For 15 years, the latissimus dorsi muscle has enjoyed a consistent reputation with reconstructive surgeons as a reliable pedicle or free flap transferred with or without a skin island. Previous laboratory investigation has dehneated the neurovascular intramuscular anatomy.
The segmental latissimus transfer makes use of the intramuscular anatomy such that a lateral segment of the muscle is denervated and transferred with the thoracodorsal vascular pedicle while the medial segment of the muscle remains in situ innervated normally and perfused by the dorsal perforating branches of the ninth, tenth, and eleventh intercostal vessels.
In this article we report our results using segmental free flap transfer of the latissimus dorsi muscle in 11 patients. Electromyographic studies have been performed more than a year postoperatively to document the function of the residual latissimus left in situ. Our clinical observations show that the segmental free transfer of the latissimus dorsi muscle can be accomplished with little risk in those situations not requiring the entire muscle, and that the portion of the muscle not transferred continues to function well and improves the contour of the back.
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