During the past 3 years, the authors have been using the modified autogenous latissimus myocutaneous flap (MALF) for breast reconstruction in increasing numbers because of occasional patient and surgeon dissatisfaction with other methods of breast reconstruction. They have found this method to have unprecedented reliability, making it preferable to other forms of reconstruction in many patients. Considering the very low morbidity, the high patient satisfaction, and current economic factors, the authors are strong advocates of this form of reconstruction. A procedural outline proposed by McCraw and coworkers is followed, with some useful modifications. An elliptical transverse skin paddle is centered over the back fat roll. The area of the skin ellipse measures approximately 8 ± 2 cm vertically and 30 ± 5 cm transversely. After making the skin incision, a feathering technique is used in all directions through the fatty layer overlying the latissimus and in the tissue beyond the anteroposterior borders of the latissimus (not beyond 5 cm from the skin incision). By means of feathering, the shape of a breast mound can be created in the allowable tissue supported by the latissimus. A 180-degree rotation of the flap allows dependent venous drainage and more bulk in the inferior outer quadrant, where it is needed. In the current series of 47 modified autogenous latissimus breast reconstructions, seromas were common. Other complications included one wound infection, one ulnar neuropraxia, and one fat necrosis. There were no flap necroses (partial or complete) or hematomas. The rarity of complications supports the use of this technique in selected patients. An innovative new technique for nipple reconstruction is also described. The “box top technique” of nipple reconstruction consists of four deepithelialized local flaps covered with a skin graft from the groin. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 106: 763, 2000.)
From the Division of Plastic Surgery at Loyola University Medical Center.
Received for publication March 23, 1999;
revised December 28, 1999.
Michael A. Horn, M.D. 2800 N. Sheridan Suite 504 Chicago, Ill. 60657 MichaelAHornMD@aol.com