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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2014 Mar;133(3):700-7. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000438047.91139.d5.

Reinforcement of the abdominal wall following breast reconstruction with abdominal flaps: a comparison of synthetic and biological mesh.

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  • 1Washington, D.C. From the Department of Plastic Surgery, Georgetown University Hospital.



Breast reconstruction using muscle-preserving abdominal flaps occasionally results in an abdominal bulge or hernia. The authors analyzed outcomes and complications following use of a synthetic or biological mesh for abdominal reinforcement following initial harvest or secondary repair of a bulge or hernia.


A retrospective review was conducted of all patients (n = 818) who had abdominal flap-based breast reconstruction between 1995 and 2011. Ninety-seven patients met inclusion criteria; 61 had synthetic mesh and 36 had biological mesh (porcine acellular dermal matrix). Complications and outcomes were reviewed. Statistical analysis was performed to determine contributing factors and differences between cohorts.


Overall complication rates for the synthetic and biological cohorts were 6.5 and 5.5 percent (p = 0.61), respectively, with slightly higher bulge rates in patients with synthetic compared with biological mesh (18 percent versus 8.3 percent; p = 0.25). Complication rates in primary and secondary placement of synthetic mesh were 5 and 7.3 percent, respectively; bulge rates were 15 and 19.5 percent, respectively. Complication rates in primary and secondary placement of biological mesh were 6.3 and 0 percent, respectively; bulge rates were 9.4 and 0 percent, respectively.


Synthetic and biological mesh reconstruction for primary abdominal repair and secondary contouring have similar, low complication rates. Postoperative abdominal wall laxity and bulge occurred in an equal distribution following unilateral or bilateral flap reconstruction. Early investigation demonstrates that porcine acellular dermal matrix is as effective as synthetic mesh for abdominal wall reinforcement and repair, with limited morbidity associated with each.


Therapeutic, III.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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