A Personal Account of the LD Reconstruction
When I asked some ladies who have had breast cancer for their stories to
share, a lady responded and said she’d be happy to share her account of the LD
(latimuss dorsi – back flap) reconstruction.
However, the more I spoke with her, the more her story became very
interesting because she’s had cancer twice and it’s been different each
time. I knew that could happen but had
never heard of it actually happening to anybody. It doesn’t necessarily mean that if the
cancer comes back it will be a more aggressive type and it just seems to be “pot
luck” or “pot unlucky” as to what you get.
Anyway, this lovely lady has been through the mill but does have a happy
Here is her story:
Well this is my journey and I hope it helps somebody who's looking for
some information about the LD reconstruction.
In November 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer in my right
breast. The cancer was Grade 3 and HER2+. I was told that I could have a lumpectomy
which I was very relieved about and I had the lumpectomy first followed by
chemotherapy, radiotherapy and then, because it was HER2+, I had 18 treatments
of Herceptin. In 2009, the Herceptin
treatments were given by drip but I think it’s now given as injections. So all in all, my treatment lasted a little
over 18 months. In November 2011 I had a
mammogram and that was all clear. I was
then discharged by the Oncology Team and referred to the Breast Unit to have
regular check ups.
My first appointment with the Breast Unit was in May 2012 and they found
a lump in my left breast. This time, it
was Grade 3 (the same as before) but it was Triple Negative and not HER2+. I was
referred back to Oncology and they gave me the choice of a lumpectomy or
mastectomy to that breast. I decided to
have a single mastectomy because I really didn’t want to go through everything
again. We discussed all reconstruction
options but I didn’t have enough fat on my tummy area for the DIEP
reconstruction and I was told that although I could have implants, there was
less chance of rejection and my breast would have a more natural feel/look if I
had the LD reconstruction and nipple reconstruction at the same time (using the
skin from my back as well). I have never
been offered tattooed nipples but I’m quite happy with my reconstructed ones so
that’s not a problem for me.
The operation took 6 hours and when I woke up, I was in pain for a few
days but this did get better. For the
first day or two, it’s really important to keep the breast area warm (to aid
the blood supply) so the nurses put a special heat blanket on me. I also had 3 drains in the breast that were
draining the fluid away and the fluid reduced significantly over the next 5
days. I was discharged from hospital
after 5 days and went home. I had to
wear a soft bra for 6 weeks (all day and all night) to help with the healing
process and I wasn’t too uncomfortable but sleeping was a bit difficult so my
husband temporarily moved into the spare room.
Some ladies find a V shaped pillow helpful for support (the type used
In January 2015 I made the decision to go back and have a mastectomy on
my right side (the side that had the HER2+ cancer). I made this decision because I wanted to be
in control before any new cancer made the decision for me.
This operation took a little longer than the first mastectomy and was 7
hours but I recovered very well afterwards.
I was given an injection in my back during the operation which really
with the pain management.
Both scars on my back are covered by my bra (not everybody’s scar will
be hidden by their bra because of their anatomy as it can be above or below the
bra line). As this procedure uses the
muscle from the back, it’s fairly common that patients can have some
restriction or pain in the back area as an ongoing issue. I do get uncomfortable sometimes in my back
area but I have absolutely no regrets and am now over 4 years clear.