JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Use of human acellular dermal matrix in complex and contaminated abdominal wall reconstructions.

BACKGROUND: Few good surgical options exist for the repair of complex anterior abdominal wall defects, particularly those in which bacterial contamination is present. The use of prosthetic mesh increases complication rates when the mesh is placed directly over viscera or when the surgical site is contaminated from a pre-existing infection or enteric spillage. The use of an acellular dermal matrix (ADM), which becomes vascularized and remodeled into autologous tissue after implantation, may represent a low-morbidity alternative to prosthetic mesh products in these complex settings. This study examined our experience with ADM in the reconstruction of contaminated abdominal wall defects.

METHODS: Patients undergoing abdominal wall reconstructions in the face of contamination with ADM between May 2002 and December 2005 underwent retrospective chart review. Demographics, indications for ADM placement, plane of implantation, complications, and follow-up data were evaluated.

RESULTS: Sixty-seven patients were identified. The indications for ADM placement included incarcerated hernias, infected mesh, fistulae, early/delayed abdominal wall reconstruction after intra-abdominal catastrophe or trauma, dehiscence/evisceration, and spillage of enteric contents. The ADM was positioned either above the fascia or beneath the fascia or was sutured directly to the fascial edges. Sixteen patients developed a wound infection; the majority of these were superficial and required only local wound care, 5 required some further surgical intervention, and 2 required removal of the ADM. Twelve patients developed recurrent hernias. The mean follow-up time for the study population was 10.6 months.

CONCLUSIONS: ADM can be used safely and effectively as an alternative to traditional mesh products for abdominal wall reconstructions, even in the setting of contaminated fields.

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