Latissimus dorsi flap limitations?

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Question from LM Smith: I had a bilateral mastectomy two years ago. I had a consultation with a plastic surgeon who recommended the latissimus dorsi flap. I am a pianist and am concerned about back weakness or changes in my ability to play. Are you aware of any limitations with this type of surgery?
Answers - Carolyn Chang With any tissue, you are taking muscle from another site, so you will have some weakness in that area with a bilateral mastectomy. If your surgeon has recommended bilateral reconstruction with back flap, then for everyday activity I would not expect a huge limitation. However, when it's people who are very specialized or who do very competitive sports, I would anticipate that their strength would change. With bilateral mastectomies, however, if there has not been any radiation, oftentimes implants are really the best choice. I would definitely speak to your plastic surgeon about your concerns.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Reconstruction and Safe, Sexy Cosmetics featured Carolyn C. Chang, M.D., Anna-Dee Rinehart, S.C.S., and moderator Lillie Shockney, R.N., B.S., M.A.S. answering your questions about reconstructive surgery and safe, sexy cosmetics.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in April 2005.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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