Comparison of acellular dermal matrix and synthetic mesh for lateral chest wall reconstruction in a rabbit model

Luther H. Holton, Thomas Chung, Ronald P. Silverman, Hafez Haerian, Nelson H. Goldberg, Whitney M. Burrows, Andrea Gobin, Charles E. Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Synthetic mesh is used for chest wall reconstruction, but infection or exposure can occur and necessitate removal. Human acellular dermal matrix (AlloDerm) has been used to reconstruct musculofascial defects in the trunk with low infection and herniation rates. AlloDerm may have advantages over synthetic mesh for chest wall reconstruction. This study compared outcomes and repair strengths of AlloDerm to expanded polytetrafluoroethylene mesh used for repair of rib cage defects. METHODS: A 3 × 3-cm, full-thickness, lateral rib cage defect was created in each rabbit and repaired with expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (n = 8) or acellular dermal matrix (n = 9). At 4 weeks, the animals were euthanized and evaluated for lung herniation/dehiscence, strength of adhesions between the implant and intrapleural structures, and breaking strength of the implant materials and the implant-fascia interface. Tissue sections were analyzed with histologic and immunohistochemical staining to evaluate cellular infiltration and vascularization. RESULTS: No herniation or dehiscence occurred with either material. The incidence and strength of adhesions was similar between materials. The mean breaking strength of the AlloDerm-fascia interface (14.5 ± 8.9 N) was greater than the expanded polytetrafluoroethylene-fascia interface (8.7 ± 4.4 N; p = 0.027) and similar to the rib-intercostal-rib interface of the contralateral native chest wall (14.0 ± 5.6 N). The AlloDerm grafts became infiltrated with cells and vascularized after implantation. CONCLUSIONS: AlloDerm used for chest wall reconstruction results in greater implant-defect interface strength than expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. The ability of AlloDerm to become vascularized and remodeled by autologous cells and to resist infection may be advantageous for chest wall reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1238-1246
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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