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AlloDerm® in Breast Reconstruction

Released September 2007

AlloDerm® is a patented tissue matrix that was originally developed in 1994 by LifeCell as a graft for burn patients. Since that time, AlloDerm®'s remarkable versatility has led to its use in a host of other reconstructive applications, including facial reconstruction, abdominal wall reconstruction, and more recently, breast reconstruction. AlloDerm® allows surgeons to restore many type of tissue damaged through radiation, injury and disease using the regenerative power of their patients' own body.

AlloDerm® is created from donated human skin. LifeCell’s patented process removes all of the cells from the donated skin, while retaining all of the important biochemical and structural components. This makes AlloDerm® an acellular tissue product which will not result in rejection. Since AlloDerm® is derived from human tissue, there may be a concern that it might harbor disease carrying viruses. However, with more than one-million implants and grafts to date, the safety of AlloDerm® has been proven, as there has never been any evidence of viral disease transmission to any patients. Tissue donors are screened and tested for transmissible diseases, and a comprehensive review of each donor is completed by a medical director before allowing the tissue to be processed.

When placed in the human body, AlloDerm® repairs damaged tissue by providing a foundation for new tissue regeneration. Blood will flow into the preserved vascular channels in AlloDerm® allowing it to be incorporated into the body. As cells move into AlloDerm®, the process of tissue regeneration begins. With progression of the healing process, AlloDerm® is transformed into living tissue that not only resembles your own but also functions like your own.

For patients undergoing mastectomy, AlloDerm® is primarily used in the setting of tissue expander and implant breast reconstruction. In the first stage of reconstruction, AlloDerm® helps to provide coverage of a tissue expander and can help to decrease the number of times expansion is needed. The AlloDerm® serves as an extension of the surrounding soft tissue on the chest, allowing for a more immediate breast contour. In fact, for the right patient, direct-to-implant reconstruction, without the need for a tissue expander, may be made possible with the use of AlloDerm®.

In addition to first stage breast reconstruction, AlloDerm® has been used for numerous applications in secondary reconstruction. For example, AlloDerm® may be used in revision reconstruction to help camouflage implant rippling and to help correct implant malposition. Also, AlloDerm® can be utilized to help in nipple reconstruction.

For more information about AlloDerm® go to www.lifecell.com, or speak to your plastic surgeon to find out if AlloDerm® is right for you.