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Surg Radiol Anat. 2011 Nov;33(9):751-4. doi: 10.1007/s00276-011-0812-z. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

Does the Latissimus dorsi insert on the iliac crest in man? Anatomic and ontogenic study.

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Anatomie, Faculté de Médecine Paris-Diderot, Paris VII et Service de Chirurgie Maxillofaciale et Stomatologie, Hôpital Beaujon, APHP, Paris, France.



The Latissimus dorsi muscle is usually considered as inserted on the iliac crest, but it is separated from it by the thoracolumbar fascia. In our experience based on the harvesting of pedicled Latissimus dorsi flaps to cover cervicofacial loss of substances, we have found that in some cases, the muscular fibers of the anterior border of the muscle are directly inserted on the iliac crest. In these cases, the harvesting of the flap could be more distal.


To determine whether this direct muscular insertion is frequent or not, we performed dissections on 30 fresh cadavers of the lower insertion of the Latissimus dorsi muscle, and 6 dissections of human fetuses to study the ontogeny of these insertions.


The Latissimus dorsi muscle presented direct muscular insertions on the iliac crest in 13.33% of cases. The fetal dissections showed that before 30 weeks of development, the anterior part of the muscle was directly inserted on the iliac crest, and after it was separated from it by the thoracolumbar fascia. Although the harvesting of the Latissimus dorsi in continuity with the thoracolumbar fascia has been described in pedicled flaps, it is usually considered that it is impossible to harvest Latissimus dorsi musculocutaneous flaps in contact with the iliac crest, because there are no perforating vessels from the thoracolumbar fascia to the skin. According to our results, in some cases, it could be possible to harvest a pedicled musculo-cutaneous LD flap more distal that it is usually described.

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