of breast conservation surgery. Results: All 6 patients had small breasts and a low or normal body mass index. The mastectomies were performed for invasive carcinoma (n = 3) and extensive high-grade ductal carcinoma in situ (n = 3). Four had axillary surgery (2 sentinel lymph node biopsies and 2 axillary clearances), and 3 received adjuvant radiotherapy. All were happy with their reconstructive outcomes, and none suffered major postoperative complications or disease recurrence. None requested or needed any subsequent ipsilateral adjustment or contralateral symmetrizing procedures. Subjectively, the reconstructions provided acceptable or excellent cosmetic results. The cosmetic results were categorized as excellent or good on the BCCT.core scoring system. Conclusion: This underutilized method of totally autologous breast reconstruction in thinner patients with lower body mass indexes yielded good, well-accepted cosmetic results without recourse to adjustment procedures, contralateral balancing surgery, or complex microvascular surgery. We recommend that the total autologous latissimus dorsi flap should be given more consideration when planning immediate breast reconstruction in this challenging group of thin, small-breasted patients.



  • Yes



Publication title





Open Science

File version

  • Published version


  • eng

Legacy posted date


Legacy creation date


Legacy Faculty/School/Department

ARCHIVED Faculty of Medical Science (until September 2018)

Usage metrics

    ARU Outputs


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager