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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Nov;130(5 Suppl 2):57S-66S. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31825f05b4.

The use of acellular dermal matrices in two-stage expander/implant reconstruction: a multicenter, blinded, randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.



Current efficacy data supporting the routine use of acellular dermal matrices in postmastectomy tissue expander/implant reconstruction are limited. A multicenter, blinded, randomized controlled study was designed to evaluate the effectiveness of acellular dermal matrix in the setting of tissue expander/implant reconstruction. The primary objective of the study was to determine whether the use of matrix would decrease patient-reported postoperative pain. The secondary objective was to determine whether its use would accelerate the rate of postoperative expansion.


The randomized controlled trial was conducted at two U.S. centers from 2008 to 2011. Immediately following mastectomy, all patients were randomized to one of two treatment arms: (1) acellular dermal matrix-assisted, tissue expander/implant reconstruction; and (2) submuscular tissue expander/implant placement. All patients were blinded to their treatment arm.


One hundred eight consented to participate; 38 were excluded prior to randomization. In total, 70 patients were randomized. There were no differences seen in immediate postoperative pain (p = 0.19) or pain during the expansion phase (p = 0.65) between treatment arms. There was similarly no difference in postoperative narcotic use (p = 0.38). The rate of postoperative expansion did not differ between groups (p = 0.83).


The results suggest that the use of acellular dermal matrix in the setting of tissue expander/implant reconstruction neither reduces postoperative pain nor accelerates the rate of postoperative expansion. An examination of its efficacy in improving long-term outcomes following tissue expander/implant reconstruction is warranted.


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