Reduction of adhesions with composite AlloDerm/polypropylene mesh implants for abdominal wall reconstruction

Charles E. Butler, Victor G. Prieto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


Ventral hernia repair often includes the use of structural prosthetic materials, such as polypropylene mesh, that can induce dense abdominal adhesions to peritoneal structures. AlloDerm (LifeCell Corp., Branchburg, N.J.), a commercially available decellularized human dermal analogue with its native basement membrane components intact, is gradually revascularized and replaced with autologous tissue after implantation. The authors hypothesized that AlloDerm integrated with polypropylene mesh would reduce adhesions and provide a biodegradable scaffold to generate an autologous vascularized tissue layer separating the abdominal viscera from the mesh. Ventral hernia defects (3 × 1 cm) in 19 guinea pigs were repaired using an inlay technique with polypropylene mesh alone (n = 6) or with composite implants constructed by integrating polypropylene mesh and AlloDerm with its basement membrane surface oriented toward (polypropylene/AlloIn, n = 7) or away from (polypropylene/ AlloOut, n = 6) the peritoneal cavity. At 4 weeks, the authors determined the amount of mesh implant surface area covered by adhesions, the strength of the adhesions [graded from 0 (none) to 3], and the incidence of bowel adhesions. Histologic analyses were performed on full-thickness tissue sections from the repair sites. The mean surface areas affected by adhesions and mean adhesion strength were significantly lower in the polypropylene/AlloIn (area, 12.4 percent; mean grade, 1.0) and polypropylene/AlloOut (area, 9.5 percent; mean grade, 0.5) groups than in the polypropylene group (area, 79.5 percent; mean grade, 2.9); there were no such differences between the polypropylene/AlloIn and polypropylene/AlloOut groups. The bowel was adherent to 67 percent of polypropylene repairs and 0 percent of the composite mesh repairs. The AlloDerm was remodeled to form a vascularized tissue layer beneath the mesh in composite repairs, unlike the significantly thinner, dense scar layer that formed in the polypropylene repairs. Immunohistochemical labeling for factor VIII showed neovascularization throughout the AlloDerm. The AlloDerm thus functioned as a biodegradable tissue scaffold, guiding the formation of a thick, well-vascularized tissue layer separating the polypropylene mesh from intraperitoneal structures. This significantly reduced both the amount of surface area covered by adhesions and adhesion strength. Basement membrane orientation had no effect. Composite mesh implants composed of structural prosthetic materials integrated with AlloDerm may have useful clinical applications for abdominal wall reconstruction by reducing adhesions and providing a vascularized tissue layer to separate and protect the peritoneal structures from polypropylene mesh fibers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-473
Number of pages10
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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