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Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Nov;130(5 Suppl 2):35S-43S. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31825eff7a.

A systematic review of acelluar dermal matrices in head and neck reconstruction.

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Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.



The use of acellular dermal matrices has been well described in the scientific literature since the early 1990 s and has been utilized for multiple applications in the head and neck for both aesthetic and reconstructive efforts.


After systematically searching the PubMed database and following further refinement (based on the authors' inclusion and exclusion criteria), the authors identified 30 studies that provided information about patients who had undergone head and neck reconstruction with the use of acellular dermal matrix. Studies had to report quantifiable objective results in patients who were older than 1 year and younger than 90 years. The authors excluded single case reports, studies with fewer than 10 patients, and studies not published in English.


The optimal material used as an implant for reconstruction possesses the following properties: facilitation of vascular ingrowth, decreased propensity to incite inflammation, biologic inertness, resistance to infection, and ease of handling. Acellular dermal matrix possesses many of these properties and is utilized in reconstructing nasal soft tissue and skeletal support, tympanic membrane, periorbital soft tissue, extraoral and intraoral defects, oropharyngeal defects, dura mater, and soft-tissue deficits from parotidectomy. Furthermore, it is used to assist in preventing Frey syndrome following parotidectomy and surgical treatment of facial paralysis.


Use of acellular dermal matrix for head and neck reconstruction has expanded exponentially and is validated in many studies. Further prospective randomized control trials are warranted to further investigate the efficacy of acellular dermal matrix in head and neck reconstruction.

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