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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2013 Oct;66(10):1376-81. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2013.05.018. Epub 2013 Jun 20.

Human acellular dermal matrix (AlloDerm®) dimensional changes and stretching in tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction.

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  • 1Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA.



Human acellular dermal matrix (HADM) is widely used for post-mastectomy tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction. Since HADM has been shown to stretch following placement in other surgical settings, we hypothesised that stretching would occur in breast reconstruction as well. The goal of the study was to quantify the in situ stretch properties of HADM over time in patients undergoing this procedure.


This was an open-label, prospective case series in adult women who underwent post-mastectomy tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction using HADM. HADM construct size was determined at postoperative day 1 and month 3 via ultrasound tracking of metallic 3-mm vessel clips embedded in the graft. Dimensional changes were further examined in four equally sized segments (medial, lateral and two central) of the matrix. Patient satisfaction was evaluated at month 3 (a modified version of the Breast Q™ patient questionnaire) and compared with satisfaction reported by a non-HADM reconstruction cohort.


A total of 31 patients underwent breast reconstruction with HADM. Mean (standard deviation) perimeter increased from 38 (6) cm on postoperative day 1-42 (7) cm at month 3 (+11%; P=0.002). Surface area increased from 73 (22) to 88 (28) cm2 (+21%; range, 4-35%; P=0.002). The greatest expansion occurred in the HADM medial and lateral segments (range, 18-30% across the four segments). Patient satisfaction was comparable with that of non-HADM patients. Complications in the HADM group included late seroma, red breast syndrome and urinary tract infection. Complications in the non-HADM cohort included cellulitis, expander explantation, delayed wound healing and skin necrosis.


During short-term follow-up, HADM exhibited a modest degree of stretching during tissue expander/implant breast reconstruction and was associated with few complications and a high level of patient satisfaction.

Copyright © 2013 British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


AlloDerm; Breast reconstruction; Human acellular dermal matrix; Tissue expansion

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