Do Processing Methods Make a Difference in Acellular Dermal Matrix Properties?

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Abstract

Background

The use of acellular dermal matrices (ADMs) has become the standard of practice in many reconstructive and aesthetic surgical applications. Different methods used to prepare the allograft tissue for surgical use can alter the ADMs natural properties. Aseptic processing has been shown to retain the natural properties of ADMs more favorably than terminally sterilized ADMs. Terminal sterilization has been historically linked to alteration of biological materials. In vitro work was conducted to compare ADM processing methods.

Objectives

Characterize aseptically processed ADMs and compare cell-matrix interaction characteristics to terminally sterilized ADMs.

Methods

Two aseptically processed ADMs, FlexHD Pliable and BellaDerm, were characterized via histological evaluation, biomechanical integrity, enzymatic degradation, and in vitro cell studies. FlexHD Pliable was compared to Alloderm Ready-to-Use (RTU).

Results

Histological evaluation revealed that FlexHD Pliable had a uniform, open structure compared to BellaDerm. Mechanical characterization demonstrated that BellaDerm had higher strength and stiffness compared to FlexHD Pliable, which maintained higher elasticity. Immunohistochemical analysis verified that key matrix proteins remained intact after aseptic processing. Cell studies found that fibroblasts attached more readily, and proliferated faster on FlexHD Pliable compared to BellaDerm. Additionally, fibroblasts infiltrated into FlexHD Pliable from both sides and on the dermal side in BellaDerm and produced an abundance of multi-layered matrix proteins (collagen, fibronectin) when compared to AlloDerm RTU which was sparse.

Conclusions

Aseptically processed FlexHD Pliable and BellaDerm provide a suitable, biocompatible option for tissue repair and regeneration in aesthetic and reconstructive surgical applications.

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