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Autologous Dermal Graft in Breast Reconstruction

Hudson, Don A. FRCS, FCS (SA), MMed; Adams, Kevin G. FC Plast (SA); Adams, Saleigh FC Plast (SA)

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0b013e318216b52d
Breast Surgery

Introduction: The role of allogenic dermis is well established in reconstructive breast surgery, where it acts as a hammock between the detached inferior border of pectoralis major and the inframammary fold.

Method: The study reports on the outcome of 19 women (21 breasts as 2 were bilateral) in which autologous dermis was used rather than allogenic material. The autologous dermis was harvested from the abdomen, as a miniabdominoplasty in 15 patients, and from the contralateral breast in 4 patients having simultaneous breast reduction/mastopexy. In all, 15 women underwent immediate reconstruction (7 with tissue expanders, 8 with immediate prosthesis), whereas 4 patients underwent delayed reconstruction (with expanders).

Results: Two patients developed infection requiring explantation. There were no abdominal complications after the miniabdominoplasty. The coverage of the prosthesis or tissue expander by the dermal graft was achieved on average in three-quarters of cases (range, just under two-thirds to 100%). The mean follow-up was 17 months (range, 6–36 months).

Conclusions: Autologous dermis is a useful alternative to allogenic dermis. It is cheap and readily available. In patients having a contralateral breast reduction, there is no donor site. The risk of complications is not dissimilar to allogenic dermis.

From the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

Received November 25, 2010, and accepted for publication, after revision, February 21, 2011.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Don Hudson, FRCS, FCS (SA), MMed, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Groote Schuur Hospital, Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa. E-mail: or

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.