Is There a Risk of Alloderm Causing Infection?

Does the product being made from donor tissue increase the risk of infection after surgery?

Doctor Answers 14

Alloderm & Risk of Infection

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Anytime you have surgery, or implant a foreign substance into your body, there is always some potential risk for infection.You are correct in that Alloderm does come from donor tissue.However, with that being said, Alloderm is stripped of the epidermis and cells that could lead to tissue rejection and infection.The result is simply an acellular matrix that can work wonders in breast reconstruction surgery.In simpler terms, Alloderm is cadaver skin that has had all of the cells taken out of it, and only collagen remains.Alloderm is tested and screened by the FDA, as well as under strict temperature control to maximize the safety of the product.I have used Alloderm in many breast reconstruction cases and have had minimal number of complications or patient infections.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Alloderm does not cause infection

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Prior to Alloderm being placed inside the body the tissue undergoes a chemical process in which bacteria, skin cells, and viruses are removed. Generally this process will discard any transmissible infections. Alloderm has been used in many reconstruction surgeries and has yet to pose any risks. Over time alloderm becomes incorporated into your own tissues and will improve your overall results. 

Alloderm and infection

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AlloDerm is essentially cadaver skin minus any living cells.  It is used as a scaffold through which a persons living cells can grow into.  It has many uses, but, in use his in breast reconstruction.  AlloDerm does not help in mastectomy recovery.  It does however help in breast reconstruction. In this application, AlloDerm was used to cover the lower portion of an implant that spans from the lower border of the pectoralis muscle to the breast fold.  Because AlloDerm is a foreign substance in can always get infected and as such your doctor and you need to pay close attention to the signs and symptoms.  AlloDerm has also been used in nipple augmentation as well as augmentation of other body parts.  Its efficacy is really not known in these realms because it is not common.  Some providers may use AlloDerm for these applications but please note that its most widespread use is particularly in breast reconstruction as well as repair for abdominal wall hernias.  Please speak with a board certified plastic surgeon if you have any specific concerns regarding your care.

Alloderm and infection

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I have been using AlloDerm for breast reconstruction for many years and although it hasn't been clinically proven that there is an increased possibility of infection, some patients are concerned about it.  I have had great results with using it.  With any type of surgery, there is a risk of infection.  Go over the pro's and con's of doing the surgery with or without the AlloGraft with your surgeon and allow them to assist you with making the decision.

Alloderm and Infection

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Alloderm itself will not increase your risk for infection after surgery. However, if you do experience an infection, it might become necessary to remove the Alloderm to treat it. This is true of virtually all surgical implants, and if your surgeon thinks that Alloderm will improve your chances for a good result, then I would have no qualms about using it.

Mark Preston, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon

Alloderm and Infection

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I have been using AlloDerm and breast reconstruction surgery for the last 5 years. Clinically I haven't noticed an increase in postmastectomy reconstruction surgeries using AlloDerm and tissue expanders or implants. I think most of my colleagues agree that AlloDerm does not cause an increased rate of infection. It is a product that has really improved the overall results of postmastectomy reconstruction is using implant products. It also is very useful in both aesthetic and reconstructive breast revisional surgery.

One thing that will increase post mastectomy immediate reconstruction is the use of implants in a subglandular location. Not to mention the increased problems with capsular contracture and revisions.

Kenneth Bermudez, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Extremely minimal infection risk with alloderm

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Alloderm is a unique product derived from donated skin with all of the cells removed, leaving the collagen matrix which serves as a template for your own tissue to regenerate. I have been using it for more than 10 years and have had a very good experience with it. Although it is not strictly sterile, there have been no reported instances of infection transmitted from the donor. There are other products that have been put through a sterilization process but they all damage the collagen matrix so they don't perform the same as alloderm in terms of the body's response to the graft.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Alloderm is safe.

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alloderm is a tissue matrix that is processed to remove cells, as well as bacteria.  IThe collagen and elastin fibers remain and the body's own cells grow in to this matrix, incorporating it. t is always possible to have an infection, but not any more likely just due to the alloderm.

Anne Taylor, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Alloderm Safety

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It is logical to be concerned regarding the risk of HIV, Hepatitis, or some other serious infection when Alloderm is implanted.  The processing of this human-derived material destroys these pathogens.  Essentially, there is no risk of transmissible illness.  However, alloderm is not your own native tissue.  Thus, though the risk is small, there is a slightly increased risk of infection following surgery with this substance.  There are newer materials like alloderm (surgimend, surgisis, etc) that each have positives and negatives.  They are all essentially dermal matrices (They all help your body to rebuild a layer of tissue).  The best tissue is your own tissue.  Following a mastectomy, however, much of your own tissue is lost.  Sometimes a supplement is necessary.  These materials are all deemed safe.  I use them only when necessary.  They add expense and surgical time to a procedure.

Jason Hess, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Infection from AlloDerm

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AlloDerm is a regenerative tissue matrix that is processed from human skin. In a special enzymatic process, cells such as skin cells, bacteria, and viruses are removed, leaving behind support structures, such as collagen, elastin and growth factors.

There have been no proven cases of infection caused by AlloDerm.

Karen Vaniver, MD
Kennewick Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.