Any swimmers who had an LD Flap Reconstruction, ie one of lats removed?

I used to be an active swimmer and although my competing days are over more than decade ago, I still do enjoy occasional swim and before dx was hoping to participate in triathlon this simmer (only swimming bit in relay).
After long consideration I’ve decided on LD reconstruction with the implant but I suddenly realized (my memory is like drain nowadays!!!) that latissimus dorsi muscles play an important role in many swimming styles. Does it mean that after an operation I won’t be able to do freestyle, butterfly or breaststroke at all or just my strengths will be impaired?

Hi Foxychick
I’m not a water baby so cannot comment on swimming, but I had LD reconstruction in Nov. 2007 and now I can do almost everything I could before. The first few weeks were difficult, even holding a cup of tea seemed to pull but it soon heals and with exercise all the strength and mobility returns. I’m sure you will be able to do all the strokes eventually, but you will need to keep up with the exercises for the freestyle and butterfly, just take it easy don’t rush to do too much too soon. Your body will tell you how far you can go and you will get there, as I say, three months on and apart from a bit of stiffness along the scar on my back I feel great.
Go for it. Good luck

Hi Foxychick,

I had an LD operation and swimming is no problem - freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke. I haven’t even noticed any loss in speed or power so I presume that the other muscles are compensating. I never could do the butterfly so I can’t comment on that one.

My plastic surgeon said that the only effect of the LD operation would be that I would never be an Olympic cross-country skier (so I assume downhill, slalom and ski jumping would all be okay !!!). You haven’t got any Olympic skiing plans have you?

Best wishes,


Nope! :)) Never had any plans to become Olympic cross-country skier. Last time I’ve done cross country skiing was at the age of 10!!!
Thanks for reassurance, Sue. I began to really worry about not being able to do freestyle stroke. As for butterfly, well, I can leave without, I haven’t got enough strengths nowadays with all the muscles intact! :slight_smile:

Abismum, thank you too! I’ve booked for an operation this Thursday as St Tomas’ hospital and really need the all re-assurance I can get, it is very frightening to wait! I have to concentrate on positive stuff!

Very glad to see these replies - I had thought that if I have a reconstruction I would not be able to go for the LD flap because of swimming.

mine told me rock climbing was off the menu too!!!

RoadRunner, if you hang on for a while I’ll let you know how I get on! :))

I was told by my surgeon following LD reconstruction that swimming is good exercise especially breast stroke but dont start to early after surgery.

I am still considering going down the recon route and am needing that recon where they use your back muscle so I think its the same one you are all talking about, I didnt know the name of it LOL.

I am a horse owner/rider and am scared of its effects on my riding and horse care etc.

Some reasuring words heard here though which is great the more the better.