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Reminder of important clinical lesson
Full thickness burn to a latissimus dorsi flap donor site due to a heat pad – there is still a need to improve patient information
  1. Rhiannon Foulkes,
  2. Louise Davidson,
  3. Christopher Gateley
  1. Royal Gwent Hospital, Newport, UK
  1. Correspondence to Miss Rhiannon Foulkes, FoulkesRE{at}


The goal of breast reconstruction is an excellent cosmetic outcome, while minimising the risk of complications and donor site morbidity. The authors report a patient who sustained a thermal injury from a heat pad to the donor site of a latissimus dorsi reconstruction. The insensate nature of the donor site secondary to harvesting the flap, had failed to alert her to the tissue damage and this resulted in a third degree burn. Her burn was managed conservatively with dressings and left to heal by secondary intention with associated scarring. Currently patient information leaflets warn against using heat pads, prolonged contact with hot objects and sun exposure to a breast reconstruction. The authors believe this should be extended to include the donor sites, to prevent any more unnecessary thermal injuries in these ladies in the future.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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