Seroma is the most frequent minor complication after harvesting latissimus dorsi flap for breast reconstruction. It induces patient's discomfort and multiple consultations for punctions. The dead space resulting from the harvest has to be closed by the "quilting suture" in order to prevent the seroma. Our aim is to evaluate the efficiency and the tolerance of the quilting suture by comparing two groups of 100 patients who had a breast reconstruction by the same technic of extended latissimus dorsi flap, performed by the same surgeon, from 2004 to 2007. Half of patients had the classic way of dorsal closure, and the other half of patients had the dorsal quilting suture.
Patients and methods: In order to compare the two groups we have collected data concerning age, body mass index (BMI), tobacco use, postoperative complications, number and volume of punctions, draining time and postoperative pain. The efficiency of the quilting suture lies on a rigorous repartition of at least six sutures on the upper skin flap, 12 on the lower skin flap and under the skin suture line. The suture model is based on the one used for the Chippendale-designed sofa. We suture the skin flap while pushing down the shoulder, in order to split the skin tension and avoid traction on the final skin suture line. The procedure takes 15 minutes.
Results: The "Chippendale" technic allows to reduce draining time from 12 days to 6 days. The incidence of chronic seroma is reduced by 50%. The dorsal wound healing seems also better thanks to tension reduction resulting from the quilting suture.
Conclusion: The "Chippendale" technic is a quick, cheap and easy learned procedure, efficient for preventing chronic seroma after the latissimus dorsi flap. The postoperative recovery is eased and the patients comforted.
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