Septal perforation repair with acellular human dermal allograft

R W Kridel, H Foda, K C Lunde
Archives of Otolaryngology—Head & Neck Surgery 1998, 124 (1): 73-8

BACKGROUND: Connective tissue autografts are commonly used as interpositional grafts between septal flaps in the repair of septal perforations. The most common graft materials used include temporalis fascia and pericranium, both of which are accompanied by donor site morbidity, do not provide septal bulk, and are exceedingly thin and difficult to manage.

OBJECTIVE: To study the use of an acellular human dermal allograft (AlloDerm, LifeCell Corp, The Woodlands, Tex) as a connective tissue interpositional graft in septal perforation repair.

SETTING: Private facial plastic surgery and reconstructive practice of 1 of the authors (R.W.H.K.), Houston, Tex, and the private and university practice of another author (H.F.), Alexandria, Egypt.

PATIENTS: Twelve consecutive patients with septal perforation who received the acellular dermal allograft constituted this evaluation. The causes of the septal perforations were previous nasal surgery, previous nasal cautery, or cocaine use by the patient.

DESIGN: Interposition grafting between mucoperichondrial flaps for septal perforation repair was accomplished with decellularized human dermal grafts. Follow-up periods ranged from 3 to 14 months.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The repair was considered successful when, on postoperative examination at 3 months, the right and left mucoperichondrial flaps were entirely healed. From the experience of 1 author (R.W.H.K.) with the repair of more than 75 septal perforations, no perforation that was healed at 3 months broke down at a later date, unless trauma or cocaine use occurred after the operation. An outcome was considered acceptable but nondesirable if a perforation was still present after the operation but the number and severity of the patient's symptoms were reduced and the perforation was considerably smaller than before the operation.

RESULTS: Eleven of the 12 patients had successful outcomes with complete closure of their perforations. The 1 remaining patient had an acceptable result but incomplete closure; his initial perforation of 3 cm was reduced to 5 mm, making him asymptomatic after surgery.

CONCLUSION: Acellular human dermal grafts can be used as connective tissue interpositional grafts in the repair of septal perforations with success rates similar to the use of temporalis fascia, mastoid periosteum, or pericranium. One distinct advantage is the absence of donor-site morbidity. In addition, this graft material is thicker and easier to place and suture and may give more substance to the repaired septum.

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