Background: Human acellular dermal matrix (HADM) and non-cross-linked porcine acellular dermal matrix (ncl-PADM) are clinically useful for complex ventral hernia repair. Direct comparisons between the two in vivo are lacking, however. This study compared clinically relevant early outcomes with these bioprosthetic materials when used for ventral hernia repair. Methods: Seventy-two guinea pigs underwent inlay repair of surgically created hernias with HADM (n = 37) or ncl-PADM (n = 35). Repair sites were harvested at 1, 2, or 4 weeks postoperatively. Adhesions were graded and quantified. Mechanical testing and histologic and immunohistologic (factor VIII) analyses of cellular and vascular infiltration were performed. Results: No infections or recurrent hernias occurred. No difference was observed in mean adhesion surface area or tenacity between groups. Mean cellular infiltration (p < 0.002, weeks 1 and 4; p < 0.006, week 2) and vascular infiltration (p < 0.0003, week 1; p < 0.0001, weeks 2 and 4) were greater in HADM. Ultimate tensile strength at the implant-musculofascia interface increased over time with both materials, but no difference was observed at 4 weeks. The mean ultimate tensile strength of explanted ncl-PADM itself was consistently greater than that of HADM. The elastic modulus (stiffness) did not differ between groups at the interface but was greater in explanted ncl-PADM (p < 0.0001, weeks 1 and 2; p < 0.02, week 4). Conclusions: Both HADM and ncl-PADM become infiltrated with host cells and blood vessels within 4 weeks and have similar musculofascia-bioprosthetic interface strength. However, HADM has greater cellular and vascular infiltration. Longer-term studies will help determine whether later differences in material strength, stiffness, and remodeling affect hernia and/or bulge incidence.
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