What Is AlloDerm?
AlloDerm is an acellular dermal matrix (ADM) brand that is manufactured by LifeCell and is frequently used in the following procedures:
- Breast Reconstruction: AlloDerm is commonly utilized in breast reconstruction procedures following a mastectomy. It provides support and helps shape the reconstructed breast.
- Facial Reconstruction: It may be used in facial reconstructive surgery to repair defects, such as those resulting from trauma, surgery, or congenital conditions.
- Hernia Repair: AlloDerm can be used in hernia repair surgeries to reinforce weakened or damaged tissue.
- Wound Care: In some cases, AlloDerm aids wound healing, particularly for complex or chronic wounds.
What Are Acellular Dermal Matrices (ADMs)?
Acellular dermal matrices are sheets of dehydrated tissue. During the development process, the dermal matrix is specially treated to remove immunogenic materials, such as sweat glands, smooth muscle, fibroblasts, and the vascular endothelium.
After it has been thoroughly treated, the ADM can be used in a variety of procedures, including those mentioned previously. The sheets offer additional support during breast reconstruction procedures and provide a scaffold for the patient’s cells to repopulate and revascularize implanted tissue.
What Happens During an AlloDerm Procedure?
What can you expect if you decide to undergo a breast reconstruction with AlloDerm?
This procedure can be done using either a one- or two-step process. Here’s a quick breakdown of the two options:
During the two-step procedure, a new breast is created with the help of a tissue expander (a temporary, saline-filled implant). The tissue expander is stabilized with help from the AlloDerm tissue, which gets sewn into the body from the pectoralis major (the biggest muscle in the chest) into the chest wall.
Once the AlloDerm tissue has been sewn in place, the breast skin will grow into the tissue, forming an extra layer between the implant and the breast’s surface. It’s positioned so that it provides the proper shape and foundation for the implant. About 12-24 weeks after the skin has expanded sufficiently, the permanent implant can be inserted, and it will be supported by the AlloDerm tissue.
During the one-step procedure, the AlloDerm tissue is sewn to the chest muscle, providing support for the implant (it functions similar to a hammock). The AlloDerm helps to make the space for the implant larger, allowing it to be inserted more easily and without an expander.
The single-step procedure typically works best for those with small or medium-sized breasts and healthy skin tissue, as well as those who are having mastectomies in the early stages of their cancer. People who are undergoing preventative mastectomies because they are at a high risk of developing breast cancer are also good candidates.
History of AlloDerm
AlloDerm was initially introduced in 1994. At the time, it was principally used as a treatment for full-thickness burns.
Since then, Alloderm has been used extensively in plastic and reconstructive surgery, including in over 3 million grafts and implants.
Over the years, there have been several advancements in ADM technology, with improvements in processing techniques and the development of various formulations to enhance clinical outcomes. The field of regenerative medicine continues to evolve, and research is ongoing to develop more advanced tissue-engineering solutions.
Is AlloDerm Safe?
AlloDerm is generally considered to be a very safe option for those undergoing breast reconstruction (as well as other medical procedures like those mentioned above). It’s also the most thoroughly studied ADM in breast reconstruction and has over 130 references in the PubMed database.
When considering the safety of AlloDerm, it’s important to remember that all tissue donors are carefully screened, and those who may have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and other pathogens are excluded.
The tissue is also processed, and all cellular components are removed (hence the term acellular dermal matrix), which virtually eliminates the risk of the body rejecting it. AlloDerm is thoroughly sterilized to a Sterility Assurance Level of 10-3. It complies with the most recent domestic standards to maintain the highest level of sterility.
The risk of infection after going through the AlloDerm procedure is generally low. While there is always a potential risk associated with any surgical procedure, healthcare professionals take several measures to minimize the risk of infection, including prescribing antibiotics post-surgery.
Why Should I Get a Breast Reconstruction with AlloDerm?
