The Impact of Breast Reconstruction using the Latissimus Dorsi Muscle on Function and Activities of Daily Living: In-depth Interviews with Women and their Significant Other

Nicole Blackburn, Joseph G McVeigh, Eilis McCaughan, Iseult M. Wilson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Downloads (Pure)


Due to increased survival rates, more women and their families are living with the consequences of breast cancer treatments for longer. Those women who undergo reconstructive surgery following mastectomy may experience more long-term physical side effects compared with those who undergo mastectomy alone. Latissimus dorsi (LD) breast reconstruction is one of the most widely used methods of reconstruction and a common complication following reconstruction, is shoulder dysfunction. The aim of this study, therefore, was to determine the impact of breast reconstruction surgery using the LD muscle, on function and activities of daily living (ADL), from both the woman’s perspective and their identified ‘significant other’. Four dyads were recruited from Charities and special interest groups within Northern Ireland and interviewed separately. The women also completed a demographics questionnaire. The dyad relationships included; a civil partnership, two husband and wife couples and a sister-sister relationship. Inductive content analysis was used to analyse the transcripts and develop core themes and sub-themes. The over-arching theme to emerge from the data was ‘managing expectations’. Three sub-themes emerged from the women’s data: the ‘significance of support’; the ‘relative importance of outcomes’ relating to surgery, and a ‘responsibility for their own aftercare’. Three sub-themes also emerged from the significant others’ data: ‘support and information needs’; ‘managing the home and caretaking’, and ‘adapting to changes’ following surgery. The findings from this study demonstrate that breast reconstruction using the LD muscle has an impact on function and ADL’s for women, with that impact often extending to the wider family.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherSAGE Publications
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016
EventQualitative Health Research - Kelowna, Canada
Duration: 19 Oct 2016 → …


ConferenceQualitative Health Research
Period19/10/16 → …



  • Breast reconstruction
  • LD flap

Cite this