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imageBackground
The use of various latissimus dorsi (LD) flap types in combination with implants is a safe and reliable 1-stage breast reconstruction method. However, 1 or more positional changes are generally required during the procedure. We designed a vertical skin paddle that was centered along the midaxillary line and harvested the required LD muscle amount based on the thoracodorsal artery descending branch, thereby completing flap elevation, inset, and donor-site closure in the supine position following skin-sparing mastectomy.
Methods
Between July 2017 and September 2017, we enrolled patients who underwent breast reconstruction using the vertical muscle-sparing LD (ms-LD) flap with an implant. The vertical ms-LD flap was selected when the nipple-areolar complex could not be spared or when adjuvant radiation therapy was anticipated.
Results
Eleven patients were enrolled in the study. All patients underwent skin-sparing mastectomy (with excision of the nipple-areolar complex for oncological reason). The mean mastectomy specimen weight was 402.3 g. The average flap length and width were 15.2 and 5.5 cm, respectively. The mean implant size was 290 mL. The average operative time was 112 minutes. All surgical procedures were performed in the supine position, and the flap reached the most medial part of the breast without any tension in all cases. The mean follow-up length was 87 days, and no complications such as infection, partial flap loss, or donor-site seroma were observed.
Conclusions
Vertical ms-LD flaps can be harvested and utilized in direct-to-implant reconstructions when a skin paddle (or banking) is required, or when acellular dermal matrix use is precluded, or when additional soft tissue coverage is mandatory in high-risk patients not requiring intraoperative position changes. This technique can shorten the operation time and may reduce donor-site morbidity and associated complications.

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