latissimus dorsi flap breast reconstruction

hi my name is Ann I’m 61years of age, i had breast cancer 11years ago, I first went for the implant surgery, which commenced as soon as i had the mascestomy… unfortunately my body rejects the implant, due to the muscle forcing against the Seline sac. after e few attempts and much pain, i left it for 5years until i was fit in body in mind.

upon consultation with many specialist’s i was recommended to have the LATISSIMUS DORSI FLAP RECONSTRUCTION, i was told this would the best option as i was at the time a smoker, i wasn’t informed of any risks, apart from infection. As many off you will understand i just wanted to feel like a real women again, and went ahead with the surgery!

post opp… everything was going great i felt better in myself and was attending PHYSIO, to help with a slight pain in the back and pins and needles in the hand. 12months on i was taken in for a repair to release a nerve in the latissimus dorsi flap muscle, again i started PHYSIO, however this time it all went wrong from here and i have never been the same since, unable to walk to far, loss of movement in shoulder and arm, and severe pain in the back/shoulder blade, along with muscle spasms witch are horrendous!! the only form off pain relief i have is paracetamol due to my IBS, this does not ease the pain! the only thing i can point my finger too is the PHYSIO as it was the same day of my 2nd visit i was in agony, I always remember a very loud click and even the PHYSIO commented on it himself.

I have seen many specialists all which think the surgery looks OK? and are unable to find out why i’m in so much pain, last year i had a further op to release the pressure in my shoulder as after numerous MRI’S i was told i had a slight tear in the tendon… this has not helped me, and feel it was a waste of time, i asked my consultant could i have it taken out or reversed, however he told me he take the the implant out from the front, but he could not put the muscle back in too my back, and i would be left with a saggy piece of skin in the breast area. he also said doing this surgery may not even help me!

recently I have read up on this opp i received i found out so much from other peoples forums, if i knew what the true complications could be i wouldn’t have had the surgery.

PLEASE if anyone else has suffered any problems, or have any answers or treatments which would help me, leave a MSG on my forum or send me a MSG!

Hi Ann,

I am very sorry to hear your story and the pain you experience. Many of us embark on the reconstruction thinking positively and hope for the best, but that does not necessarily guarantee trouble free result or recovery.

Obviously your posting would provide a realistic and useful information for those who are considering the op. I read many posting from ladies who have DIEP & LD recon with complications or went wrong. It was an eye opening to hear the truth and their experience.

At the beginning I was not able to decide the idea of reconstruction. There are so many aspects of it which are so confusing and the huge risks to consider. But I had faith in my PS and went ahead. Fortunately I recovered faster than anticipated without complication. Probably I am just very lucky.

Sounds like you already have several opinions from different consultants. I just wish they can provide immediate relief for you and hope that your problem would be soon resolved.


Hi misspiggy thank you for replying I have only been useing the computer a couple of weeks very nervouse.hope to keep in touch have felt so alone its gone on so long I dont no what to do next. thanks again. ann .

Hi Ann, I hope you are feeling much better. Dont give up, you’ll get there in the end. The road to recovery is not always straight forward. But we understand the anguish when things are not turning out well.

Did your consultant come up with any new idea to easy your pain? Great to see you use your computer and I hope you come back often to join this forum. It is a way to help each other.

Take care and lots of love XXX

Hi Ladies hope you can help me I had a recon last Jan with an implant after having an expander fitted in oct 07 at the same time as I had my mastectomy .It has gone rock hard is painful and PS has advised its removal …I am now having a LD flap and implant !! I am aware that it is quite a lengthy operation and I did consider having nothing done as I am gutted that I have to have another op but ps said I have come this far and it will be a more natural breast than the bloody bowling ball that I am carrying around with me at the mo
I am worried bout infection ,seroma and recovery time as I dont want to have ages off work and cant cope without driving …how long after the op can i drive and when will it feel normal ???

Hi mazaroo
Your story sounds very similar to mine. I had immediate reconstruction with implant that went very hard after a few years. I stupidly didn’t do anything about it and then last June was told that it had ruptured so had to have it removed. It is difficult deciding what surgery to have and weighing up the risks against the benefits. I had my op 9 weeks ago and decided to go for a DIEP flap as I didn’t want another implant. Everyone is different and some will sail through surgery and recovery whilst others take longer. I had a few complications but I’m really pleased with the results - I now have a boob that “wobbles” like my real one rather than being hard and uncomfortable. I was back at work after 7 weeks and could have gone back in 6 weeks, but I had that terrible flu. I was told that if I had the LD op I would be off work about 4 weeks and for the DIEP flap, 8 weeks. You’re not supposed to drive for 6 weeks with the DIEP flap but I’ve read some posts here that others were driving after 3 weeks. Good luck with whatever you decide - and believe me - you’ll feel much better when that rock hard implant has gone!

carole thanx for your reply …I am sure that I have made the rite decision the pain is horrendous at the mo and hard as hell …to get one that wobbles oh the joy …thanx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Hi mazaroo and others I had a Ld recon a year ago and had no complications though it was uncomfortable at times. I was told I could drive when I felt able to though sometimes your insurance company gives advice that you should wait 6 weeks. I drove after 3!

hi holly et al … te only thing that worries me is that I am really skinny !!! so where will he get the muscle from and will I be left with a huge crater on my back …i suppose cos I am having an implant too he will use the muscle to cushion it and hopefully make it a bit more natural just wnt to get it over with as it is getting tighter by the day .thanx for taking the time out to reply xxxxxx