Human acellular dermal matrix for ventral hernia repair reduces morbidity in transplant patients

M. B. Brewer, E. M. Rada, M. L. Milburn, N. H. Goldberg, D. P. Singh, M. Cooper, R. P. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Purpose: Organ transplantation is widely accepted as the treatment of choice for native organ failure. Due to required immunosuppression, however, organ recipients are prone to wound infections, incisional hernias, and fascial dehiscence. These complications are especially dangerous in this patient population, as they can compromise the survival of the transplanted organ. Various methods have been employed to repair ventral and incisional hernias in these patients. These include primary repair, synthetic mesh, biologic mesh, tensor fascia lata grafts (TFL), component separation, flaps from the thighs, or a combination of these. The goal of this study was to review the experience at our institution with ventral hernia repair in transplant patients and to compare outcomes of the various repair techniques. Methods: Patients with liver, renal, or pancreas transplants requiring immunosuppression who underwent a ventral or incisional hernia repair at the University of Maryland from 2000-2005 were reviewed retrospectively. Factors examined include type and location of hernia, type of repair, post operative infection, hernia recurrence, reoperation, mesh removal, and length of follow up. Complication rates were compared using odds ratio and chi-square. Results: A total of 104 patients met the criteria with a mean length of follow up of 26 months. Of these, 34 patients had repair with human acellular dermal matrix (HADM), 26 had synthetic mesh, 25 had primary repair, and 9 had TFL. Rates of wound infection in these groups were 15, 65, 8, and 11% respectively (χ2 = 28, P < 0.001). Rates of recurrence were 24, 77, 36, and 11% respectively (χ2 = 22, P < 0.001). The rate of mesh removal with HADM and synthetic mesh were 12 and 69%, respectively (χ2 = 14, P < 0.001). When comparing HADM and synthetic mesh, the odds ratio for wound infection is 11 (95% CI 3.2-38) and for mesh removal is 8.7 (95% CI 2.6-28). Conclusion: When repairing ventral or incisional hernias in immunosuppressed transplant patients, HADM provides significantly reduced morbidity from reduced rates of infection, recurrence, and need for operative removal of mesh.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Acellular dermal matrix
  • Transplant patient
  • Ventral hernia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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