AlloDerm breast reconstruction offers numerous benefits. The following are some of the top reasons to consider this procedure:
- Increased support for breast implants
- Reduced visibility of breast implants
- Better breast fold definition
- Better skin reinforcement and reduced risk of thinning
- Reduced risk of pectoral muscle retraction
- Supports revascularization, white cell migration, and cellular repopulation, allowing the implanted matrix to remodel into your own tissue
- Allows greater control over the implant position, helping you achieve the specific breast shape and size you want
Put simply, AlloDerm is a good option for many people because it supports the weight of a permanent implant while also creating a smoother and more natural-looking breast contour. AlloDerm can also maintain the position of a future implant after an expander is removed. Some have described it as an “internal bra” that holds the implant in place while preserving the natural breast borders and folds. It also helps cover up edges or ripples that might be visible through thin, delicate skin.
Where Can I See the Results of AlloDerm Breast Reconstruction?
The Tampa Bay area is one of the best places to see the results of AlloDerm breast reconstruction.
Doctor Eric Egozi consistently delivers exquisite results from a variety of procedures, including AlloDerm breast reconstruction. If you live in the following locations, you have easy access to Dr. Egozi and his expertise:
- Pinellas County
- St. Petersburg
- Pinellas Park
- Palm Harbor
Dr. Egozi is certified by the American Board of Surgery – General and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He has been practicing in the Tampa Bay area since 2005 and has been a solo practitioner since 2014.
Do you have any lingering questions about the AlloDerm procedure? Are you still on the fence about whether or not
AlloDerm breast reconstruction is right for you? If so, check out the answers to these frequently asked questions below:
What is AlloDerm made of?
An AlloDerm implant is made from human cadaver skin — specifically collagen, elastin, and laminin, all of which are proteins that provide structure to the skin as well as other tissues of the body. During the AlloDerm production process, a high-ionic strength solution is used to separate the epidermis (the top layer of the skin) from the dermis. Sodium deoxycholate is then used to remove the dermal cells. From here, the tissue is freeze-dried and later rehydrated in the operating room before it is applied.
Is AlloDerm graft permanent?
No. AlloDerm is not considered to be a permanent graft.
Can your body reject AlloDerm?
The risk of your body rejecting AlloDerm is minimal. AlloDerm is thoroughly processed to remove cellular components, which reduces the likelihood of an immune response because the components that typically trigger rejection are no longer present.
However, like any medical procedure or implant, the body’s individual response may vary. While the risk of rejection is low, there may still be complications or adverse reactions in rare cases. Consult your provider to evaluate your risks and determine whether or not you’re a good candidate.
Is AlloDerm permanent?
AlloDerm is not considered a permanent implant. It acts as a scaffold that supports tissue regeneration.
Over time, the patient’s own cells will populate the AlloDerm matrix and incorporate it into their tissue. AlloDerm provides initial structural support, but it eventually goes through a process of integrating with the patient’s existing tissues. The longevity of AlloDerm’s effects depends on the specific procedure and the patient’s individual healing and tissue regeneration capabilities.
Is AlloDerm a human tissue?
Yes. AlloDerm is made from donated human cadaver tissue.
How long does AlloDerm last?
The results from an AlloDerm procedure can last for several years. Because the implant gradually becomes a natural part of the body, it provides a long-lasting natural look and feel. Research supports the argument that AlloDerm is a safe and long-lasting option. For example, a 12-year follow-up with one patient showed that graft volume was retained and integrated with minimal capsule formation and little to no sign of inflammation.
Schedule an AlloDerm Procedure in the Tampa Bay Area
AlloDerm can be used in breast reconstruction to provide additional support and yield better results for patients.
Now that you know more about AlloDerm and its benefits, efficacy, and safety, are you interested in this procedure for yourself? If you’re located in or around Pinellas County, the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg, Largo, Dunedin, Pinellas Park, or Palm Harbor, we’re here to assist you at Egozi Plastic Surgery. Contact us today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.